Wildlife education enables children to understand the importance of including animals in their view of the Earth. Wildlife education "should result in positive changes in knowledge, attitudes, awareness, and actions toward wildlife" (Morgan & Gramann, 1989). "Since attitudes encompass both feelings and beliefs, they have both affective and cognitive components. Feelings and beliefs are generally directed toward decision-making, and therefore are important elements of perception" (LaHart, 1978). Perceptions influence the way individuals evaluate the external world. An examination of the sources where children are learning about wildlife can determine whether this type of education is taking place.
Most academic sources, in general, focus on the knowledge component of wildlife education. "Learning about animals in school appears to be so divorced from direct encounters with animals in their natural habitats that little basic understanding and lasting knowledge results" (Kellert & Westervelt, 1983). Encyclopedias and related books include factual information about animals. Some may include drawings or pictures, but basically the information is presented in a rather uninteresting way for children, particularly those who are not already interested in the topic of wildlife. Most children's storybooks personify animals, they do not educate about real animals in their natural habitats. Newspaper coverage of wild animals, except those articles which focus on human based events, is minimal to non-existent.
Our opportunity for exposure to wild and international animals is limited to visiting a zoo. Although the primary reason cited for visiting a zoo is for the educational benefit of children, Kellert (1980) has shown that the resulting knowledge scores of those who had visited a zoo were not significantly different from those of non-visitors. Morgan and Gramann feel that "zoological parks, classrooms, and wildlife sanctuaries are places where animals often are 'merely exposed' to onlookers" (1989). Even owning a pet only slightly raises knowledge scores (Kellert, 1980, Ascione, 1992).
However, those who belonged to wildlife and/or environmental organizations or who watched animal-related television programs had significantly higher knowledge scores then any other group studied. Therefore, wildlife-oriented activities appear important in the development of knowledge (Westervelt & Llewellyn, 1985, LaHart, 1978, and Eagles & Muffitt, 1990). It may be that regular learning about wildlife in their natural habitat results is linked with a responsibility towards these animals and a preservation of their habitats. This type of awareness may result in higher knowledge scores, compared with more isolated types of learning experiences such as visiting a zoo. Learning about animals in their natural habitat may result in higher knowledge scores than would lessons on animals in school because they consist mainly of animals in the classroom or experiments in science class, which can result in limited knowledge about a few specific animals.
In The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer, Seymour Papert (1993) describes the curiosity of a child, Jennifer, about how giraffes sleep. She is ready to discover the answers to her questions. Then, with interest, appreciation, and knowledge, she will be capable of enjoying systematic books and of remembering the content. Knowledge progresses from curiosity to exploration to gathering information that has meaning and connections.
Kellert conducted a five phase report for the United States
Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. From 1977
through 1983, knowledge and attitudes towards animals were
evaluated using survey and interview style questioning. Responses
from children and adults from the United States were evaluated
regarding knowledge and attitudes towards domestic and wild
animals. Knowledge was assessed from a score on a true/false test
of factual information on a wide variety of animals. Attitudes
were determined by like-dislike responses to a list of animals.
The attitudes were broken into categories, described by the
following nine types: naturalistic, ecologistic, humanistic,
moralistic, scientistic, aesthetic, utilitarian, dominionistic, and
negativistic. These attitudes were defined as follows.
In Phase V of this study, Kellert and Westervelt (1983) focused on the attitudes of children from second through eleventh grades. A general tendency was found, for all the children surveyed, to feel mainly anthropomorphic attachments for individual animals such as pets or "lovable" animals, the humanistic attitude.
The humanistic orientation is to hold certain animals,
especially pets, in high regard but not animals in general. This
attitude remains in spite of very different experiences with
animals at the different grade levels. Younger children were more
likely to have live animals in the classroom and to go on trips to
see animals. Older children were more likely to have conducted
experiments on animals. Further, "no significant difference was
found in the knowledge scores of children who did and did not learn
about animals in school" (Kellert and Westervelt, 1983).
Phase III of this study showed that the pervasive nature of
this attitude is also present among adults, especially females and
those living in cities. A resulting consequence is that "this
challenge to wildlife programs will become even more real as
society becomes more urbanized and more young people and females
assume policy-making positions" (Westervelt and Llewellyn, 1985).
