Educational Entertainment or “Edutainment”
As a parent of three, I am finding that there are just so many choices of programs to choose from for my children. Too many! It is not slowing down. It is increasing in volume and complexity. When I was a kid, I had 13 channels to choose from. Only seven of them came in clear enough to watch. These days, not only are there literally hundreds of channels with tons of shows and movies to watch, there are apps, websites and video game consoles. It is basically impossible to preview every television program, app, video game, or website that my child has some sort of access to. In a world of too many choices, I feel like I have started to become numb. Unfortunately, it is not the comfortable kind Pink Floyd sang about. So if my children are going to watch some sort of entertainment, as a parent, I want it to be at least educational in some way.
What is Edutainment?
Educational Entertainment is a term that was coined back in the forties by the Walt Disney Company. It means just what it sounds like. Education in the form of entertainment.
If, as a parent, you had to choose between pure entertainment or educational entertainment, it really is a no-brainer for parents. Would you want your child to be engrossed in something that maintains their attention and loyalty with no possibility of learning much? As it is, my son spends hours a day bouncing between video games, television, tablet, and computer activities. I am all too happy to catch him during those times when he is watching a children’s television program that is teaching something useful at the same time as providing entertainment.
One of the chief complaints I hear from my son about school is that it’s “boring”. Granted, every subject should not have to be presented as a Broadway-style play. However, if you truly want to capture the hearts and minds of a group of people (even little people), it makes sense to speak in a way that resonates with them. If I was going to design a marketing plan for targeting a persona of children based on content-creation, you can be sure it would have a heavy amount of entertainment incorporated.
Some Sources of Great Edutainment
Sprout Television Network– Children’s television station owned by NBCUniversal Cable subsidiary of NBCUniversal
BooClips– Interactive digital books for children
Bill Nye the Science Guy– Scientist, mechanical engineer, and television personality
It is comforting for me to know that there are some trusted names in the Edutainment industry. This way, a parent can just double-check to make sure that a trusted name like Sprout is the creator of the show(s) the child is watching. Once they are in the “Circle of Trust”, the parent can feel confident that the messages being presented are acceptable and that there is a good mix of learning going on at the same time.