Creativity

01.12.2004

Kim H. Veltman

Edutainment, Technotainment and Culture

Cività Annual Report 2003, Florence: Giunti, 2004 (25 pp, In press).
1. Introduction
2. Japan
3. United States
4. Europe
5. Edutainment and Tourism or versus Tourism
6. Different Copyright Models
7. Conclusions
Appendix 1. Survey of Some Major Edutainment Robotics Companies

1. Introduction

The notion that education and learning can be linked with ludic, playful and pleasurable experiences is not new. Cicero linked teaching, delight and having an effect on persons. Huizinga has explored dimensions of its long history in Homo ludens. The introduction of computers and the Internet has affected this tradition for the past half century. For at least the past twenty years, concepts such as edutainment and technotainment have been radically transforming the relationship between learning and play.

Edutainment is a neologism …, similar to infotainment, that expresses the marriage of education and entertainment in a work or presentation such as a television program or a Web site. The most educationally effective children's programs on television (Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mr. Rogers) could be classed as edutainment. Outstanding Web sites that "edutain" include Learn2.com and HowStuffWorks.com.

Although the advent of the new media is frequently linked with notions of globalisation as if they were having a uniform impact around the world, it is striking that we can discern at least three quite distinct lines of development in Japan, the United States, and Europe. Each of these will be considered in turn in order to show that their differences are closely connected with culture. Given limitations of space we can only acknowledge without further analysis that there are many other initiatives around the world, such as the the international KDE Edutainment Project, or the Latin American and Australian Edutainment Portals. Nor shall we discuss special meanings of edutainment such as a method of making political messages attractive by packaging them in satire and irony through a so-called “dressing-space.”


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