Why Edutainment?

What the F is this? It’s neither Educational nor Entertainment, it’s just a whole load of bollocks. You should either give your children books to read where there are long words and proper sentences and paragraphs, or you give them a game that just improves hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.

Says our friend Steven from gamesrant.com, a games blog, and I must add -could anybody be so wrong?!

Edutainment has changed many peoples lifes. And a great example is the same promoted in Steven’s article, the same one that tries to ridiculize edutainment: Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing.

I can assure at least 80% of American readers that have gone to high-school in the last 10 years have used this software. They made me use it in Middle-School.

For you other guys and girls that don’t know what is it, it’s one of the best and most enjoyful ways of learning to fast typing. Let’s face it: today, having good typing skills is a requirement and I don’t see how could anyone practice typing without a piece of software. Well, yes you could say that you could practice copying letters to the computer and checking if they are ok, but let’s be real, that’s really damn boring.Mavis Beacon

Typing software (like Mavis) provides you games that make you learn how to type. Examples?! Space invaders where you need to type the correct keys in order to kill the ‘invaders’, or a race car game where you speed up your car by typing the correct keys. Entertainment is not all about ames, the key point is motivation.This type of software have all types of reports about your performance, stats, and diplomas when you reach certain high-scores. The idea is that learning is made fun through a motivating process where one can cuantify his achievements. It’s not all about playing, it’s also about taking to account how much one has advanced in his skills, and that can’t be done as well if one were to just copy letters in word to practice typing. Could you measure the words per minute you are typing? What about words per minute error free? Ohh… You typed like a speed demon and then realized that you missed all keys?! Well that shouldn’t happen, and most of the times, this edutainment tools -yes they are tools- can save us a lot of frustration.

Going back to our old friend Steve, I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes, nor worse in his children’s:

When I have kids, I’m not wasting money on that – I’m going to teach them like parents did in the old days. I acknowledge that having fun whilst learning is more effective than solely learning stuff, but I’m not going to sit there and watch my kids play with edutainment with it’s patronising female (more likely than not as they are considered to be more calming and clearly spoken) voice telling them “Well done!! You click on the blue square! Yay for you!” Never, ever, in a million years. And I’ll divorce my wife if she makes me buy anything of the sort, or if she goes out and gets it herself – sodding, she can have the child if it’s going to be trained up with an electronic voice. Gaaah!

Learning to cope with new technologies and accepting changes is the key in improving in our proffesional and personal skills.

Until next time!

Cheers!!!

Questor
P.S: Please leave comments! Every single one of them will be answered ASAP!

Speak Spanish? Check out also Edutainment in Spanish

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18 Responses to Why Edutainment?

  1. Steven says:

    Haha! Cool – cheers for the acknowledgement to my article. You’ve got numerous valid points, but I’ve never needed to use a piece of typing software to improve my typing skills. You don’t have to type letters and check them over just to see how well you do; all that is required is that you actually do some typing for a purpose – like blogging, or email writing.

    I’ve written a lot of reports and I did start young with the typing so it’s been many years of self-training and improvement.

    Anyway, good to see you fighting the corner of edutainment.

    Steven

  2. eduitba says:

    Hi Steven!
    Thanks for your comment! 🙂
    It’s great to hear from you!
    Let me tell you that I sometimes I share your comments such as “punch her in the face it’s fine really.”- haha- thereare some pieces of edutainmemt software that really underestimate the user ; however in my opinion edutainment tools help us complete the learning curve faster, with more motivation, and usually less effort.

    About your self-training, I guess you must have a natural talent and high self-motivation! haha
    Using edutainment software in classes is also a great idea in my opinion. I remember in Middle School years, in computer class, everyone would compete as to who had the highest words per minute. Sounds stupid? Yes… totally and I agree… but its effective, and very effective.
    Maybe that’s the key to edutainment sofware… haha.

    Cheers! Hope to hear from you again soon.
    Questor

  3. Steven says:

    [quote] Using edutainment software in classes … Maybe that’s the key to edutainment software…[unquote]

    You’re absolutely right there, though. Kids are always trying to better each other, and teachers should use this as a way to drive kids to work harder/better.

    I don’t quite remember – I wrote the article a while back – but I stil stand by my gripe that, out of school- or work-hours, typing skills can be improved with just general practice with real usage (i.e. the effort you put in is actually going to be read by someone other than a computer or yourself).

    Anyway, feel free to grab any other articles that you feel relevant, although I’d imagine that will be difficult what with us being a games website! Or just join in on our gaming debates – the more, the merrier.

  4. eduitba says:

    Yes, I am sure that for kids edutainment is a great path! It really ensures motivation.

    You are right that sometimes actually doing the real work makes you become better at a skill without any software, since you are self-motivated (if the work is for you, atleast! haha). However I guess that with kids it’s different story since they know why they are learning their skills till years after, so more motivation is needed.

