RESEARCH ON MEDIA EDUCATION REPORT ON TEACHERS AND STUDENTS NEEDS ANALYSIS
Author: Magdalena Gałaj WyŜsza Szkoła Informatyki (WSInf)
The Academy of Information Technology Łódź, Poland email@example.com
Abstract At the beginning of the 21 century schools in Poland are facing many changes. These refer to the few current educational reforms and all their related aspects. One of them focuses on the issues of how to teach young people effectively and interestingly at the same time. Today’s society is flooded with different technological changes introducing new gadgets to the market so much exciting especially for the younger generations. This obviously cannot be unnoticed in schools. The very much technology and information-oriented society creates new challenges for the educational system as well. Young people in Poland are successfully following the globalised trend and many find it more alluring and interesting to involve in a computer game or their new iphone gadget rather than the obligatory reading assignment for school. This creates many educational challenges which schools are facing at the moment. How to integrate the development of technology and the widespread of media and information flow into the teaching and learning process? How to make the young people aware users of what they hear, watch or interact with? How to teach them critical thinking and analysis of the information they are bombarded with at all times? The main objective of this report is to present the results of the first analysis of OnAir project, called “Need analysis”, oriented to explore media skills and different behaviours of children and adults, especially teachers, in front of different kinds of technologies (traditional and digital). This report presents the result of the first stage of the project which is just exploratory and preliminary and aims at collecting the elements necessary for the construction of the questionnaire that is going to be used for surveying and analysing the context of all partner countries. 1.Teachers The first part of the report will tackle teachers and the results of their expectation interviews with reference to media both in their free time and at the school use. The following analysis will start with a brief presentation of the Polish educational system and will describe types of schools and teacher profiles (according to age, experience and subject taught) involved in the project. Next part of this report will reveal current trends among teachers in the use of media in their free time, explaining the main activities and reasons behind their use.
After short presentation of the personal likings of teachers the report will focus on the more professional aspect of media pinpointing its use at the school context. In this part of the teacher expectation form teachers were asked to explain their approach towards different media seeking their educational values and potentials, this part also explains the reasons why certain kind of media are used and others are not and briefly describes students’ attitudes and feedback. Another part of the report relating to teachers’ expectation interview will deal with the most commonly encountered problems with regards to media and possibly this section will explain why specific media have more favourable position in the educational context, whereas other have none of little interest both of students and teachers. To sum up teachers will pinpoint and comment on their experiences of media supporting the teaching and learning process. 1.1 Educational Context To make the understanding of the Polish results easier the author has decided to start the report with a short presentation of the educational system in Poland. All children in Poland start their obligatory education at the age of 7 in Primary Schools which are divided into two levels: Early Education – Junior Primary (age 7-10) and Senior Primary Education (age 10-13). Next stage of the obligatory education begins at the age of 13 when children start a 3-year-long Lower Secondary School (Gimnazjum age 13-16). After completing Gimnazjum teenagers can continue their education at Upper Secondary Schools (Liceum) which educate teenagers and young adults between the age of 16-19. 1.2 Types of schools To meet the requirements of the first stage of the OnAir project the Academy of Information Technology (WSInf) involved 5 schools to comply with the project’s activities. Out of the 5 schools in question, 3 are Primary Schools and the other 2 are Lower Secondary Schools (Gimnazjum). Although the project is addressed at researching media education among students aged 11-16 the author has decided to include in the project one Primary school at the Early education level. This decision has been taken mainly after a long questioning and thorough analysis of the schools’ learners’ competences and aptitudes which finally proved the kids to be highly gifted and excellent learners. 1.3 Teacher profiles After signing all the introductory School Participation Letters the researcher interviewed altogether 10 teachers and 100 students in all the schools. (see Fig. 1)
Number of teachers
Teaches 0 2 4 6 8
10 10 12
Fig. 1 Number of the interviewed teachers according to gender
Out of the ten teachers in question the majority are young teachers between the age of 20-35 with about 10 years experience on average and only two of the teachers are over 35 with more than 17 years spent working at school. None of the Polish teachers in the project are over 50. (see Fig. 2). All of them know English at the communicative level.
