Science Education in Primary Schools: Is an Animation Worth a Thousand Pictures?
Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 20, Number 5, ISSN 1059-0145
Science teaching deals with abstract concepts and processes that very often cannot be seen or touched. The development of Java, Flash, and other web-based applications allow teachers and educators to present complex animations that attractively illustrate scientific phenomena. Our study evaluated the integration of web-based animated movies into primary schools science curriculum. Our goal was to examine teachers' methods for integrating animated movies and their views about the role of animations in enhancing young students' thinking skills. We also aimed at investigating the effect of animated movies on students' learning outcomes. Applying qualitative and quantitative tools, we conducted informal discussions with science teachers (N = 15) and administered pre- and post-questionnaires to 4th (N = 641) and 5th (N = 694) grade students who were divided into control and experimental groups. The experimental group students studied science while using animated movies and supplementary activities at least once a week. The control group students used only textbooks and still-pictures for learning science. Findings indicated that animated movies support the use of diverse teaching strategies and learning methods, and can promote various thinking skills among students. Findings also indicated that animations can enhance scientific curiosity, the acquisition of scientific language, and fostering scientific thinking. These encouraging results can be explained by the fact that the students made use of both visual-pictorial and auditory-verbal capabilities while exploring animated movies in diverse learning styles and teaching strategies.
Barak, M. & Dori, Y.J. (2011). Science Education in Primary Schools: Is an Animation Worth a Thousand Pictures?. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(5), 608-620.