The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Research Round Up

The Academic Research Blog is a unique CMF initiative to give all researchers interested in kids and media a single space in which to discuss, dissect and debate. 
Claudio Franco, co-editor of the Blog, profiles some of September’s posts...

Fiona Scott writes about the importance of asking the right questions, and using appropriate methodology, when it comes to understanding young children’s engagement with TV. Fiona also introduces a new research project, a collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield and Leeds and CBeebies, which aims to understand how 3-6 year-olds engage with television and other forms of digital media in their homes. (See Fiona's article above.)Watching ‘traditional’ television is still the dominant media activity for children (Ofcom, 2012). And yet we still have very little evidence about how 3 and 4 year olds engage with television, what meaning they make from it and how it contributes to their world-view. A lot of research to date has been carried out by children’s doctors and psychologists, who have adopted a positivistic approach focusing on the negative ‘effects’ of television.

My contention is that this corpus of existing research is as much reflective of the ‘questions’ as it is about the ‘answers’, and we’re not going to learn something new without changing what or how we ask.
Young children’s engagement with television: asking better questions

Natalia Kucirkova reflects on the meaning of ‘community’ in the 21st century, and what skills children ought to have to navigate the recent reality of online and offline communities.

A perennial challenge that educators contemplate is thus: what are the transferable skills children need to navigate within and across both spaces? What defines an effective community member in the 21stcentury?

Becky Parry opens up a debate about the use of popular culture experiences in literacy teaching in order to ensure that children are able to articulate and develop key conceptual understandings. But integrating popular culture is not enough, she claims. Participation is  key to developing an understanding of film and media language. Interrogatory teaching strategies, including practical productions, are key to ensuring that children are able to organise and develop their conceptual understandings of film and media language.

All too often it is claimed that film and media are useful educational tools to motivate children to learn. I think this is a rather limited understanding of the role of media in children’s lives, literacies and learning. […] Children are not simply enthused when their own cultures are valued in the classroom but more fundamentally that they are motivated because they can participate in (and are not excluded from) the learning that is constructed. 
Film in education: More than motivating?

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