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Discussion Paper

Television, Digital Media and children’s learning

INTRODUCTION

Modern technology has transformed the way children learn and interact with their environment.

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is responsible for the development of the Victorian Early Learning and Development Framework 0–8 in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.  This paper was written in response to an invitation from the VCAA to set out the writers’ views on the issue of the potential of media technology to improve children’s learning.

Part A of this discussion paper examines how children use media technology and the educational value of television, computers and electronic learning aids.  Technology is available now and in the immediate future that can be used to enhance children’s learning. 

Consideration is given in Part B to the funding and regulatory issues needed to capitalise on the potential of technology to transform development and learning for children.

The definition of media technology covers radio and television broadcasting on in-house sets, iPods and portable players or on mobile phones; films and TV programs, broadcast or on DVDs; computer games on PCs, laptops or hand-held modules; interactive games on the internet; and communicative media such as chat rooms, mobiles and email.

The paper focuses on the youngest Australians, those aged up to eight who are significant television viewers – in fact children under the age of four watch more television than anybody else in the household. But they are currently often not well served by television.

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