Age 50-65 0
Fig. 2 Number of the interviewed teachers according to age
Only three teachers involved in the project’s research are employed in the Lower Secondary Schools, one being the State Lower Secondary school and the latter Private Lower Secondary School. The other seven teachers work in the Primary schools, two of them being state owned and one a private one. (see Fig. 3)
Type of School
Fig. 3 Number of interviewed teachers according to school levels and types
Another important and interesting thing is that a huge majority of the teachers involved in the project are English language teachers, one teacher teaches Polish language and four teachers teach early education subject in one of the primary schools. (see Fig. 4). One can wonder why teachers of other subjects were not so much interested in participating in the project and the reason is in most cases an English language barrier. Directors of schools, that WSInf included in the project, appointed only those teachers whose level was at least B2 level according to CEFR to make the communication within the project’s tasks easier and smoother.
Early Education 4
Fig. 4 Number of teachers according to the subject taught
1.4 Media in free time Now let us analyse teacher expectation interview results. The first question in the interview referred to the teachers’ use of media in their free time (see Fig. 5). It is a bit difficult to discuss which of the media teachers like or use most often because the first question was accompanied by the list of media and some of the teachers treated it as a layout according to which they completed the tables. All of the ten teachers are frequent Internet users, possibly due to the young age. They use it mostly as a source of information and knowledge and some of them even made it clear that time spent on the Internet is the one need to do lesson preparation. Looking for materials, downloads, articles and videos are very commonly searched for on the Internet. Teachers want to be creative and they realize that their lessons will be more interesting and stimulating for students if they involve new technologies. Privately teachers use Internet for communication and entertainment, too. Sending e-mails, using VoIP programmes and participating in online chats and forums not only broaden their horizons but are also free and very quick ways of knowledge interchange. TV is another frequently used medium in teachers’ free time. It is appreciated for its entertaining values, but some teachers also pinpoint its educational aspects. The Polish language teacher and the early education teachers use TV, especially satellite channels and programmes to master their foreign languages command, whereas English language teachers use TV to record some listening comprehension materials to be used in their classrooms. Books work mostly as creativity stimulants and they broaden horizons. According to all the teachers they are valuable sources of knowledge and information although some teachers prefer to use the Internet in this aspect.
Newspapers and radio are used by teachers mostly to keep up with the most current issues both on national/ regional and international level. Reading and listening to news enables teachers to function in the modern life reality especially when they are examples to follow. All teachers possess mobile phones and they are regular models without any special, smart functions that is why they are mostly used for pure communication and texting. In a few cases mobiles work as organizers and reminders of important events, rarely as calculators or cameras. The media no one uses in their free time is video games. The reasons maybe a few but the most frequently repeated ones were lack of time or lack of interest in gaming at all.
Teachers use of media in free time
Video Games Mobile Radio Newspaper TV Books Internet 0 2 4 6 8 6 8 8 10 10 12 7 0 10
Fig. 5 Teachers use of media in free time
1.5 Media at School As far as the use of media goes in the context of school and classroom most of the teachers found audiovisual aids extremely useful and exciting for students. The most often used audiovisual aid is TV, less common is the cinema. English language teachers watch TV programmes and video films regularly during their lessons. It is due to the fact that many of the modern course books are accompanied by video and CD supplements. Polish language teacher makes frequent visits to the cinema whereas the early education teachers do both. All teachers agree that TV and cinema stimulate students for further discussion, develop their imagination and thanks to them students are actively participating in the lessons. Only language teachers use radio in their classroom and it is not as often used media as one would expect. In many cases it has been substituted by the Internet materials e.g. YouTube. As far as newspapers are concerned early education teachers do not use them at all in the classroom and it is mainly because their students are too young to get involved
