Support Learning through Joint Media Engagement

In the late 1960's, Sesame Street pioneered the idea of coviewing by designing television programming to be enjoyed by both children and parents together. Since then, research has validated this approach by demonstrating learning benefits for children that coview television media with their parents [1]. More recently, research on joint media engagement has broadened our understanding of the benefits of joint attention and meaning-making amongst families to encompass more of the modern media landscape (for an overview see: [2]). Unfortunately, many families consider tablets and mobile devices to be personal devices and are not using them for coviewing. A 2011 report by PlayScience found that a majority of parents felt that the mobile devices “helped teach new things” to their kids, but 26% were concerned that it “isolates family members” [3].  At Kindoma, we are turning this around by taking advantage of the fact that these devices are communication devices. Kindoma Storytime enables a new form of joint media engagement across distances by combining videochat with books.

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What children learn from media depends as much on the context in which they are consumed and with whom they are consumed, as the actual content of the media. Children need family support for sense-making and learning. We built Kindoma Storytime to bring families together in support of children’s learning.

[1] Reiser, R. A., Tessmer, M. A., & Phelps, P. C. (1984). Adult–child interaction in children’s learning from Sesame Street. Educational Technology Research & Development, 32(4), 217-223

[2] Takeuchi, L., & Stevens, R. (2011). The New Coviewing: Designing for learning through joint media engagement. In New York, NY: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

[3] Playscience. (2011) Mobile Playgrounds: Kids, Families and Mobile Play.