The Impact Of Television And Video On Student Achievement

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The Impact of Television & Video Entertainment on Student Achievement in Reading and Writing.

By Ron Kaufman

"Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up and dance around with royal-blue chickens."
-- Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life, 1978

The term "cyberspace" was coined by writer William Gibson in his book Neuromancer. Published in 1984, Neuromancer was one of the first "cyberpunk" novels that involved a virtual world alongside the real one. The novels of Gibson, Neal Stephenson and other "cyberpunk" authors tell stories of a not-so-distant future where video screens, computers and other media channels
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The children of this new millennium will be barraged with more electronic media than ever in history. The nature of a child 's curiosity will naturally drawn him or her to a video game or interactive television. The other influence is that cable operators, television networks and video game publishers target children (and their parents) as part of the consumer base. Children will not be able to escape electronic media and in the future may be drawn more and more toward it.

Though the new media-saturated world may be wonderful in many ways, what suffers may be traditional educational practices. If children spend their time watching TV and playing video games they are not spending a great deal of time reading and writing. Statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Education 's National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) show that student achievement in both reading and writing has been declining in recent years. The NCES 1998 Writing Report Card states that 16 percent of 4th and 8th graders and 22 percent of 12th graders have not mastered basic writing skills (March, 1999). The NCES 1998 Reading Report Card shows that across grades 4, 8, and 12, no more than 40 percent achieved the "proficient" level of reading and only 7 percent of 4th graders, 3 percent of 8th graders, and 6 percent of 12th graders could read at the "advanced" level.

"The average, or typical, American student is not a proficient writer. Instead,
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