in a serious journalistic reading. What they do though is make use of the photos and pictures in the magazines children could use as stimulants of discussions and conversations. Polish language teacher uses them very rarely, whereas English language teachers use them quite often but only if they are in English and if they are related to the subject currently covered in the lesson. All teachers use magazines though, and the reason is the amount of colourful pictures and photos which can be stimulating for any class and age group. Comics and cartoons are used mostly in primary schools as visual aids for young learners. With older students they work mainly as stimulants for discussions and dialogue creation especially in language classes. Polish teachers interviewed do not use and do not know how to use e-books and game books. Many of them blame the lack of technical possibilities in their schools for the little interest in this kind of media. Mobile phones are not used in the educational process in Polish schools at all, mainly due to the strict rules according to which students must not use their phones at schools. Internet is one of the most often applied media in the educational process in Polish Schools. It is used both at school and as a homework task. Students search for information needed for the lesson and lessons become more interesting and attractive when students apply the media they like so much. Video games are never used in the classroom context and very often parents restrict their children’s access to games and gaming even at home. 1.6. Obstacles The most common obstacles teachers encounter in their work are related to the lack of proper equipment allowing them to use new technologies at school. Although all language teachers have access to CD and DVD players, their use of the Internet during the lesson is governed by the number of computer labs at school. To use computers very often teachers have to plan lessons in advance and wait in a queue in order to realize their curriculum with the application of new media. The same problem is cited by early education and the Polish language teachers, however the problem is much more serious in state schools than is the private ones. There are also some teachers who are now fully convinced about their technology-oriented skills. Some declare they would benefit a lot from extra computer and Interenttrainings. All of the teachers wish to improve their knowledge in the aspect of e-books and game books because all of them are aware of their students’ interest in the Internet and computers as such. 2.Students In the student expectation interview part of the report we will analyse students attitudes and active or passive use of certain media both in their free time and at school. At the beginning the author will briefly present the students profiles and will explain their background, both of which may have some influence on students
comments and approaches towards media. Students will be classified according to age groups and gender and schools they come from. Then, another part of the report will tackle some aspects of relevance of certain media in the individual needs and wishes satisfaction. Students will pinpoint different functions media have for them and will describe their most effective communication tools. Another section of the analysis will present the results of the interviews in which students will focus on their favourite and most important media and it will lead us to the final output revealing different perceptions students have towards specific kinds of media. 2.1. Student profiles Let us start with a short analysis of the students’ profiles. As it was mentioned earlier WSInf managed to involve five different level and type of schools each of them introducing 2 teachers and 20 students into the project activities (10 teachers and 100 students). Then it occurred that at this stage of the project it is enough to input two teachers and 20 students in the online database altogether, however as WSInf collected so many interviews the author decided to include all of them in the analysis of the results to make the outcomes more reliable. The project is addressed at students aged 11-16, however WSInf included into it one Primary School with early education level with the students age between 7-11. This decision was based on the students special talents and learning aptitudes. Of course administering the interview among so young children was a bit of a struggle for the researcher, however surprisingly in the overall results analysis their answers and responses to all the questions were either compliant with the older students results or even in some cases they revealed deeper and more “adult” and far more serious approaches, which proves the researches decision about their inclusion in the project was a correct one. The figure (Fig. 6) below presents the number of students interviewed according to age groups.
14-16 yrs old 13-14 yrs old 11-13 yrs old under 11 0 10 20 20 30 30 40 23 27
Fig. 6 The number of students according to age groups
Students under 11 belong to the early education level where all subjects taught are integrated. Students over 13 are taught according to thematic subjects. Another classification of students has been carried out according to their gender. When analysing the results of the students’ interviews the researcher noticed some discrepancies and similarities between the responses given by girls and boys at certain age, that is why she decided to classify students according to gender at different age groups. (see Fig. 7, 8, 9, 10) Out of 30 students altogether under 11, 16 interviewed students are girls and the rest 14, are boys. As it was mentioned earlier girls and boys at this level do not seem to have too many differences as far as their interests in media are concerned. They do not usually play games or watch TV as parents do not allow them to use these two media too much. They are rather exposed to books both at school and at home. They do not read newspapers and if they watch TV it is mostly for entertainment and fun rather than news and current affairs. They do not own mobile phones but children who come from wealthier backgrounds (private schools) own computers and mp3 players. If they listen to radio it is mostly because their parents or older siblings at home do it.
