Video games, television, and computers are facts of life for today's children. Anxious parents and teachers, concerned with maintaining the intellectual and social richness of childhood, need to understand their effects. Are we producing a generation of passive children who can't read, who require constant visual and aural stimulation, and who prefer the company of technical instruments to friends and family?
Greenfield believes that to answer this question we should not cling to old and elitist assumptions about the value of literacy. Instead she urges that we explore the results of the new research to discover how the various media can be used to promote social growth and thinking skills. She finds that each medium can make a contribution to development, that each has strengths and weaknesses, and that the ideal childhood environment includes a multimedia approach to learning.
Current studies show us, for example, that television may indeed hinder reading ability under some circumstances. Yet it may also be used to enhance and motivate reading. Television can foster visual literacy, teaching children how to interpret close-ups, zooms, and cutting, and beyond this, how to pick up visual details, orient oneself in space, and anticipate formats and patterns of behavior. Video games teach spatial skills and inductive thinking, and classroom computers, contrary to the popular stereotype, encourage cooperative enterprise.
Timely and optimistic, Mind and Media is filled with unexpected conclusions and practical suggestions for helping our children to thrive in a technological world.
Table of Contents
1. The Electronic Media
2. Film and Television Literacy
3. Television and Learning
4. Television and Social Reality
5. Using Television to Overcome Educational Disadvantage
6. Comparing Print, Radio, and Television
7. Video Games
9. Multimedia Education