Edutainment: The Joy of Learning
Duing the early years of childhood, the play-way method for learning is universally used. Childhood learning is full of songs, stories, games, riddles, drawing and other activities that engage, entertain and instil learning. But for some non-obvious reason, as one gets beyond elementary school to secondary or senior secondary school learning is seen as ‘ serious’ stuff called education. And fun, joy, entertainment which was an integral part of learning so far is seen almost as the antipode of education.
In recent times, especially with the recent developments in technology, educational entertainment (also referred to by the portmanteau “edutainment”, which is education + entertainment ) is any entertainment content that is designed to educate as well as to entertain. Content with a high degree of both educational and entertainment value is known as edutainment. There also exists content that is primarily educational but has incidental entertainment value. Finally, there is content that is mostly entertaining but can be seen to have some educational value.
Edutainment can be seen as the intersection in a Venn diagram of the 2 sets of ‘education’ and ‘ entertainment’. But that to me seems constricting. Another possible view could be that each of the two dimensions of education and entertainment augments all learning events.
But fast forwarding to present times where the learners being to the touch-screen generation and have very short attention spans like the tweets, edutainment seems to be the new pedagogical model promoting active social learning. When Angry Birds meets Algebra in Dragon Box for Mathematics or Motion Maths say. And if we consider knowing as going beyond mere memorising or solving text book problems that have been earlier solved centuries ago, to creating new solutions to real problems then this new form of pedagogy has unlimited potential.
So using Raspberry Pi with its support community or 3D printing with its vast community in ‘ thingiverse ‘ and ‘ instructables’ gives great opportunities. Add to it the immense creativity unleashed by the potential of making Apps either with SDKs like Ellipse or non-programming tools like AppInventor, we have a new way of creating motivated and active learners, rather than bored passive learners in he usual classrooms.
Edutainment must be used to promote active and engaged learning. It can be a means of transforming all learners into smarter learners, empowering all teachers to become RockStar teachers and enabling all parents to be inspiring learning facilitators.
The Horizon reports that monitor the impact of the technologies have for the last few years predicted the rise of Gamification of learning as an important trend for the future. The epistemic value of games is one of the important areas of educational exploration, and we need expertise and research to guide the field by building scales, rubrics, benchmarks and checklists for measuring up and choosing amongst the vast possibilities of edutainment products.