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The effects of photographs of learning experiences on recall with sixth-grade students

, Texas A&M University - Commerce, United States

Texas A&M University - Commerce . Awarded


The purpose of the study was to determine if photography could be used as a tangible medium through which children could articulate their responses about experiences with natural phenomenon. Another purpose was to determine if the children's responses revealed patterns which could subsequently serve as guideposts for further instructional frameworks.

Two sixth grade classes separately attended a four hour scientific learning session on magnetism. Ten students from each class were randomly selected to constitute the Control and Experimental groups. A series of photographs cataloging the sequence of science activities was taken during each session. Seven days after the actual experiences, the students in both groups were asked to verbally recall everything they could remember about the magnetism session. The Control Group responded without photographs present and the Experimental Group responded with the aid of a series of approximately thirty photographs of the learning experience.

The results of the study showed that the experimental Group responded with more questions, descriptive statements, connections to everyday life, as well as to the work of scientists, covering a wider range of magnetism content, than did the Control Group. The Experimental Group's demonstrations of high levels of thinking indicated greater continuity of thought. The in-depth, detailed descriptions and questions given by the Experimental Group also proved to be more procedural, as well as more philosophical in nature, indicating higher levels of thinking and therefore more complex communication about the nature of magnetism.

The Experimental Group revealed much more of the actual learning that had taken place for the students during the magnetism sessions than the Control Group. The Experimental Group students were also able to more successfully and efficiently assemble and communicate what they had learned. In conclusion, the assignment of language to understandings and processes such as explaining, clarifying, elaborating, synthesizing and questioning was positively influenced by the presence of the photographs in this study.


Spradley, L.D. The effects of photographs of learning experiences on recall with sixth-grade students. Ph.D. thesis, Texas A&M University - Commerce. Retrieved February 29, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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