Children’s experiences with digital technologies
Children’s experiences with digital technologies

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9 Selecting online videos

In the previous activity, you watched two videos that target young children. Both videos are described as being ‘educational’, that is they have some educational or learning benefit for children. In this section you will come across a set of evidence-based guidelines about what to consider when you select online videos for children, in particular, how to ‘judge’ the quality of videos that look like or are marketed as ‘educational’. The below ten recommendations are evidence-based, that is they emerged after reviewing studies that had examined the impact of screen time on children and identified certain conditions that facilitate or hinder learning accordingly.

  1. Choose screen content that children can imitate or copy, is realistic, and shares similarities with them such as the same age or same interests.
  2. Choose screen content that models positive behaviour and ensure that this behaviour is encouraged. In cases where the behaviour is not positive, this should receive negative reinforcement (e.g. explanations as to why this behaviour should not be performed again).
  3. If the child is very young make sure you use the screen content together as an opportunity to, for example, ask questions about the content and help the child repeat things.
  4. Think about the social relationships portrayed in the screen content and whether they are accurate or promote any stereotypes (such as gender stereotypes) or any other implied messages your child should not be exposed to.
  5. Choose screen content that asks your child to perform or engage in creative tasks, or provides alternative or new ideas. For example, if it asks the child to repeat a word or gives alternative ideas of playing with a toy promoting creative thinking.
  6. Choose screen content that presents dialogues or narrative in an understandable way and within a single scene.
  7. Choose screen content that repeats some concepts multiple times as repetition can help your child learn the content.
  8. Choose screen content that is not moving forward very fast, keeps a low pace and has infrequent scene and character changes.
  9. Choose screen content that combines narration and animation together, for example a visual representation should be accompanied by a song or a narrative.
  10. Choose screen content that highlights the learning elements of the video such as any new vocabulary.
(Neumann and Herodotou, 2020)

Activity 6

In the last activity of the course, you should go back to Activity 5 and watch the two videos again. Considering the evidence-based recommendations above, how would you improve the educational quality of the two videos? What changes would you make and why? Write your responses for each video below.

Sesame Street video Role playing video
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