Student Media Production to Meet Challenges in Climate Change Science Education

TitleStudent Media Production to Meet Challenges in Climate Change Science Education
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsRooney-Varga, JN, Brisk, AAllende, Adams, E, Shuldman, M, Rath, K
JournalJournal of Geoscience Education
Pagination598 - 608
Date Published2014/11//
ISBN Number10899995
Keywords*Original 959, 1WAC, 2RRP, CLIMATIC changes -- Study & teaching, CURRICULUM planning, Include, Include WAC, Information Technology, INTRINSIC motivation, Media literacy, Public service advertising, R1 FINAL INCLUDE, Round 2 Include RRP, Round 2 Review 2 RRP, Round1 Include, STUDENT engagement

While the need for effective climate change education is growing, this area of geoscience also poses unique educational challenges. These challenges include the politicization of climate change, the psychological and affective responses it elicits, and common misconceptions, which can all create barriers to learning. Here, we present an instructional approach and curriculum materials that combine climate change education with media literacy through student production of public service announcements (PSAs). The purpose of this work was to use student media projects as a means to elicit active, affective, social, and analytic learning of climate change science content, with the goals of increasing engagement and intrinsic motivation and fostering deeper learning about climate change through students' efforts to educate others. These projects also improve video literacy and associated 21st century communication and information technology skills. We incorporated a PSA production project as a culminating assignment in an advanced university course on climate change and developed associated curriculum materials for preproduction (research, planning, script-writing, creating storyboards, etc.), production (filming, creating visual and audio assets), and postproduction (editing, distribution) phases as part of the Climate Education in an Age of Media, or CAM, Project. Student and audience learning outcomes were assessed by a team of external evaluators. Both student producers and viewers showed gains in climate literacy. Qualitative analysis of student experiences revealed high levels of intrinsic motivation and engagement with the project, critical thinking, social learning, an interest in climate change that reached beyond the course, and a sense of empowerment and agency. While our focus was on a university-level course targeted primarily to science majors, our work with other educators has indicated that this approach has the potential to be an effective climate change education tool in a variety of instructional settings, ranging from middle school to informal high school education and graduate school.

Short TitleJournal of Geoscience Education


United States