Good news, Co-Viewing fans! Last December, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center released it’s latest report, “The New Coviewing: Designing for Learning through Joint Media Engagement.” (To this Covert Co-Viewer, it felt like a holiday gift made just for me!) Chock full ‘o research, this one is worth downloading for yourself (here) and digesting in your own time.
On January 23rd, I had the pleasure of attending a panel presentation about the report hosted by Women in Children’s Media. While many aspects of the report were covered (you can actually watch the whole presentation here), my favorite part covered the case study of Electric Company’s interactive game, called Electric Racer. Simply put, Electric Racer is a two-person on-line literacy game, intended for children ages 6-9 and a grown-up to play together. Developed by the brainiacs at Sesame Workshop, it’s free and it’s focus on literacy should appeal to any parent hoping to connect with their child in that age group.
A nifty marketing video shows it best:
Researchers pilot-tested the game with parents and kids, and that process helped them tweak the product quite a bit. In this research, they learned that they needed better role clarification for both parent and child. In this case, the child is the “driver” of the vehicle, collecting certain words, while the adult must unscramble certain words to help the driver. (Roles can be reversed, of course, but this is how the game-play was intended.) Researchers also instituted a point system that allowed for more teamwork, but also showed how each player was performing. Finally, in-game instructional supports were added to remind players of their goal.
If you know of a 6-to-9 year old you’d like to try this game with, you can download it for free here!