by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 by Paul Niquette All rights reserved.
edutainment  n 
  1. The act of learning through a medium that both educates and entertains. 
  2. Any of various media, such as television and computer software, that educate and entertain.
Dating back to the "paper deluge" that preceeded the Internet, my chronological day-file includes copies of all outgoing correspondence, including personal letters.  These files over time have became immense and, being in loose-leaf form, have gotten selectively purged on residential moving days.

One letter, I recall, went to a friend in early 1971.  It described the coining of a new word.  I had just been given overview responsibility for XEG (Xerox Education Group, which included R. R. Bowker, publisher of Books in Print and American Education Press, publisher of My Weekly Reader).  That year, XEG funded an underwriting grant to the Public Broadcasting System for Sesame Street.  I watched an episode and got to pondering the implications of what I saw.

The word edutainment detonated inside my cranium.  Later I went around using that neologism in talks at universities and management groups extolling the power of media to teach.

Now, after twenty-five years, the term has achieved currency but does not yet appear in the Oxford English Dictionary.   When it does, I would be pleased to have my name next to it; however, I cannot provide the requisite documentation, since that contemporaneous letter has long ago been discarded from my day-file.

Sour Grapes Alert:  Never mind.  Edutainment has become just another dreary portmanteau among so many fabricated gismos in the machinery of our language (alphanumeric, avionics, brunch, chortle, cyborg, docudrama, electrocution, moped, modem, motel, multiplex, netiquette, petrochemical, simulcast, smog, stagflation, telecast, televangelist, transistor...).

101 Words
Table of Contents
Top of Article