Across and Beyond the Screens: Investigating Children's Joint Engagement with Educational Media and Related Activities

Open Access
Author:
Tiwari, Sonia
Graduate Program:
Learning, Design, and Technology (PHD)
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
February 25, 2022
Committee Members:
  • Mari Haneda, Outside Unit & Field Member
  • Ty Hollett, Major Field Member
  • Susan Land, Chair & Dissertation Advisor
  • Tanner Vea, Major Field Member
  • Heather Toomey Zimmerman, Professor in Charge/Director of Graduate Studies
Keywords:
  • Children's Media
  • Making
  • Transmedia
Abstract:
This case study (Stake, 1995) investigated children’s learning experiences in a media-inspired summer camp. The purpose of the study was to explore how educational media can be used to extend children’s learning experiences across the screens (television, mobile, tablet) and beyond these screens through hands-on maker activities, with a focus on their engagement. This approach utilized primary theoretical lenses of joint-media engagement, structured improvisation, and constructionism. The study involved 45 children (ages 5-8) and 5 facilitators across 4 days at a summer camp. Thematic analysis of video observations of children, thematic analysis of questionnaire responses by facilitators, interaction analysis of selected video observations of children, and a content analysis of the artifacts produced by children were used to find patterns in the data. This study was guided by the following questions: (a) What were the patterns of participation and engagement in children’s media and follow-up activities? (b) How did the configuration of activities as structured or semi-structured, create opportunities or barriers for children’s engagement? (c) How did the design of the learning environment influence children’s experiences with media and making? Analysis of data suggests that viewing media and doing maker activities in groups allowed opportunities for joint engagement among children and facilitators. Semi-structured maker activities yielded higher engagement for children compared to structured activities. Limited references to media were observed in children’s conversations during the maker activities, leading to lack of clarity about the role consonance of media and making played in the overall engagement for children. Future research on joint engagement should consider adding prompts during the maker activities that directly reference the media to generate more contextual conversations among children and facilitators.