Eagles and Muffitt, using the same definitions as the previous
study, surveyed the attitudes of Canadian children from 12 to 14
years old. The attitude scales were also adapted from Kellert,
with changes to make the questions easier for the children to
understand. Like the United States study, they found the most
common attitude among the Canadian children towards animals was
humanistic. The authors also found that attitudes of those
children who read about wildlife had higher naturalistic and
scientistic scores, compared with non-readers who had higher
utilitarian scores. Those children who watched television wildlife
programs had significantly higher scores in those attitudes
"valuing wildlife in its natural environment" (Eagles and Muffitt,
1990). These findings suggest that those children who are
interested in watching or reading about animals also have attitudes
carrying higher regard for animals.
Some children read or watch fictional stories about wildlife,
including those considered classics. Fictional stories written
about animals have changed over the years to reflect our changing
attitudes towards them. Oswald (1995) stated that "the definition
of animal hero in realistic animal fiction generally changed from
wild animals that were heroic for surviving against all odds to
domesticated animals that were heroic for rescuing humans from wild
beasts." Human characters have become central to the novel and the
greatest level the animal can attain is to have a relationship with
the most humane character. The author feels that this increase in
romantic and unrealistic descriptions of animals in fiction is due
to a reduction in accessibility to wilderness areas and wild
animals. She concludes that there is a serious problem when this
over romanticizing occurs in children's novels because they may
come to expect real animals to act as the fictional characters do
and therefore "may be disappointed and disillusioned by real animal
behavior" (Oswald, 1995).
Ascione (1992) showed in his review of the literature that
children's attitudes about animal-related issues can be enhanced
either by a focused classroom presentation or by reading materials
and media presentations. The author suggests using the National
Association for Humane and Environmental Education's curriculum
guides, which are integrated into classroom lessons throughout the
school year. They include role playing and creative writing. The
purposes and goals of these guides is to "assist children in
developing compassion, a sense of justice, and a respect for all
living things" (Ascione, 1992). Zuman (1993) reports on the
progress of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, Costa
Rican Humane Education Project. The main objective is to develop
positive attitudes toward animals, the environment, and other
people, and therefore treat them with compassion. The field trips,
drawing activities, and discussions provide experiences that
resulted in significantly enhanced the humane/environmental
attitudes of the first through fourth graders in the program.
Possibly due to activities examining animals in captivity, the
"children tended to give more positive responses in situations
involving animals in nature than for domestic animals." Zuman,
1993). It is interesting to note that there were no gender
differences on any of the subscales.
This wildlife education must go beyond information about
animals because knowledge about animals and attitudes towards them
have only a low correlation. Merely providing information about an
animal increased knowledge but did not promote more positive
attitudes (Morgan and Gramann, 1989, LaHart, 1978). A research
review article by Kameron (1973) on how individuals perceive the
world concluded that "a person's world view is a result of the
'real world' and attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Knowledge
was not considered as an independent variable" (LaHart, 1978).
Morgan and Gramann (1989) found the combination of message based
and non-message based approaches provided significant increases in
positive attitudes. Unfortunately, some subject matters such as
wildlife issues are difficult to implement non-message based
approaches. The authors suggest that when we are unable to
incorporate non-message based approaches such as modeling,
"attitudes might be enhanced by using a message that focuses on
those aspects of a target species that are most salient to an
audience" (Morgan and Gramann, 1989). For example, show the
audience a picture of an elephant picking up a stick with its trunk
and explain that their trunk is used much like a human hand.
The animals chosen for this project African mammals that are more well known in the United States, and are the subject of observation and study. Kellert (1981) found that interest in local animals is generally greater than either national or international animals. African animals, classified as both international and non-domestic, would therefore be assumed to have low status among Americans. Yet the African elephant represents one of the most familiar and popular animals in the United States. In the Kellert and Westervelt study, it ranked eleventh out of 33 animals on the children's rank order of animal preference and ninth among adults (Kellert & Westervelt, 1983). Ian Douglas-Hamilton observed elephants in the wild and wrote books about his observations and experiences Oria Douglas-Hamilton wrote The Elephant Family Book, which describes a family of elephants at a level appropriate for elementary school children and contains a large and varied selection of photographs. Cynthia Moss has observed a family of elephants for two generations. In Echo of the Elephants, she describes this family's experiences in a children's picture book.
According to photographer Mitsuaki Iwago, the lion is the most popular animal among the sightseers on an African safari. His work concentrates on African lions and his books include observations about the lions he photographs. Angelika Hofer and Gunter Ziesler's book, The Lion Family Book, illustrates these animals' lifestyle on a level accessible for younger children.