Students under 11
16 14 30 Female Male Total
Fig. 7 Students according to gender under 11 years old
At the age of 11-13 (Fig. 8) students become more aware of the use of TV and the Internet not only for entertainment. These students are not early education students anymore and school requires extra stimulants of the learners’ knowledge. Students are often given homework tasks where they have to look for some data and they seem to discover the educational value of the Internet, too. At this age boys are more into games but surprisingly girls play games as well. At this age however, girls seem to be more interested in books than their male peers. More kids possess phones but they cannot use them at school during the lessons so they use them mostly to communicate with their parents. They start to be interested in chat programmes (GG communicator or SKYPE) which they use mainly for chatting to their friends at school rather than doing homework.
12 8 20 Female Male Total
Fig. 8 Students according to gender age 11-13
At the age of 13-14 (see Fig. 9) out 24 interviewed students the majority are boys and that is why the general results of the analysis maybe be a little bit changed.
9 14 23 Female Male Total
Fig. 9 Students according to gender at the age 13-14
The 14 boys interviewed all appreciated gaming and chatting online. They find video games and the Internet as the most interesting media ever. They play online, too and if they watch TV or cartoons it is still for fun. They however seem to be a bit more
interested in current affairs as they understand the reality around them a bit more. They like programmes about nature and animals especially when they are part of the biology or geography curriculum. Books and newspapers are the least often used traditional media and according to what students say it is due to their fascination with motion pictures rather than boring pages of paper. They find books and magazines boring and uninteresting. They rarely talk about what they read, they would rather choose new game results for the topic of their conversation. Girls at this age appreciate books more than boys, maybe due to their fragility and sensitivity; many girls enjoy teenage magazines with colourful celeb pictures and gossip columns; they also fancy teenage agony columns. Newspapers are the least interesting media for both boys and girls at this age. At the age of 14-16 we interviewed 27 students (Fig. 10) who seem to be the most aware of certain values media bring in their life however this does not always reflect their interests. Many teenagers are familiar with the fact that books are the source of knowledge, still the majority of them find them boring and not creative at all. Both boys and girls struggle to read the obligatory books included in their national curriculum, however girls read more often than boys. Boys spend most of their free time on the Internet and surprisingly not only to search for information. They chat online, they download movies and music and they play online games. Many of them own mobile phones and although they are not officially allowed to use them at schools they admit to texting their friends during lessons out of boredom and lack of interest in the content of some classes. And this does not only refer to struggling students. Good pupils seem to be breaking the rules sometimes, too and they explain it with statements that it is a common and popular thing to do. TV is mostly used by both sexes to kill time and for entertainment. Programmes like Big Brother or chat shows are among the most often mentioned ones by girls. Boys prefer motor and car programmes. Not many of them enjoy the news both on TV and radio. If they listen to the latter they rather opt for music oriented radio stations. As far as games are concerned boys play more games than girls. Girls explained this fact with the lack of games appropriate typically for female players. Gaming becomes the common topic of conversations and it allows students to be a part of the group as they create the so called game communities.