    Thanks for all your comments! 🙂

    We hope in the following articles to make reviews of software that are also useful to adults intrested in making learning easier.

    Don’t worry about your site being a games website, I am also a game developer as well as an edutainment blogger, so we will keep in touch! ;o)
    Feel free to grab any articles too.

    Cheers,
    Questor

  5. Alan Lerner says:

    Sure… great…

    Do you think I Should shmile back, or should I shmile back shwin?

  6. eduitba says:

    Alan thanks for you comment!
    I think that you should that talk and shlack and use the noteshpad everyday. haha
    Think about it!

    Cheers!
    Questor

  7. Pato Espinosa says:

    I for one, totally favor Edutainment. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but in the States there are places called “Score!” which are school support programs. These programs use computer games to enhance math and language skills, and besides being very famous their success rate is well above 80%. What you say about US using typing programs at school is completely true: in fact, 10 years ago, “typing” used to be an elective subject. Yes, I know this class sounds like the easiest class you can take, but let´s agree on the fact that it is very useful.
    Congrats on this page, by the way. We could use more of this on the web.

  8. Questor says:

    Hi Pato!
    I didn’t know about those “Score!” programs. I think that using computer programs and edutainment related methods it’s one of the best ways to movitate and make students learn. In contrast to other parts of the world, it seems that Edutainment concepts are more well established in the US. It would be great to see this concepts spreading and making education easier and more efficient.

    I am so glad that you are enjoying the site! 🙂
    Thanks so much for your feedback!
    Cheers!
    Questor

  9. Shruti says:

    Hi All,
    I work as an analyst in India, and found this article (more so, the responses that follow) really helpful in my analysis on edutainment. It’s absolutely clear that the software used to motivate children into learning is edutainment. But i was confused whether the simulation and other techniques being used extensively by professional quarters (such as the military and healthcare) are also part of edutainment.

    Could you help?

    Thanks,
    Shruti

  10. Questor says:

    Hi Shruti!
    Thanks for your comment! 🙂

    Yes of course edutainment can be used in other areas!
    Even though here we pose the example of how it can be used for helping children, it’s beginning to be extensively used on corporate business programs to qualify employers for their jobs. For example Techint, one of the biggest Steel companies in the world uses computer simulation programs that involve the participation of the employees to learn how to face diverse situations, and learn lessons through simulated game experiences.

    You might be also interested in reading some of the articles tagged under “business world”, or I could also pass you a link to an edutainment corporate software developer here in Latin America.

    About professional quarters as military and health care I would also ‘coin’ them as edutainment, since generally speaking, this term is about everything that mixes ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’.

    I hope this answer was useful!

    Stay in touch and good luck in you analysis,
    Cheers!

    Questor

  11. ilovemavis says:

    WHAT DO U HAVE AGAINST MY MAV0-MAV YOU CREEPO!!?!? U OUGHTA GO TO HELLL

  12. ohhhhsweetmavis says:

    hi, i have a few questions about the mavis beacon typing session computer dowload mavis beacon 98(tm).
    #1. who is that man on the “video viewer” thats before all the life saving, healthy video excersise that warms my heart<3. because i swear to @#$^@!%* god, if you even try to come within 100 feet of my mavis sacagaweea beacon, i will find your name, adress, and phone number, and we can have a little chat outside in the ally’s if u know what i mean buddy. godforbid there should be a tragic event in your life you followin me ;). yaaaa u get the picture….pal.

    #2. when i enter the classroom, i cannot click on mavis to get “tips from mavis”. now, if me and mavis sacagaweea are planning a life together, and are gonna be staying together in our own house in beaverly hills with a view of the water and some palm trees and a nice inground pool and possibly a guard dog, im gonna need to get some tips, from, mavis, you know what im sayin?! cuz if were in the same room at night…followin me….i gotta know what shes doin. but when i click on mavis, no tips, no, no tips, WHAT AM I TO DO WITH MAVIS ALONE WITH NOBODY! WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL, NOTIPSFROM MAVISSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! THE WORLD IS COMING TO AN ENDDDDD WHAT, THE, FRIGGGGGG.

    dedicated to my typing class and danielle “mavis” lavoie.

  13. mavismakesmehot says:

    hi, im just stopping buy ur website to ask, is it possible if you guys could maybe send me a life size robot mavis. i think shed make a perfect wife. and i think her spanish setting, is SEXXAYY! ill have to live with the granny shorts but other than that, atleast she can get me up to a good start in the morning with some excercise=s like windmills and hand stretchhes which hurt like mofos. my address is 1755 mavis beacon ave in mavisville mavisland, and my number is 1-800-bangmav.

    mavis sacagaweea beacon, you aree my womann!

  14. Val says:

    What do you mean by copying letters top the computer? :S

    WTF?

    Also a pretty one-sided post you have there, maybe you hold some sentimental value for the program.

    But the guy you quoted is an effing nazi.

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