Jane Goodall has been observing chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream for 35 years, which is the longest field study of any animal group in the wild. Among her many books of chimpanzee observations are two children's picture books, The Chimpanzee Family Book and My Friends the Wild Chimpanzees. In each of these books, the descriptions of the chimps' daily activities and generational changes invite the reader to enter their world and become emotionally attached to each chimpanzee.
George Schaller conducted the first intensive mountain gorilla study from 1959 to 1960. He and Dian Fossey, who observed the mountain gorillas from 1967 until 1985, helped dispel the thought of gorillas as being extremely ferocious. George Schaller has written essays explaining the intelligent, gentle, and vulnerable nature of these animals. A collection of his essays, along with the photographs of Michael Nichols, make up a book titled Gorillas. This is an amazing look at the family of gorillas first studied by Dian Fossey.
Telling stories about wildlife, with photographs showing the animals, directed toward younger children, is the format of this project. The desired outcome is to facilitate an interest in animals that is present in those older children who belong to wildlife organizations and watch wildlife programs.
Wildlife education must go beyond information about animals because knowledge about animals and attitudes towards them have only a low correlation. Merely providing information about an animal increased knowledge but did not promote more positive attitudes (Morgan & Gramann, 1989, LaHart, 1978). A research review article by Kameron (1973) on how individuals perceive the world concluded that "a person's world view is a result of the 'real world' and attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Knowledge was not considered as an independent variable" (As cited in LaHart, 1978).
Morgan and Gramann (1989) found the combination of message based and non-message based approaches provided significant increases in positive attitudes. Unfortunately, certain subject matters, including some wildlife issues, are difficult topics in which to implement non-message based approaches. The authors suggest that when we are unable to incorporate non-message based approaches, such as modeling, "attitudes might be enhanced by using a message that focuses on those aspects of a target species that are most salient to an audience" (Morgan & Gramann, 1989). For example, one might show the audience a picture of an elephant picking up a stick with its trunk and explain that a trunk is used much like a human hand.
In an attempt to educate, some have come to rely on extrinsic motivators. Whether receiving a toy for behaving in a public place or winning a sticker for most completed math problems, "extrinsic incentives are valued outcomes that do not inhere in task engagement itself. By contrast, intrinsic incentives inhere in task engagement itself or are psychologically inseparable from it" (Lepper & Greene, 1978). The author adds that the majority of activities are probably associated with both. Although there are social forces and the setting of the event present in any situation, other factors, such as enhancing perceived competence, can be addressed for its ability to increase intrinsic motivation. Lepper and Greene (1978) suggest broadening the range of options in which one can approach and engage in an activity to increase perceived competence. An additional incentive promoting intrinsic motivation is feedback on performance. This feedback must not, however, undermine the basic values of the task. "The problem of education becomes: How do we best arrange a coherent, intelligent, and responsible environment in which discovery and learning may occur?" (Lepper & Greene, 1978).
The progress in development of a mental model for human development has shifted over the years from the mechanistic view of the Behaviorists to a logical-computational theory with a computer-like model to a model of situated cognition. In this model, reasoning develops from causal stories rich in context and meaning. Situated cognition defines knowledge as skills used to solve problems. Paulo Freire asks us to make the connection between "reading the word" and "reading the world" to see literacy as thinking differently, seeing the world differently. Freire, Papert, and Gardner would agree that this approach suggests that there are many different literacies.
Howard Gardner's work developing a model of multiple intelligences features seven distinct types of intelligence. They are spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, locical-mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, linguistic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. Researchers agree that education needs to support the whole range of intelligences, and further that these intelligences are inter-related. Additionally, creativity is believed to thrive where two or more intelligences mix. "Education designed to support all intelligences has the potential to enhance learning through these interconnections, in addition to supporting individual intelligences more effectively" (McLellan, 1996).
According to Piaget's doctrine, "knowledge simply cannot be transmitted or conveyed ready made to another person" (as cited in Papert, 1993). Each individual constructs a personal version of the information being relayed. For ways to facilitate this process, Piaget points to teaching methods used in the people's republics where "the teacher directs the student but in a way that forces him into activity rather than merely giving 'lessons' to the student" (Gruber & Voneche, 1995). This activity may take a number of forms and should not be thought of as being limited to physical actions. "A student may be totally 'active' in the sense of making a personal rediscovery ... [Or to] assimilate the events and the objects into systems of operations" (Gruber & Voneche, 1995). Our quickly changing world expects more of its new generations than imitation, so education needs to be reciprocal in the relationship between the subjects to be educated and the society.