11 16 27 Female Male Total
Fig. 10 Number of students according to gender at 14-16
2.2 Relevance of different media of communication Quite a long part of the students’ interview was directed at diagnosing their attitudes towards the relevance of certain media in the individual needs and wishes satisfaction. Here age mattered, too. Younger children had more problems with understanding the questions themselves and the interviewer had to spend more time on explaining what was hidden behind them. As far as knowing new things is concerned almost all students, irrespective of age, chose books and the Internet, many selected TV and very few the rest of the media. Video games were the least valued media in this aspect. With reference to dreaming about new way of living many opted for books and the Internet, too. This time TV was mentioned almost at the same level as the Internet and books. Games and radio were least graded, at the lowest level. As for the aspect of thinking about social problems many students chose radio, TV and newspapers as sources of information which draw their attention to social issues. Mobiles and video games seem not to be relevant media tackling this topic. The issue of understanding different points of view is realized through almost equally through newspapers, TV, books and the Internet whereas following your ideals and favourite celebrities is mainly realized through TV, colourful magazines and the Internet full of celebrity pictures and gossip about them. All students agree that as far as bettering knowledge goes there is not a better source of information as books and the Internet, however books are rarely in the range of interest of teenagers. Games and mobiles seem not to be relevant for students in this aspect at all. None of the media ranked high in the aspect of reflecting yourself. This could be either because students did not understand the
question well, or due to the fact most of the media are one way communication oriented. Only the books allow the older students to reflect on their life but the problem is they literally hardly ever read at all. With reference to the question about throwing yourself into the world of fantasies books and games are the clear winners. Most kids rank them the highest, still it is a bit contradictive as it was mentioned before books are least frequently used media by older kids. Students observe other realities with the help of TV and the Internet, some are not able to travel freely and they learn about other countries through these two media. Newspapers and books were ranked quite high in this aspect, too. Many students admit to mastering the topic of conversation thanks to watching TV and listening to the radio, whereas games, mobiles and the Internet chats are rather the topics of conversation especially for older students. When students struggle with problems or stressful situations they usually divert their attention to nicer things. The younger ones watch TV or cartoons, whereas the older ones listen to loud music on their mp3 players or on the Internet. Chatting using online communicators and mobiles are ranked quite high by teenagers, too. Maybe because they want to give an outlet to their negative emotions. Students rarely read books or newspapers to forget about stressful situations. Then, teenagers would opt for a violent game as well. To kill time most of the students watch TV, play a video or online game or just use the Internet. Sometimes they listen to music or the radio but usually when doing something else at the same time. Only a few students read a book or magazine and it is only when they are on holiday or when they are really bored. But on the condition that they read something which matches their hobbies or interests. Letting off emotions is related to diverting attention from problems and here too violent games, Internet communicators and mobiles phones are ranked the highest. Any printed reading material is not applicable in this context. As far as the question of knowing about your own sexuality is concerned all the primary school teachers skipped this question in the interview. When talking to them the research found out it would not be proper to raise such a topic with such young students. Teenagers in lower secondary schools pointed at the Internet full of uncensored materials and TV. The most relevant media for communication were obviously mobile phones and the Internet. TV and other printed media were ranked low in this question mainly due to its one-way communication mode. The Internet community and the mobiles give students the most feelings about being part of a group. Thanks to this media they can easily stay in touch with friends or make new friends. Games and TV are ranked quite high too but thanks to different reasons. They are often topics of communication rather than channels of communication. Students become active mainly thanks to the Internet or mobiles. Even the shy ones can benefit from appearing in the online community. They can share their interests and knowledge anonymously. They do not have to reveal their real names and still enjoy the online society. Among the media stimulating towards further creativity students included books and the Internet. Radio and TV are stimulating for further discussion though. 2.3. Media functions
In this section of the interview students were asked to name different media functions. Their choice ranged from the Internet, Radio, TV, Video Games, through mobiles and newspapers to books. They were asked to choose maximum three kinds of media and describe their functions. Out of 100 students interviewed all kinds of media listed above were mentioned in their selection, however the most often used ones were the Internet, mobile phone, TV and video games. Many students completed the tables for all the media, that is why for the purpose of this report the researcher chose the first three listed media which are the Internet, radio and TV. According to students’ responses books and newspapers contain knowledge but are too boring to read. As far as the Internet and its functions are concerned many students pinpointed communication and sharing. As a huge database of information Internet gives learners vast scope of communicative and educational possibilities. Students send emails, chat, set up blogs, accounts on community portals and participate in forums – all to keep in touch with friends and be up to date with the surrounding reality. Although TV is a passive medium of communication it offers educational and entertaining values. Lots of students selected it having these functions in mind. Mobiles have mostly communication functions but for some older students are also sources of entertainment (phone games, access to the Internet). As far as books are concerned many students agree they should be used to broaden knowledge and horizons, however many Polish students admit officially they are not interested in this form of media used for gaining knowledge.
