At its best, educational television can provide children with enormous opportunities and can serve as a window to new experiences, enrich academic knowledge, enhance attitudes and motivation, and nurture social skills. This volume documents the impact of educational television in a variety of subject areas and proposes mechanisms to explain its effects. Drawing from a wide variety of research spanning several disciplines, author Shalom M. Fisch analyzes the literature on the impact of educational resources. He focuses on television programs designed for children rather than for adults, although adult literature is included when it is particularly relevant. In addition, much of the discussion concerns the effects of unaided viewing by children, rather than viewing in the context of adult-led follow-up activities. The role of parent-child co-viewing and issues relevant to the use of television in school or child care also receives consideration.
This volume is intended to make the disparate literature on educational television's impact more accessible, by bringing it together into a centralized resource. To that end, the volume draws together empirical data on the impact of educational television programs--both academic and prosocial--on children's knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior. In addition to its emphasis on positive effects, this volume addresses a gap in the existing research literature regarding children's learning from exposure to educational television. Acknowledging that little theoretical work has been done to explain why or how these effects occur, Fisch takes a step toward correcting this situation by proposing theoretical models to explore aspects of the mental processing that underlies children's learning from educational television.