Much of what we teach children passes on the attitudes and values of the society. As we become more urbanized, our personal experiences with animals becomes more isolated, much of the time being limited to domesticated pets. The pervasive attitudes towards animals has been described by researchers as humanistic, which singles out pets and "lovable" animals as recipients of affection while showing little appreciation for wildlife in general. Even for those with an appreciation for wildlife, without firsthand experiences with wildlife much of urban America has come to depend upon wildlife organizations, publications, and television programs for education, and to educate forthcoming generations.
Educating children about wildlife needs to reach beyond learning facts about animals to an approach that leads to an appreciation, affection, and respect for these living creatures. The appropriate and most influential age for children to be exposed to animal education has been estimated by several researchers. Westervelt & Llewellyn (1985) found that environmental education programs are most commonly found in grades 11 and 12, which is after attitudes toward wildlife have been firmly established. For example, "attitudes toward consumptive and non-consumptive uses of wildlife appear to be well formed by the time young people reach eighth grade" (LaHart, 1978).
When describing the developmental progress of the second through eleventh graders, Kellert and Westervelt found that second through fifth graders were characterized by changes in affective and emotional concern for animals. And "in general, the transition from fifth to eighth grade appeared to signify basic changes in intellectual and cognitive understandings of animals" (Kellert & Westervelt, 1983). "Several authors suggest that at this age [10 - 12 years old], students are actively searching for more information about animals, their attitudes toward animals are still forming, and therefore excellent opportunities exist for fostering an appreciation for the natural world" (Westervelt & Llewellyn, 1985).
Introducing children in the classroom to the world of wildlife in a way that fosters an appreciation for all forms of life begins with an approach that encourages and develops their enthusiasm for wildlife adventures and exploration. Engaging in the ancient art of storytelling unfolds the tale of things far away, and brings them to life in the listeners' imagination.
In Teaching as Story Telling, Egan examines the teaching methods currently used in elementary schools and suggests an alternative approach to lessons "in light of a richer image of the child as an imaginative as well as a logico-mathematical thinker"(Egan, 1986). The story telling model involves organizing material into narrative units. The lesson begins with setting up a conflict or theme, then limiting subsequent information to those things which move the story forward or toward resolving the conflict. The stories present meaningful and integrated information that spur connections with personal experiences to create more elaborate interpretations. "What we call imagination is also a tool of learning - in the early years perhaps the most energetic and powerful one" (Egan, 1986).
Teachers have reported on the benefits of incorporating stories into instruction in general and into wildlife education in particular. Moser (1994) uses storybooks to teach seven and eight year olds about animals such as spiders and whales. The author comments that the unfamiliar structure and format of the information contained in traditional texts impair the children's motivation and involvement and suggests literature as a possible alternative. "An increasing recognition of the need to communicate values of caring and concern for nature have brought literature into the area of general classroom instruction" (Moser, 1994). It is interesting to note the author's warning that some of the existing literature has an anthropomorphic approach. It is important to make it clear to the children that an animal's value is not determined by its similarity or service to humans as the aim is to develop caring and concern for the animals. Under these conditions, students learn the basics of animal behavior couched in the familiar setting of a story. Prior knowledge of the story format facilitates thoughts about and understanding of the content of the story. The author concludes that "storybooks have identifiable ways of developing children's involvement and empathy" (Moser, 1994).
Some aspects of daily life have been radically changed by the advances in science and technology. "Telecommunications, entertainment, and transportation, as well as medicine, are among them. School is a notable example of an area that has not ... Not surprisingly, by comparison school strikes many young people as slow, boring, and frankly out of touch" (Papert, 1993). Technology has begun to enter the classroom, increasing the number of possible approaches education can take, such as with the talking book. This is an audio recording for learning content material which is presented above the child's present reading skills. Perhaps the most popular media for telling stories is through television type programs. In addition to the widespread access, this media also provides both audio and visual presentation. For younger children, the addition of video has been shown to enhance event-knowledge acquisition. Peracchio (1993) presented kindergartners and second graders with a narrative for exchanging an item at a store. The results show that audiovisual presentation of information, when presented straight through from beginning to end as a story would be told, resulted in superior recall when compared with the audio only presentation.
