Television for television beginners

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Television is part of children's everyday experience, since it is only rarely that parents decide to exclude it from their lives entirely. From a developmental psychology perspective alone, infants and pre-school children form a particularly sensitive target group, who require programmes specifically adapted to their needs. We address the questions: How are such sensibilities formed and what shape should programmes offering the maximum possible benefit take? Alongside improving the programme quality, a central place is accorded to support for parents, so that they can assist children in forming competence in handling the medium right from the beginning.


TelevIZIon 20/2007/E „Television for TV beginners”

Learning Through Stories (2012)

The learning opportunities offered by fictional programmes were investigated using the Canadian programme Dino Dan, which is broadcast on ARD. The series tells stories from the daily life of the 10 year-old protagonist Dan Henderson, a committed dinosaur fan. He carries out a range of experiments, employing various scientific methods. The question underpinning the study was, inter alia, the extent to which the programme gives pre-school children strategies for acquiring knowledge and a positive attitude towards research. As part of a reception study by the IZI, 59 children aged between three and six each watched two episodes of Dino Dan on four consecutive days. Before and after watching the epiodes, the children were interviewed individually about their knowledge of dinosaurs and their attitude to research, learning and imagination. The reception situations were video-recorded and evaluated with respect to how the children engaged and interacted with the plot.  
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Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya: I like Dino Dan "because it was pure fantasy". A reception study with preschool children. TelevIZIon, 26/2013/E, 34-38
Dino Dan: "Creating excitement for the world". A conversation with J.J. Johnson and Christin Simms. TelevIZIon, 26/2013/E, 32-33.


How Integrating Health Messages Teaches Children Everyday Knowledge (2010)

This IZI study involving nursery children addressed the question of whether, and to what extent, children remember health messages conveyed, for example, by the children’s programme Caillou


Unterstell, Sabrina; Götz, Maya; Holler, Andrea: "Eat plenty of vegetables and drink lots of milk". How the integration of healthy eating into Caillou teaches children everyday knowledge. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 33-37.


How Television Promotes the Language Skills of Pre-School Children with and without a Migration Background (2010)

The study’s point of departure is the question of how pre-school programmes can promote language acquisition among children with and without a migration background. The aim of the study is to identify how public service pre-school programmes employ elements specifically targeted at promoting language skills. This involves testing – by means of pre-school formats such as JoNaLu, Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant), Sesame Street and KiKANiNCHEN – how children can improve their language skills by watching specially designed items, and to what extent they benefit from the learning opportunities offered in the programmes.


Holler, Andrea: "He speaks Russian - just like me". How preschool programmes can support language learning. TelevIZIon, 25/2012/E, 16-19.


Understanding Stories - the Significance of Social Background (2010)

In national and international studies the IZI addressed the question of how pre-school children understand programmes, and the role their cultural and milieu-specific background plays in this understanding. Because this age group is not yet able to articulate in a detailed way, specific, creative methods were used. One method was to keep pausing the programme and asking the children what they understood. Another method involved the children acting out the scenes with specially made play figures and asking them qualitative questions about the haptic reproduction of the content. In total, 298 children (average age 4.7 years) in Germany, Cuba, Brazil, Turkey and Russia took part in the study. Half of this sample intentionally consisted of children from marginalised socio-economic milieus. The respective interpretations of the non-verbal stories Anders Artig (Different) (ZDF), The Boy, the Slum and the Pan Lids (Brazil) and Olive Branch (Little Airplane Foundation) were analysed.      


Götz, Maya; Schwarz, Judith; Gruber, Simone; Pembecioglu, Niluefer; Bondarenko, Ekatarina; Nasser, Seham; Carmona, Beth; Rivero, Pablo Ramos: "Why is he running?". An international comparative study on preschoolers' understanding of TV stories. TelevIZIon, 26/2013/E, 22-27.

Preschoolers' Childhood Companions (2009-2010)

Cuddly toys acquire a major importance in children's lives. But how can one recognise the furry friends which have the potential to become truly significant for children and to support them in their development process? A mix of methods permits a glimpse into children's living environments and their thoughts on this subject. By means of diary entries and individual interviews, 30 mothers and fathers report on their children's approach to their “friends”, and approximately 50 kindergarten children talk about their relationship with their favourite cuddly toy. At a representative level, surveys are used to examine the types of toy companions and their characteristics in play situations.

Holler, Andrea; Götz, Maya: Not without my Teddy! The companions of childhood. A collaborative study produced by the “Chances for Children through Play” Foundation and the International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television (IZI), Munich, 2011.


