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Interactive TV – the future of learning?

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A recent report published by the Learning and Skills Development Agency has revealed the learning potential using digital TV. Interactive TV is emerging as a new technology and could take learning into the home.

The survey finds that although internet enabled computers seem to be the current major learning device, only 50% of households have them, compared to around 99% with TVs.

In their report, Interactive TV: a learning platform with potential, the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA) outline a vision in which TV owners find information on their TV screen by pressing a button on their remote control. For example, by pressing the red button during a programme about DIY you could find out information about potential tie-in courses without having to surf the net or make a call.

The report raises awareness about future developments of interactive TV and the role for TV in bringing more personalised learning opportunities in the home.

An example of the education/entertainment crossover was 2003s 'Test of the Nation' from the BBC. The test asked the audience 70 multiple choice questions that gave viewers an overall IQ score.

Another example given by the LSDA of how we learn basic skills from TV is through soaps. The LDSA argues that soaps are compelling viewing and deal with issues that people relate to, for example the portrayal of a character overcoming reading difficulties could provide a catalyst for viewers to start to overcome their own problems.

The report reveals the way forward for the development of interactive TV involves many complexities.

One way of moving forward would be through the development of national information and learning utility for the home, based on broadband channels including those used by digital TV. The other way would be through more local or regional developments related to social inclusion, equality of access and specific local training needs.

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