This was true of both the kindergarten and second graders. "An audio presentation accompanied by visual images seems to inherently provide sufficient stimulus to perform elaboration" (Peracchio, 1993). Researchers have said that lessons using two modalities increases learning. Small et al. (1993) conducted four experiments comparing recall of information about animals with and without pictures of the animals. Their results showed that the pictures facilitated recall, whether the information was presented only in the prose or in the prose and the picture. This effect did not exist for information shown in the picture, but not addressed in the prose. The picture was even helpful when the information in the prose was not obviously illustrated in the picture, so long as the picture was relevant to the prose. This effect was present for familiar and unfamiliar animals, which is important because children may be familiar with some of the animals and not others.
As computers are currently available in most schools and are being purchased and installed in more schools across the country every year, they represent the newest and largest technological advance in education. Papert (1993) finds the location of computers in schools today, which is in computer labs, essentially defines a new subject. "Instead of changing the emphasis from impersonal curriculum to excited live exploration by students, the computer was now used to reinforce school ways." Currently, the computer labs in schools are mainly used to teach programming, for example to use Macintosh's LOGO program to create a picture. In addition to computers in school being limited in scope "some students, who had developed an expertise in programming, believed that their teachers were not knowledgeable enough or that their computer classes were too elementary" (Giacquinta, Bauer, & Levin, 1993).
When computers are used as learning tools, "most students thought learning is more exciting with computers ... a majority of students stated that they learn 'better' using a computer" (Davidson & Ritchie, 1994). However, children use home computers mainly for playing games. Educational software designers have recognized the attraction to games, and have responded by incorporating a game-like format to their programs. As a consequence, "they permitted children to obtain winning scores by playing the game in a rapid, repetitive, mindless fashion that precluded learning the material that the program had been fashioned to present" (Lepper & Cordova, 1992). Currently, educational software designers are combining some of the motivating aspects of game-like formats with effective learning strategies from cognitive research. Ogilvy (1995) concludes:
We can see the convergence of Nintendo and Sega and interactive Computer graphics and learning theory and pedagogy and developmental psychology and Gardner's work on multiple intelligences. All these are coming together like tributaries of a river. They aren't with us, but by 1997, 1998, they're going to be here.
Instruction using interactive multimedia can bring untold amounts of information into the classroom, and can present this information to varying degrees and at varying speeds. Rosenzweig sees electronic media as "extremely good at condensing large amounts of data in small amounts of space"(1993). This and the wide variety of media available for his subject matter prompted him to convert a history book into an electronic book which includes audio, film, and pictures, combined with non-linear search features, using Hypercard and Macintosh. The same hardware and software combination was selected when an electronic guide at the Museum of Dion in Greece was developed in 1993. These authors selected the Macintosh because of its reliability and friendly interface and Hypercard because it is the first and most widely used multimedia authoring tool. Hypercard and Macintosh provide a relatively simple and powerful authoring tool to create learning environments in a wide array of settings.
DeJean et al. (1995) investigated the use of CD-ROM storybooks in a third grade classroom. Also called CD-ROM talking books, Discis storybooks supplemented classics such as Aesop's Fables. The narratives mirrored the hard cover counterparts. Of the many vocabulary enhancing options available, the students predominantly selected the read aloud feature and then completed the follow-up activities they were assigned. Their knowledge of these stories was good, as was illustrated by their performance on the follow-up activities. Living Books were also available to the children, but the hard cover version of these stories were not used. These stories might be more comfortable for the emergent and weaker reader because they contain few words per page and large print. Although these books have a required read aloud portion, the children most enjoyed taking turns clicking on the hot spots to see the animation. The students remained enthusiastic about "playing" with the Living Books, even after they gradually lost interest in reading the Discis narratives.
Egan's story approach to elementary school lessons has been combined with the interactive multimedia format available through Hypercard. One example is the series of Amanda Stories available through Apple. Heller and McLellan (1993) asked fifth grade children to compare Hypercard stories with traditional books. After a few weeks, the differences discussed shifted from physical structure to comparisons of story structure such as setting and theme. In addition to seeing the non-linear and non-verbal Amanda Stories collection as literature, "the results of this study highlight children's great enthusiasm for the interactive nature of the Hypercard story" (Heller & McClellan, 1993). McLellan (1992) concludes that in storytelling, whether presented through traditional or a hypertext medium, "what will remain consistent is the skill in arranging the material and the artistic sense of selection."