Licensed Soft Toys: Tested by Children (2009)

In a study on "licensed soft toys" 53 nursery children and 45 public service children’s television experts evaluated twelve soft toys. They chose their favourite one and one they did not like.
When the evaluations of the experts and children were compared, it was clear that they agreed with one another in the case of some of the figures, e.g. the Little Princess. They were very positive about both the quality of play offered by the figure and the feel of it, and they felt the television original had been successfully translated into the toy in terms of its beautiful details. Children’s and adults’ opinions on other figures diverged. For 3 to 6 year-olds, the Bob the Builder character is one of the most popular soft toys. The licensed toy’s appeal is down to its particular accessories, such as a torch that is switched on by a button, as well as its high profile as a media character. The experts gave Bob the licensed soft toy exclusively negative ratings. Above all, they criticised the quality of the materials used. Rudi, the raven from the children’s series Siebenstein, was chosen as the favourite almost only by the TV experts. Features rated as particularly appealing from the adults‘ point of view (e.g. the black colour or the feathery plush fabric) did not correspond to the children’s aesthetic sensibility.        


Holler, Andrea; Kinateder Birgit: Bob plush toy: loved by children, disliked by adults. TelevIZIon 24/2011/E, 19. 
Holler, Andrea; Kinateder Birgit: Little Princess plush toy: appeals to everybody. TelevIZIon 24/2011/E, 20. 
Holler, Andrea; Kinateder Birgit: SpongeBob plush toy: being popular promises success. TelevIZIon 24/2011/E, 21. 


Learning English through Pre-School Programmes 2 (2007)

In “immersive learning“ children develop a basic feeling for the sound of the foreign language and the meaning of individual words. Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant) employs this method by repeatedly presenting brief songs, counting rhymes and stories in English. But does it make more sense to present the English or the German version first? This question was addressed in a study with 36 nursery and pre-school children.    

Andrea Holler/Sabrina Bachmann/Maya Götz: Peppa Pig – First in English or in German? A programme tested by preschool children. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 34.


Learning English through Pre-School Programmes 1 (2006-2007)

Learning a foreign language is particularly easy for children of pre-school age. The medium of television can also offer learning opportunities in this respect. Four conceptually different programmes are evaluated in a study involving 160 children from Munich kindergartens.

Michael Kirch/Angelika Speck-Hamdan: One, two, three with Dora, Elephant and Co. Learning English at preschool age - A comparison of programme concepts. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 28-33.


The Parent Ticker: New Educational Support in Pre-School Television (2006-2008)

For a long time, studies on pre-school television have shown that children learn a lot – and particularly well – when parents and children watch the programmes together and talk about the content. How that plays out in each individual case, and what makes for productive communication during television viewing is, however, still up for debate. The IZI took this as its starting point, developing an innovation in collaboration with the WDR (a German public broadcaster): the parent ticker, an intermittently superimposed information bar which gives parents background information, references and concrete tips on how to support their children during the reception. 
The first studies were undertaken by Shalom Fisch in 2006 for the IZI in New York; general information and jokes for parents were superimposed in a similar bar during the pre-school slot. In the experiment, Fisch employed an educationally enhanced “mommy bar” and was able to prove that this can enhance communication during television viewing.
In Germany, the first step was to implement this within Die Sendung mit dem Elefanten (The Programme with the Elephant), a programme aimed at 2 to 5 year-olds which – advised by the IZI, among others – integrates current findings in pre-school pedagogical research. 
3 studies were undertaken with the aid of the WDR and in collaboration with WDR media researchers.
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Project management:
Germany: Dr. Maya Götz, Andrea Holler, Sabrina Bachmann (IZI)
USA: Dr. Shalom M. Fisch (MediaKidz New York) 

Shalom M. Fisch: Die “Mommy-Bar”: Getting parents and preschoolers talking. In: TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 44-46.


Functions of Television in the Everyday Life of Children between the Ages of -0.5 and 5, and from the Mother's Perspective (2006-2009)

Watching television is part of everyday life for many families, in academic and non-academic households. What are mothers' motives for introducing television into the everyday lives of their infants and babies? In diary entries and individual interviews, 36 mothers and 2 fathers from the Munich area with children between the ages of 0 and 5 reported on their actual experiences with television. This was supplemented by a representative survey of mothers on the question of whether, and for what reasons, parents allow their children to watch television.

Götz, Maya; Bachmann, Sabrina; Hofmann, Ole: Just a babysitter? Functions of television viewing in the daily life of children up to 5 years old from a parental perspective. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 35-39.
Götz, Maya: Television viewing from before birth up to the age of 5. A review of research literature. TelevIZIon, 20/2007/E, 12-17.