2.4. Most effective and important media instruments The main objective of this section of the interview was to establish students opinions about the most effective and important instruments used to communicate, share information and encourage creativity and self-expression (see Fig. 11). As far as communication goes most students agreed that the two most popular instruments and the most effective media are the Internet and mobile phones. They allow them to talk to friends from school and abroad. They are also cheap and quick so the communication is smooth and free of charge. Also everybody has access to the Internet at present either at school, home or work. The most effective media for sharing data was again the Internet. Students say it is comfortable, quick and cheap. Sending files to teachers and friends, downloading and uploading data are one of the forms students use the Internet for. Second most commonly mentioned instrument for sharing data was TV. As a public or private media it has got a huge potential of delivering news and current affairs issues to everybody around the world. Mobiles were ranked first as far as sharing is concerned. Here students referred to sending text and multimedia files to friends and colleagues. As for instruments stimulating creativity and self expression many of the students pointed at books despite the fact they hardly ever read them. Some of them
mentioned TV and colourful magazines as they stimulate their imagination and allow them to see different lifestyles and cultures especially when travelling is not possible.
Most effective media
18 38 43 70 73 81 90 0 20 40 60 80 100
Internet Video Games Radio/MP3 Books
Fig. 11 Most effective media
TV Mobile Phones Newspapers/Magazines
2.5. Most popular and favourite media instruments This part of the interview concentrated on the instruments most favoured by students when communicating, sharing information as well as stimulating their creativity (see Fig. 12) And here again the clear winners in the first two fields are the Internet and the TV. They are widely available and cheap and they somehow govern students reality. Internet open many doors, to many so far restricted areas. What is more, many teenagers focus on mobiles as devices facilitating their communication, whereas young children do not find this media an option due to the fact that not many of them are mobile owners. As far as the creativity goes books have lost the battle with video games and colourful magazines. Even music and the radio scored more in the rankings than books, which were pinpointed as good sources of information and entertainment. However, some students, mostly girls appreciated their value. They praised books for their richness and a wide range of choice of genres and authors so that everybody can find something to comply with
his or her likings. Especially young learners appreciate books as tools which can stimulate their imagination.
Most popular media
20 45 49 63 69 72 98 0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Internet Video Games Radio/MP3 Books
Fig. 12 Most popular media
TV Mobile Phones Newspapers/Magazines
2.6. Description of media In the last part of the interview students were asked to use one adjective to describe the media listed below. Internet TV Radio Newspapers Mobile Phones Video Games Books
The most popular adjectives for the Internet were: boring, cheap, full of information, interactive, interesting, cool, wicked The most common adjectives for the TV were: cool, entertaining, important, magical, interesting The most common adjectives for the Radio were: boring, entertaining, lying, interesting, important The most popular adjectives for Newspapers were: boring, cheap, lying, uninteresting, serious The most interesting adjectives for Mobile phones were: fun, great, important, nice, don’t have a phone, connecting, expensive, useful The most popularly used adjectives for Video games were: cool, wicked, destroying eyes, addictive, amazing, wonderful, dangerous, great, interesting, stimulating The most commonly used adjectives to describe Books: important for school, cool, funny, interesting, boring, serious, stupid, uninteresting, for nerds The list of adjectives sums up students attitudes towards certain media and it reflects their interests and hobbies. Conclusions The results of both teacher and student expectation interviews have been collected in order to reveal certain norms and standards which one can encounter in Poland. As the analysis of the teachers interviews shows all of the teachers are familiar with new technologies and they try to implement them into their teaching to make it more interesting and fun. Students find lessons were media are involved more interactive and the material more memorable and easier to understand. Polish teachers have to struggle with some obstacles though. They mainly centre around the lack or deficit of proper equipment to be used in the classroom to make it a more attractive place to learn and teach. As far as the students results show they are very much aware of the role and functions of media. The are competent computer and mobile phone users, game addicts, TV and music lovers and books tolerant. They can be very critical both towards traditional and new media. Unfortunately not so many students are interested in deepening their knowledge from books, they would rather opt for easier and more attractive solutions one of them being the Internet. To sum up the research shows there is a huge potential on the Polish educational market to implement novelties facilitating reading and active learning. References: 1. http://www.men.gov.pl 2. http://www.men.gov.pl/content/view/12459/22/