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School Edutainment – In a Class of It’s Own?

Posted on: Thursday 04 July 2013 4:21pm by Dave Hill

There were alot of presentations, but I was especially interested in the information that Joan brought.
Olwen Sheedy, Enterprise Ireland.

Really enlightening and a bit frightening
Rachel Hoy, Platypus Research.

Obviously an area that we need to address
Jean Lanchance, Toon Boom Animation.

Edutainment – the process of educating through entertainment (I know it’s obvious, but teacher says I should write for the layman, a person without specialised knowledge) – has become the focus for many, including online giants (e.g.Google, Amazon), wholesalers, (e.g. Currys, Carephone Warehouse) and of course, parents and school.

This seminar looked primarily at edutainment within the current education system, focussing on schools but every contributor also mentioned the importance of edutainment at home in supporting this. So if that sounds like the sort of thing you want to learn about, read on and I’ll do my best to make these notes as edutaining as possible.

Marks out of 10
1) Barbie Clarke, FK&K shared about the Tablet For Schools Initiative, (www.tabletforschools.co.uk). This is an initiative that looks to provide every child in a given school with their own tablet. It’s not something that they just have at school, they can take it home and continue their learning there. Children become their own learners with the teacher adopting a more facilitatory role.

2) Young people are connected all the time at home, but at school everything is turned off. Until we enable young people to see no difference between the sitting room and the school, the true output of what we want to achieve isn’t going to come home. The desire is to create apps and content that is playful and educational… little interactions that build on what the child has just learnt.

3) We’re not seeing the ultimate products in this area yet due to far smaller budgets. What can the government do to help the creative industry push this forward? Tablets For Schools is one thing but who’s going to pay for the production of content? If the government pays for textbooks then why not content production?

4) There are many questions that need to be asked before producing content. Some of which are:
• Who is the audience? (It’s probably not just kids)
• What is the size of the audience?
• Who spends and how much do they spend? Who’s got the purse strings? Is it the parent or the school?
• How much is it going to cost to make?
• How do I get my product seen?
• Is there still a stigma of gaming from a marketing point of view? (The answer is probably yes.)

5) The role of an educator is to get people to learn and think. How they go about it is continually changing. As content creators we have an opportunity to get through this.

6) If you’re selling to a school it will be met with strict criteria. It needs to show better exams results that’s what teachers are focussed on.

7) Schools don’t care about edutainmnet, they care about knowing that the pupil has learnt. Teachers are cynical of digital stuff – they’ve got cupboards full. You need to peruade that you’ve got something of value to them.

8) All the best teachers entertain as well as educate. It’s what good teachers have always done.

9) Joan Vogelesang shared some incredible examples of work from CEO, ToonBoom. Children are equipped to create content themselves. The user interface is incredibly simple and it effectively leapfrogs students who were struggling with their learning. Case Studies include: Bluffton Elementary School, South Carolina and Aniguru Animation in India where over 45,000 student use it.

10) The desire of edutainment is to bring the U in edUcation in to the Me in entertainMEnt. Children play in their down time but YellowHouse English are dedicated to making it play with a purpose, thus enabling children to learn English whilst playing. The importance of pupil, school and parents working as a team in creating a memorable learning moment is vital.

Producer:
Claire Selby, Yellow House English

Contributors:
Barbie Clarke, MD, Kids and Youth.
David Chapman, Head of Innovation, St Peter’s Collegiate School, Wolverhampton.
Andy Goff, Head of Education, Gazoob.
Ray Maguire, Digital Games Specialist.
John Pettigrew, Digital Strategic Development Manager, Cambridge University Press
Joan Vogelesang, CEO, ToonBoom.

Event Reports

Dave Hill, Writer and Content Developer – Freelance

About the author

Dave Hill

Freelance, Writer and Content Developer

Dave has worked on numerous projects across broadcast, education and publishing. Main contributions include: - Content developer and writer for 'Shusshh Listen,' 'Always Remember To...' 'Pablo and His Dogs,' CBeebies Radio & 'Together,' BBC Learning. - Production team for 'Let's Celebrate,' CBeebies & '15 Children and Counting,' Channel 4 -… Read more

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