Sai Pathmanathan - Edutainment
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Sai Pathmanathan: Edutainment - cartoons can helpkids to learn science

Sai Pathmanathan: Edutainment - cartoons can helpkids to learn science

Scientix European Conference, 6-8 May 2011, Brussels

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Sai Pathmanathan - Edutainment Sai Pathmanathan - Edutainment Presentation Transcript

  • ‘ Edutainment’: Cartoons can help kids learn science… Dr. Sai Pathmanathan Programme Director, Ignition* and Science Education Consultant Nottingham, UK
  • www.ignitefutures.org.uk/ignition ‘ Ignition*’ – a four-year programme of creative science activities and events in the East Midlands aimed at creating and nurturing young champions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Science is everywhere! Based on popular shows…
  • Accuracy in cartoons? Otis from ‘Barnyard’ Dory and Marlin from ‘ Finding Nemo’
  • Who cares if cartoons get it wrong?
    • There is a marked difference between educational and entertainment programming in the UK and the USA (Swanson, 2007; Golia, 2008; Sanderson, 2008).
    • Entertainment cartoons in the US have a stronger educational slant than those in UK in order to catch a wider audience of children who could benefit from education by stealth.
  • Previous research
    • What children learn from television and how to improve programmes (Fisch, 1997)
    • No research where children have been asked about biological science learnt from entertainment cartoons or their preferences for types of programme to learn from.
  • Have you ever learnt anything from a cartoon?
    • ‘ I am sure I have learnt loads from cartoons! Struggling to think of something though! How about ‘with great power comes great responsibility!’ from Spiderman.’
    • ‘ The Lion King - the female lions do the hunting.’
    • Entertainment cartoons can lead to:
    • character-building
    • learning accurate factual information (explicit)
    • learning accurate factual information (implicit)
    • learning folk stories/history/culture
    • stereotypes (negative/positive)
  • Finding Nemo and Deep Jungle
    • To find out how much science we can learn from a cartoon (like Finding Nemo )
    • Is it more fun to learn from cartoons or from a real action documentary film (like Deep Jungle )?
    • What do we believe more? What is real?
  • Classroom-based research
    • Year 3 (7-8 year olds, n=24) and Year 6 (10-11 year olds, n=30). Pre-viewing, post-viewing questionnaires and interviews (open and closed questions).
    • 20-min clip of either Deep Jungle (live action documentary about Amazon rainforest, ecology and legend of chicken-eating spider), or Finding Nemo (entertainment cartoon, accurate marine biological information)
  • Answers to questions  
  • Where do clownfish live?
    • I was looking for:
      • 1 - anemones (any spelling of this was accepted, but ‘coral’ was marked as incorrect)
      • 1 - for safety/protection
      • 1 - from predators
      • 1 - brushing against the anemone prevents stings
      • C - in the sea/water (correct, but this is a general answer)
  • Before and after clip
  •  
    • In the real-life Deep Jungle clip, they believed that a man was suffering from Leishmaniasis (his diseased leg was shown):
      • Yeah. I believe that, because we saw it. And you’d hardly put on a fake leg just for a film. (Year 3 student)
      • But there was some debate over the chicken-eating spider:
      • A: I didn’t think a spider that big could kill a chicken.
      • B: They can ‘cause there’s a bird-eating spider that big.
      • (Year 6 students)
    What is real/believable?
  • Summary
    • Humour and storytelling important in learning when integrated with the educational material.
    • Emotional scenes in movies can trigger the release of noradrenaline in the amygdala which improves memory at that particular time. Moderate emotion-causing (even novel) events are better remembered than neutral ones.
    • Entertainment media has an important role to play in developing our scientific literacy and social learning and all ages can learn science from entertainment cartoons.
  • Octonauts Learning about starfish
  • THANK YOU….