Edutainment

PATRICK COX

Rutgers University, USA

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs106

The term “edutainment” encompasses a category of consumer products designed for children and intended to be educational and entertaining at the same time. Though educational materials can also be entertaining in formal school settings, the category of edutainment is primarily applied to products sold to parents for use in the home. There are a range of consumer products that fall into the broad category, including computer games, magazines, books, toys, as well as media products such as television shows and audio recordings. As the category appeals to parents' desires to advance their children's intellect at an earlier age, edutainment is as much a marketing conceit as a classification of actual products.

It is useful to consider edutainment not simply as specific products designed for children for educational purposes but as an approach to childrearing and childhood itself. This entails, on the one hand, an extension of education as something that takes place beyond the walls of formal schooling into homes, daycare centers, parks, and television sets: any place where children engage with consumer products. This suggests an increase in the importance given to learning in Western society as well as a diminishment of the value of play without something to redeem it: places and products intended for “just play” are decreasing or are being filled with products designed to instruct and be played with ...

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