An analysis of children's learning from cartoons
Jackie Louise Booth, University of South Florida, United States
University of South Florida . Awarded
This study investigated the nature of children's cognition with a non educational video based medium, animated cartoons. The main activity was to assess children's ability to learn cognitive and affective information contained in a select cartoon. One hundred four fourth grade students in two large, urban school districts participated in the study. Based on the research reviewed on children's cognition of television, four variables of gender, race, socioeconomic status, and academic achievement were identified and used to match students from the two groups.
An initial investigation into the types of cognitive and social/affective messages in cartoons resulted in a content analysis of several highly popular cartoons. Items listed were then classified as to cognitive and affective levels, according to accepted educational taxonomies. From this analysis, a sample cartoon was selected to be used in this study. A cognitive and social/affective assessment instrument based on the cartoon was developed and given to the two student groups at three settings: (a) a pretest; (b) a posttest following the experimental group's viewing of the cartoon; and (c) a follow-up test two weeks after the posttest.
In addition, an interview instrument was developed, again based on cognitive and social/affective information in the cartoon, emphasizing higher-order thinking skills from Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognition. Following the computation of descriptive statistics of each of the groups (group means and standard deviations), a repeated measures analysis of variance procedure was conducted on the means for both groups on the cognitive and affective assessments. Additional criteria were developed for the interview responses, which were collected and tabulated after interviewing twenty of the student participants. Anecdotal responses from the interviews were also reported to further assess the nature of children's cognition with cartoons.
Four main findings emerged from this study: (1) it is possible to identify cognitive and affective information from cartoons based on accepted educational taxonomic levels; (2) students are able to learn cognitive information from cartoons; (3) students are able to use higher-level thinking skills to apply cognitive information gained from cartoons; and (4) gender, race, socioeconomic status, and academic achievement appear to be nonsignificant in determining what children learn from cartoons.
Booth, J.L. An analysis of children's learning from cartoons. Ph.D. thesis, University of South Florida.
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