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Learning Math with Curious George and the Odd Squad: Transmedia in the Classroom
ARTICLE

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Technology, Knowledge and Learning Volume 23, Number 2, ISSN 2211-1662

Abstract

This paper presents two studies of transmedia interventions in the classroom. The two studies address how narrative-based transmedia curricular resources can support student learning in early mathematics. The studies were designed to identify the affordances (features and advantages) of transmedia-based learning in preschool and first grade classrooms. Study 1 included a 4-week intervention, where students interacted with 16 digital learning games featuring the popular Curious George animated character, hands-on materials downloaded from a Curious George public media website, three Curious George video episodes, and books and other common classroom materials. Sixty-eight preschool children were recruited from a school serving low-income communities in the San Francisco Bay Area that took part in the intervention. Measures included rigorous assessments of mathematics ability. Other data collection included classroom observations, and interviews with participating teachers. Over the course of the intervention, children's knowledge of mathematics increased significantly, as measured by the Test of Early Mathematics Ability. Results of qualitative data analysis suggest that the transmedia aspect of the intervention brought affordances to students' learning experiences. Study 2 involved an intervention with first grade students that included narrative-based digital and non-digital learning resources from the popular Odd Squad public television series. During the study, participating students used a school-based intervention that included videos, online games, interstitials, and hands-on activities from an Odd Squad transmedia suite. Four first grade teachers from the San Francisco Bay Area and their classrooms (n = 83 first grade students and their families) participated in the study. Measures included verbal and written assessments of mathematics ability. Other data collection included interviews with participating teachers and parents. Over the course of the Odd Squad intervention, students' overall knowledge of mathematics in the domains of Number and Operations and Algebraic Thinking increased significantly, as well as their competency with mathematics vocabulary and the concept of fact families. Results of qualitative data analysis of teacher and parent interview data suggest that the transmedia aspect of the intervention brought affordances to first grade students' learning experiences, including an engaging narrative domain to spur student motivation, presentation of content across multiple modalities, and supportive game-based learning.

Citation

McCarthy, E., Tiu, M. & Li, L. (2018). Learning Math with Curious George and the Odd Squad: Transmedia in the Classroom. Technology, Knowledge and Learning, 23(2), 223-246. Retrieved October 22, 2019 from .

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