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Edutainment was a new word, but not a new concept for me.

I have grown up in an era of edutainment with shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Educational content has been educational for as long as I can remember. However, until this course I have never considered how edutainment fits into my view of education and it’s application to the classroom. In week one I quoted Charles J. Shields from an article “That’s Edutainment” as saying that edutainment is “anything fun that helps students learn…” Students today are constantly in front of some form of entertainment and they want the same level of entertainment in school. I have seen the expectations for technology by incoming college freshmen on our campus rise every year. They want to be entertained and educated at the same time. I think this is why online courses have become so popular. There is often a video to watch and assignments that are more entertaining and interesting than traditional means. Mark L. Taylor says “starting with Sesame Street, Generation NeXt has been led to believe that education is supposed to be entertaining, easy and fun.” I used this quote in week 2, but it is a quote that has come to mind many times throughout the course. The struggle for me is that often we equate entertaining and fun with easy. I think this is an unfortunate association. EdTech 597 has proven that just because a subject is entertaining does not mean it’s easy. The challenge becomes integrating entertaining and fun assignments with rigorous academics. Over the course of the semester I have been challenged with the notion that stimulating and peaking a student’s interest in a subject is the goal. Stimulation might come from an entertaining class session or assignment, but ultimately as educators, we must find whatever means necessary to encourage our students toward the acquisition of knowledge. There are many forms of entertaining educational content. We have explored

comic strips, television shows, videos, video games and online games and these only scratch the surface of what can be entertaining and educational for our students. One of the most important discussions we had during the entire semester was about interaction in edutainment. I feel that interaction is the key to learning. Constructivist Theory is based on the idea of hands-on, experiential, project-based building of knowledge and often that is done best in community. I have found this semester that community can exist in the virtual environment. This is vitally important for edutainment in all aspects. When learning moves from the face-to-face, traditional method to the virtual or digital environment, a great deal of adjustments must be made. One major adjustment is that of creating opportunities for interaction. This semester I have understood edutainment to have 5 main characteristics: Entertaining, Educational, Engaging, Play-Centered and Personal. There could be many more characteristics, but I believe these cover the entire aspect of edutainment. If we will design curriculum that focuses on combining the educational yet entertaining content we will begin to see students enjoying learning rather than seeing it as a boring subject. Overall, I have been challenged to question how I feel about entertaining assignments. I have discovered the flip side to many edutainment sources and that is that just because something is entertaining does not mean it’s educational. The two can be combined easily, but where there is one, don’t always expect to see the other. This course has pushed me to accept edutainment as a valid option for educating students. It has also taught me that if we are going to do whatever it takes to ensure our students are learning, we must sometimes be willing to entertain, even if it goes against all we’ve ever been taught. I hope to find ways to encourage our faculty to use educational entertainment to reach our students with new knowledge. It’s so much fun, why should we not try?