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Digital TV Could Boost Literacy


Digital television has the power to turn millions of people with poor literacy and numeracy skills onto learning, a report by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN) claims.

Interactive digital TV for learning – the KickStartTV project is based on the results of a pilot project and is funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC).

The project designed and developed KickStartTV, an Interactive Digital Television (iDTV) service, and evaluated its potential to get through to people who may need help with their ‘three Rs’, but ‘traditional’ courses find hard to reach.

KickStartTV gives people the chance to learn new skills anonymously in the comfort of their own homes. The service is aimed at people who are more familiar with a TV than a PC and gives them the confidence to improve their skills while using new and interactive technology. It is interactive and easy to follow, so viewers can learn while doing daily activities, such as eating their dinner in front of the TV.

The service offers bite sized learning 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Viewers can learn during the advert breaks of their favourite programmes or anytime they have a few minutes to spare.

Viewers can work through interactive quizzes which encourage them to develop their skills. The key aim is for iDTV to become an important part of their everyday lives and kick start their interest in improving their literacy, numeracy and general life skills. Thanks to interactive TV, people ‘do’ instead of ‘watch’.

The research concludes that thousands of people could improve their ‘three Rs’ using the KickStartTV service.

Jill Attewell, Research Manager of the Technology Enhanced Learning Research Centre at the Learning and Skills Network, said: “There are millions of adults in the UK whose literacy and numeracy is not as good as that expected of an average 11 year old, and many adults are reluctant to return to the classroom. KickStartTV offers an innovative and enjoyable way of getting people back into learning at a time, place and pace which suits their lifestyle.

“Literacy and numeracy are just the start. iDTV could be used to offer interactive learning and information on any subject, wherever PCs are not practical.”


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