Dora the Explorer: Destabilizing the Educative Reality of Participatory Programming

Rebecca Lennon


Dora the Explorer is a perfect example of how NickJr. uses the resources of television as a potential participatory media to enhance a child’s learning experience. In order for this media to be an interactive learning experience, the audience members need to be fully engaged with the program; even then the elements of learning and retention are questionable. However, this essay argues that the connection between character and audience is artificial, as is the act of participation. Due to the restrictions of the interface, participation and the call for participation is pre-calculated, resulting in a predetermined answer and a programmed interaction that simply simulates a hyper-interplay.

This study will analyze the framework of Dora the Explorer with specific interest in participation and communication between the audiences and the characters. Through this analysis of the program, it is argued that the predetermined traits of the series, which defines itself as a didactic tool both through language and participation, disengages itself from accomplishing an educative reality because of its nature in formulation.

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The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680