The popularity of computer games and internet access is growing among younger children. Perhaps this is due to the advancing technology resulting in more user-friendly computer programs. Also, there is a trend for computer programs, such as the internet, to be exploratory in nature. An exploratory format works very well for educational programs in general and for wildlife programs in particular. Photographs, movies, audio recordings of animal sounds and narration can breathe life into the animals on the screen. In addition to presenting factual information, stories with pictures can add an element of familiarity and identification for these little known animals.
With knowledge and understanding, children can come to appreciate the animal's unique qualities. This requires time and effort, so the learning tool must capture the children's interest and provide continued curiosity throughout the lesson. "More ambitious and imaginative efforts are required as the eventual condition of wildlife will, of course, depend on the future commitment and concern of today's children" (Kellert & Westervelt, 1983).
Designing multimedia instruction has become the subject of extensive research for its effectiveness as a learning aid. Much of this research contains suggestions intended to assist designers in making their programs more user-friendly. Dessipris et al. (1993) addresses the most commonly identified user problem, which is navigating through hypermedia. The authors suggest inserting a help button on each screen, and conducting a pilot study looking for those screens on which users hesitate due to feeling lost, and then making changes to improve ease of navigation. Ease of navigation is particularly important because users become frustrated by being lost, and frequently the original purpose of using the hypermedia is lost.
Schweir and Misanchuk, in their book Interactive Multimedia Instruction, outline many ways to more effectively approach lessons. First, the authors describe approaches as prescriptive or drill and practice, democratic or learner controlled, and cybernetic or virtual reality which provide simulated learning environments in which to experience the lesson. Regardless of the approach chosen, in creating these education tools, objectives and learning styles must retain their importance, while elements such as aesthetics, ease of navigation, elaboration, and help segments must also be given consideration. The authors particularly stress the importance of navigation ease, saying that the learner should understand how to respond in every instance.
Multimedia instruction can include features to attract and hold attention, provide students with lesson information, and contain features to facilitate learning the material. Rosenzweig (1993) provides his students with over 200 excursions, or side trips, that elaborate on some fact or idea from the main text. The use of "quicktime" has enabled him to incorporate films into some of these excursions. Norman (1994), includes interactive screens, animation, and computer access to assignments and readings. He believes that the electronic classroom goes beyond computer labs to provide "a unique potential for the interactive and collaborative learning of any subject" (Norman, 1994).
It is agreed that designers must integrate learning principles with multimedia capabilities for effective instruction. To accomplish this goal, Bostow et al. suggest that learning techniques such as shaping, fading, priming, and prompting be implemented in programmed instruction. Further, the authors assert that "someone must organize the interchanges between student and machine into a sequential series of small steps, each small step being a component leading to the desired terminal performance" (Bostow et al, 1995).
The advantage of multimedia authoring tools include the ability to include pictures, movies, audio, and graphics in ways that allow the student to make some choices on how to proceed. The interactive multimedia instruction can create an exploratory environment where the student plays an active role in the learning process in a variety of ways. Arnone & Grabowski compared program control, learner control, and learner control with advisement for learning and curiosity in first and second graders. The program control condition provided a linear path through the lesson. Under learner control condition, the user could choose from multiple paths through the lesson.
Students who had control over sequencing, pacing, and remediation, combined with advisement to use the "stop and think" option scored higher and spent more time on task than under the other conditions. In addition, the authors feel this condition resulted in higher scores because it provides the most interaction between student and computer. The learner control with advisement condition also "generated the most questions and the most independent ideas" (Arnone & Grabowski, 1992).
Research has shown the interaction between student and computer appears to be intrinsically motivating (Heller & McLellan, 1992, Arnone & Grabowski, 1992). These effects are stronger when choice over aspects of the activity are open to the students. "The provision of choice has long been the paradigmatic procedure for manipulating intrinsic motivation" (Cordova & Lepper, 1996). Moreover, it appears that these effects remain even when the choices are not central to the learning activity. The authors show that children given control over some features of the game felt more competence than those in the control condition. It appears that those students were more personally involved with the task, tried harder to win the game, performed better, and are aware of their success. Lepper and Malone suggested that increased motivation will lead to increased learning to the extent that there is a "match between actions required for students to learn the material being presented in an activity and the actions required for students to enjoy that activity" (As cited in Cordova & Lepper, 1996).
