So-called 'edutainment' software, designed to teach children through interactive use, is failing British children, according to a new report.
Research published in the journal Education 3 to 13 has suggested that pupils who use interactive software cannot remember the stories they have just read because they are distracted by cartoons and sound effects.
Michelle Donnelly, author of the research, described the software as "more entertainment than education".
"The children were more highly motivated to read a talking story than a conventional book. But the findings show that the interactive group had significantly poorer recall," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Although clicking on animations is fun, many do not relate to the storyline. Teachers and parents should be aware that an interactive story book may provide their children with more entertainment than education."
The results will make worrying reading for the UK government, which has pledged £1.7m to integrate more computers and software into lessons.
The research looked at two classes of six year-olds who used interactive book software or talking books to learn reading skills. A day later 90 per cent of the talking book users could remember the story, compared to 30 per cent who used the interactive software.
Research published in 2004 by David Buckingham, a professor at the Institute of Education at the University of London, found that children preferred to learn by reading from a computer but that they used PCs predominantly for information retrieval rather than interactive learning.
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