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I define educational entertainment media as books, films, animation, video games, board games, toys, and such, designed with embedded practical examples of academic concepts. I am unfamiliar with a better word for this category of commonly entertaining things with embedded education components. Please let me know if there is a better word for educational entertainment media. I narrow the criteria of educational entertainment media to something that students would be willing to buy for their own pleasure.

I have noticed that many of my students spend a lot of time reading books, watching movies, episodes, animation, playing video games, board games, and such. I pondered the idea that if all of my students could perform these activities in such away that while they have fun on their down time, they would be indirectly applying, relearning, and studying core academic concepts, they could improve their performance in the class and final exams.

I have no idea how to engineer educational entertainment media to entertain students during their down time, yet engage them to learn academic concepts, but if such existed they may be providing subtle results on academic performance in classrooms.

Is there data that either supports or denies engineered educational entertainment media as an ineffective method to stimulate students to learn classroom concepts outside of the classroom?

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    Per @CapeCode's answer, it depends on what you teach. – scaaahu Apr 16 '15 at 4:48
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If you consider the ability to perform robotic surgery a 'classroom concept', there is this study showing that surgeons who play video games are doing better:

http://archsurg.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=399740&resultClick=1

On the other hand, it cites an earlier study that links violent video-game use (for kids) to lower grades:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140197103000927

  • Thanks for the answer. May I receive your blessing to write another question similar to this one. I made a mistake to include engineered entertainment media. I am familiar with the data that you posted in your answer. When I wrote the question, I was thinking about media engineered to incorporate academic concepts. – linuxfreebird Apr 16 '15 at 15:06
  • @linuxfreebird you certainly don't need my blessing to do anything. As per how to handle the fact that my answer doesn't answer your question (I actually see how now that you mention it) I would suggest un-accepting it, and just leave a comment to say that it's not what you are looking for. – Cape Code Apr 16 '15 at 17:26
  • Thanks for your response. I removed the approved answer, but I still gave you an up vote for a good answer. – linuxfreebird Apr 16 '15 at 18:28
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For video games at least, the classification that you seem to be describing is Serious Games and in particular Edutainment (which may also describe the superclass of educational material engineered to be provided as a form of any non-particular entertainment medium).

As for studies on the effectiveness of such tools, there are many but it is obfuscated by the fact that researchers have a lot of difficulty eliminating tertiary factors.

Some worth considering are:

A study on the effects of using 3D multi-user serious gaming as a tool for reinforcing and introducing conceptual programming models: http://www.jucs.org/jucs_20_12/exploring_interrelationships_among_high/jucs_20_12_1608_1628_pellas.pdf

A study on using gamification and edutainment techniques to reinforce practical musicianship among students in and out of a class: http://repositorioaberto.uab.pt/handle/10400.2/3478

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