Multimedia has increased the ways in which a lesson can be approached. Games and stories have been studied for their effect on motivation and learning. One must remember that the added dimension that a story brings to the multimedia format may result in greater likelihood of younger students feeling lost. McLellan (1992) suggests that "with this kind of flexible storytelling tool, the inexperienced reader needs a starting point for exploration." A guided tour model would provide the structure and freedom necessary for understanding. In a guided tour, "author generated paths refer to predetermined links within the information space" (Jonassen & Mandl, 1989). This structure, when imbedded in the hypermedia, addresses the needs of the younger students. "In designing structured hypermedia, the designer is saying that there is a subject matter structure or a knowledge structure that ought to be conveyed in sections" (Jonassen & Mandl, 1989). Each section of the structured hypermedia is accessible from any other, but the information within each section is arranged to convey a message. This constitutes a compromise between the motivational approach of learner control and the common complaint of getting lost in the hypermedia.
As we have seen, existing approaches to wildlife education offer few cases showing limited success in enhancing attitudes toward or knowledge about animals. The encyclopedia-type information available in CD-ROM, magazines about wildlife, and wildlife television programs are mainly being utilized by those children who are already interested in wildlife. For most younger children, these media contain an overwhelming amount of information and lack clear connections with their personal experiences which are necessary in order to be effective education aids. The wildlife introduced in this interactive multimedia lesson attempt to introduce the student to individual animals, much like the non-fiction animal storybooks. Information about these animals is limited to family structure and physical characteristics. Each animal is given a name for easier identification, the animal's position in a family structure is described, as are some changes that will be experienced as he/she developments. There are clear parallels with human developments and family structures. The families are shown from the perspective of the central animal, a child in the family.
Some of the features of this program aim to increase motivation through student control over some options. These include the "question" and "more" buttons, as well as the navigation buttons which enable the student to exit one section and enter another. Motivation is also enhanced by describing the animals within the larger contexts of members of a family, and as part of a larger group of African mammals. Finally, the familiar story-like approach to these animals and their families is intended to increase motivation to proceed through the sections of this lesson.
Multimedia software is an opportunity for educators to present wildlife more creatively. The interactive format, along with the ability to incorporate the colorful photographs and narration of this project come together to provide a novel, entertaining approach to wildlife education. The photographs provide a unique opportunity to look closely at specific features of these animals. The narration asks the student to notice a particular feature of the animal by asking the student to click on that feature.
The narration consists of three parts, which are presented in the same order on each slide. First, the student hears a description of the animal or animals shown in the photograph. The main member is introduced first in each section. This member is later related to the others with the instructions to click on one of the animals in order to "meet this main member's family." The other animals shown are introduced by name and by their relationship with the main member. Second, a fact or characteristic about the animal is given. This may relate to the activity shown, to his/her role in the family, or to some general information about this member of the species. This information is related to the photograph shown, either directly describing an activity shown or describing a characteristic of the individual shown.
Third, instructions to proceed are provided. Verbal instructions presented at the time they are needed provide ease of navigation throughout the lesson. The photographs are of actual family members living in their natural habitats who have been observed by researchers. The photographs were chosen because they are of close family members such as sisters and brothers and show social interaction, or display a common activity for the animal. Some photographs provide opportunities to describe certain physical characteristics of the animals. Others were chosen for illustrating the animals interacting with their natural environments. The photographs provide visual representations for the narratives.
In the introduction, local plant life and camp sites are shown. The student may choose to click the "more" button to look at additional screens on either or both topics. The student can also choose to see one screen of each topic and proceed to the map of Africa. The map of Africa screen contains buttons linking to each of the animal sections. Certain screens contain a question mark button. The questions are optional, providing the learner with a certain level of control, however there is a reminder or advisement each time one appears to click and answer the question. The questions reinforce the segment just presented, and the picture remains on the screen for review. All of the questions have multiple choice answers, which provide a kind of cued recall. The questions and the choices are short and easy to read to avoid frustrating slower readers. There is immediate feedback, and a correct answer is needed to proceed.
