Date of Award

1994

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Curriculum and Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Paul S. Brantley

Second Advisor

William H. Green

Third Advisor

Linda Vingelen

Abstract

Problem. Standardized test-score results have declined sharply and learning difficulties have risen significantly during the decades that electronic entertainment media (EEM) have become a national phenomenon. Exposure to electronic entertainment media has generated much speculation, discussion, and study. Research, however, is lacking on how sensory overload impinges upon the brain and mind of developing children with respect to learning and adapting socially. Thus, research is needed that addresses sensory overload phenomena and academic performance and social behavior.

Methodology. The population consisted of 349 third- and fourth-grade children in a demographically diverse public school district located in southwestern Michigan.

The Time Tally Checklist, a Likert-type questionnaire that was developed for third- and fourth-grade children, furnished data in six categories of activity. Frequencies, crosstabulations, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient, Spearman correlation coefficient, and the Chi-square test for Homogeneity were used to test the hypotheses. A correlational research design was used to determine the extent to which time spent exposed to EEM corresponds to academic performance, discretionary academic activities, and social/recreational activity.

Results. With reference to hypothesis 1 (To what extent does exposure to EEM correlate with formal academic performance?), 7 out of 64 pairings were significantly correlated--2 positive and 5 negative. So far as these data indicate, there appears to be little relationship between amount of EEM exposure and formal academic performance.

With reference to hypothesis 2 (To what extent does exposure to EEM correlate with discretionary activity?), only 13 out of 132 pairings, were significantly correlated; there appears to be little relationship between amount of EEM exposure and discretionary academic activity.

With reference to hypothesis 3 (To what extent does exposure to EEM correlate with recreational and social behavior?), 122 out of 270 pairings were significantly correlated; there appears to be a fair relationship between amount of EEM exposure and social behavior.

Conclusions. Exposure to EEM may be related to academic achievement of third- and fourth-grade students. However, relatively little evidence for it is found in this study. Limitations of this study considered with other studies and commentary suggest that a more definitive examination of EEM and its relationship with the developing child is warranted.

Exposure to EEM may be related to student initiated activities such as reading for personal fulfillment, homework, and noise preference. However, the evidence in this study is inconclusive across the two grade levels examined.

Exposure to EEM is related in complex ways to social behavior such as play, talk, hobbies, and discipline. When viewed with the other data in this study, the research indicates a drift away from traditional social attitudes such as talking and hobbies toward more media-oriented culture as students move through the grades.

Subject Area

Technology and children, Learning ability--Testing

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