ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Edutainment

By Tammie Hutto Egloff
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 2, No. 1]

DOI: 10.1145/973801.973822

With recent growth of the childrens software sector, companies are pushing to create innovative software packages for home and school. Edutainmentsoftware intended to educate children through the use of entertainmentis one of the quickest growing sectors in the children's software field. This exploratory study investigated how children interacted with two new games that combine hands-on computer input devices with software: the Easy Bake Oven PlaySet" and the Tonka Workshop" PlaySet. Children were observed in order to study their behavior patterns and preferences concerning the new toys. Data collected describes participants preferences, ergonomics difficulties, and software understanding. This initial research suggested that: (1) childrens gender was uncorrelated with their interaction or preferences; (2) childrens age was correlated with their ability to use and understand the software and playset; and (3) knowledge learned while using one playset transferred to the second playset. These results open the door for further research into gender issues, ergonomics, metaphor understanding, learnability, and the ability of young children to use and understand the physical and virtual worlds of the playsets.

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