Exploring the influence of the mass media on primary students' conceptual understanding of genetics

Article


Donovan, Jennifer and Venville, Grady. 2012. "Exploring the influence of the mass media on primary students' conceptual understanding of genetics." Education 3-13: the professional journal for primary education. 40 (1), pp. 75-95. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2012.635058
Article Title

Exploring the influence of the mass media on primary students' conceptual understanding of genetics

ERA Journal ID20762
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsDonovan, Jennifer (Author) and Venville, Grady (Author)
Journal TitleEducation 3-13: the professional journal for primary education
Journal Citation40 (1), pp. 75-95
Number of Pages21
Year2012
Place of PublicationLondon, United Kingdom
ISSN0300-4279
1475-7575
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/03004279.2012.635058
Abstract

The new Australian Curriculum ignites debate about science content appropriate for primary school children. Abstract genetics concepts such as genes and DNA are still being avoided in primary school, yet research has shown that, by age 10, many students have heard of DNA and/or genes. Scientific concepts appear in the mass media, but primary students' exposure to the media and the potential influence it has on their understandings is a neglected area of science education research. This study explores the conceptions that Year 5–7 students in one Australian school hold about genes and DNA and compares that with their levels
of exposure to the mass media. Quantitative and qualitative data from detailed media questionnaires and in-depth interviews with 25 children were examined for any indication of a relationship between media exposure and knowledge of genes and DNA. Findings indicate television was the participating students' major source of information about genetics, but, generally, as knowledge about genetics increased, so did the incidence of misconceptions.

Keywordsprimary science; science conceptions; genetics; genes; DNA; mass media' television
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
390304. Primary education
461199. Machine learning not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Western Australia
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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