sandymomof7 wrote:Hey, where are you getting your info? I have a research Analyst background too, and I found their Peer Review in JOCAM (Journal of Children and Media). It doesn't get more peer reviewed than that. I also found a peer review from New Zealand with the same results.
You've misrepresented the study published in The Journal of Children and Media, (JOCAM), Fall 2010 (Vol.4, Issue 4) and seemed to have relied mostly on a Brainy Baby press release.
If you want to skip all the minutae, just go to point #10. But since you claim to be in research, you'll probably want to read it all.
1) The study looked only at the Shapes & Colors DVD -- not this entire system, or any other Brainy Baby DVD. You can NOT extrapolate the results on this single DVD onto any other DVD. Indeed, the processing of shapes and colors is distinctly different from the way babies process language and math. You were implying that studies show their whole approach is effective, never once pointing out that the JOCAM study only looked at one DVD.
2) The JOCAM study did NOT use Brainy Baby's program or approach to learning, merely their DVD as a source of stimuli. Yet you were praising the entire program on the basis of the study. That is academic dishonesty.
3) The authors even explicitly criticized Brainy Baby for being unproven. "Virtually all companies creating media and technology for the infant and toddler market claim or imply that their products are educational. Clearly, these products have hit a chord with parents, as the popularity of both Brainy Baby and Baby Einstein videos will attest. Yet, none of these companies has actually empirically evaluated the efficacy of their
products..." (p 452)
In other words, prior to this study, Brainy Baby was making unproven claims. What does that say to you about the company?
4) The study was clearly not designed to answer the question I raised (whether Brainy Baby is any better than simply watching PBS and interacting with the child), and did not show Brainy Baby's value. Nor does it prove anything you implied. Here is how the authors describe their controls: "The experimental group video included the novel word and shape crescent; the control group video did not."[b] (p 451)
Since you claim to have a research background, don't you find it problematic that they didn't control for parental interaction -- or other sources of "novel word and shape crescent"? For example, what if I merely used homemade photos of shapes and mouthed the words? Sorry, but the simple control they used merely showed that exposing an infant to shapes and words help them learn shapes and words! In no way does it show that the Brainy Baby system is especially effective.
5) In fact, the authors cited Linebarger and Walker, whose 2005 study supports my claims that PBS programming may be all that is necessary. [b]"They found that at 30 months of age, cumulative hours of watching Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, Arthur, Clifford, or Dragon Tales prior to and at 30 months of age was associated with larger vocabularies and higher expressive language use scores." (p 453)
So if that's true, why should I spend money on Brainy Baby? Which was my original point! PBS is free. Why shouldn't I simply donate that $69 to my local PBS station, which has the potential to help thousands of other children, including poorer ones -- not to mention people of all ages with their Science, Nature and History programs? Indeed, since I was raised on PBS, I've been a PBS donor since college.
6) Furthermore, the authors write that of prior studies, "All consistently find that infants and toddlers learn better from
real-life experience than from video—this has been termed the video deficit effect." (p 453) In other words, why shouldn't I simply show my infant a blue cardboard square than play this video? It takes me about a minute to make a blue square.
7) The authors do point out prior research showing that 22 month olds may be confused by certain TV programs because there is too much stimuli, i.e. music, colors, shapes, etc, instead of focusing one on subject. However, the prior researchers did not use programs that were focused. And parental involvement is important to focusing.
8) The authors clearly admitted the deficits in their study in the "Future Research" section, and they contradict your generalization. They write that "examining the generalizability of the findings beyond the exact representations that were shown on the video (for example, other versions of a shape) will be an important area of future study." (p 461) In other words, their present results can NOT be generalized into learning math, vocabulary, music, etc. They even admit that you can NOT assume that the videos would work for "other versions of a shape." Yet you implied that this study shows the effective of Brainy Baby.
9) And the authors admitted that they did NOT control for parental interaction, which was one of my points. Under the section, "Limitations," they wrote, "We were unable to establish the role of the parent in aiding the transfer of learning from
2-D to 3-D context from the present study... That is, the content may prompt enhanced parental engagement around new materials. This remains an important question to be examined in future research." In other words, it doesn't show that parental interaction using some other media, without Brainy Baby, isn't just as effective.
10) Finally, here is the smoking gun showing your misrepresentation. Under the heading, "The Present Study," the authors write, "The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether toddlers can map a novel label and
point to a novel shape—the crescent—after repeated exposure to a video designed to teach
this shape." (p 456)
This is VERY focused study, designed only to show that video representation of a crescent shape can be mapped to the real word (outside of the video). This study does...
- NOT show that the entire Shapes & Colors program is effective since neither the flashcards nor books were used
- NOT show that the entire system in this Woot is effective
- NOT show that the entire Brainy Baby approach is effective. Indeed, the authors explicitly said that the videos and Brainy Baby's approach were unproven (see #3).
- NOT show that Brainy Baby is any better than FREE approaches like watching select PBS programs with your child, otherwise exposing him/her to shapes, letters, music, etc. Other studies have already shown that some PBS programs do increase a toddler's vocabulary,
One of the exercises I give to my Research Methods students is to have them analyze whether they can tersely summarize what a study proves. And spot what claims the study doesn't prove from a list of multiple choices. You've failed, whether through ignorance, unfamilarity or dishonesty. You claim to be in research, yet you:
a) did not understand or critically analyze what I actually wrote, which is that this system is not worth $69 since the goals can be accomplished easily without it.
b) seemed unfamiliar with the source article. Embarrassingly, you even claimed that Brainy Baby was modest in their claims when the authors said that Brainy Baby was unproven.
c) inappropriately extrapolated, generalized, and misrepresented the actual study and results. This is academic misconduct. I don't know what aspect of academic research you do but I certainly hope it's not in design or analysis.
Your opinion may differ but I certainly don't think it's worth $69 to teach my child to recognize a crescent. I'll stick to PBS and personal parental-child interaction, thank you. Since I'll be busy interacting in other active Woot forums, I will likely not be reading this thread. If you want to contact me with an ACADEMIC rebuttal (since we're both in research, right?), either send a private message or go to an active daily Woot.