To proceed to the next photograph, the student must click on an invisible button. Some of these buttons are located on specific parts of the photographs which are related to the information mentioned in the narration. The location of these buttons will vary from card to card; therefore, the student must pay attention to the verbal instructions in order to know where to click. The buttons that appear on the right side of the screen are not explained in the narration, but they may be explored independently. These navigation buttons are located in the same place on each card, and they are color coordinated. If the student sets up a problem or task such as getting from one location to another, these navigation buttons can be used to solve it. The "question mark" button does have verbal prompting. When clicked, this button displays a short question, and when it appears the instructions to proceed include a reminder to click it for a question about the animal shown. The "play" button will restart the narration for the card. It is used in the event that the student was distracted from the directions to proceed or any other part of the narration. The "Back" button returns the student to the last screen seen. This may be the screen just prior in the series, or from a completely different animal section. The "next" button has the same effect as clicking in the invisible continue button, including triggering the next narrative script to play. The "to map" button returns the student to the map of Africa. This button is only available on some screens, but because of the many buttons on the map of Africa screen, it provides part of a powerful navigation tool. The "to outline" button returns the student to the diagram of the structure of the program. This option is only available on certain screens, and works as a complement to the "to map" button. These last two buttons are the vehicles to advanced navigation through the hypermedia.
This program has been set up for use by individuals or small groups to accommodate various classroom settings. Headphones can be used by individuals, or the computer speakers for use by a group. The narratives use the word "we" because it can either refer to the student and the narrator or to multiple students along with the narrator.
Many follow-up activities can reinforce various aspects of this lesson. They include having the students pick a few favorite photographs, print them and write a short explanation as to why they were selected, or the students can develop a short story to accompany the photographs selected. This program can prepare students for a documentary on African wildlife. Interest in wildlife can be further developed by reading more in depth descriptions of wildlife in magazine articles or viewing documentaries, or searching the internet for more information.
The motivational and instructional components of a multimedia approach to education may take many forms in its actual design. Each aspect of the design is the result of evaluating the advise of other designers and the outcomes of various options, as shown in the research. Also, as McLellan mentions, the effectiveness is a product of the designer's creativity. A design is effective if it sparks and captures the audiences' attention, if it focuses on the important and relevant information, if it facilitates the creative imagination, and if it remains vivid in the memory. In order to accomplish this, the medium must become almost invisible, so the audience's attention can remain focused on the content. Papert sees multimedia as a vehicle to exploration and discovery, which is quite unlike the computer programming tasks that make up the majority of the computer lab activities today.
Creating a piece of the puzzle that will be the classroom of the future requires examining what lessons to teach and how best to accomplish each of these. Currently, education about wildlife and the environment are entering the elementary school classrooms. Simultaneously, computer labs are being added to elementary schools. Therefore, the combination of these current events seemed a logical and important development. Wildlife education, when introduced at the elementary school level, must include learning about the animals within the framework of their natural environments. Learning about animals in this context will help to minimize the students' tendencies to develop anthropomorphic attachments to specific animals.
The results of an examination of the literature revealed that the approximate age group to address lessons about wildlife is third graders. With this age group, there are advantages to approaching lessons using a strong visual component. The photograph provides the student with a self-determined amount of time in which to examine the details of each animal.
Non-fiction books about animals that are available in book stores can be divided into two approaches. There are children's encyclopedias of animals, and a very limited number of storybooks about an animal. An important aspect of wildlife appreciation comes from understanding the interrelation of the animals in a family and the families that share an ecosystem or a part of the world. Including four, or even more, animals in a book or computer program means the children can see that these animals live together.
The computer authoring tool I chose is Hypercard because it is the first and the most widely used. It runs on Macintosh systems, which are available in most schools. A simpler version of Hypercard, called Hyper Studio, is currently used by elementary school children to create their own stacks. Therefore, the children are familiar with the format. The current version, Hypercard 2.3 is capable of easily importing digital pictures using a PICT file format, and of recording sounds. Therefore, the Hypercard authoring tool can accommodate the needs of this project. Color creates a cover on the card, whether used in the background or the card layer. Consequently, some scripting capabilities are lost, but the availability of color photographs more than compensates. Most obstacles in scripting were overcome by installing buttons that need to be clicked in order to start the activity. This seemingly repetitious approach has been camouflaged in a variety of ways. For example, the click to proceed buttons will first advance to the next card, then start the audio describing the picture, the information about the animal, and the directions to proceed for this next card.
Advancing technology and its application to education provide
extremely powerful implications. The classroom of the future can
only be imagined today; however, we must imagine and begin building
the foundation. The research of current education methods supplies
direction for our plans. Improvements and discoveries depend on
continued observation of our children interacting with various
learning techniques. Through the subsequent advances, children
will be given the best opportunity to learn the ever increasing
amount of information that accompanies our quickly advancing
world. Along with all the technological advancements, we must keep
a place in our hearts and in our world for wildlife and the
environment. Ultimately, our future depends on maintaining a place
for all living things to live.