Pop culture and communicating Antarctica : an experiment in educational engagement (2019)
Research suggests that modern science appears to be failing in its mission to inform and educate the public. More facts and communication alone are not the answer. There is a need for more engagement and the use of innovative pedagogies to grab the public’s attention while also informing and entertaining. Comic books and superheroes have been used successfully to engage both adults and children. As an experimental pedagogy I have devised a new superhero character ‘Captain Antarctica’ whose aim is to spread factual information about Antarctica and Antarctic science in an entertaining and engaging manner. To this end I produced five videos dealing with aspects of Antarctica. Three of these videos were placed on social media (Facebook and Youtube) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) in the form of Likes, Shares, Engagement and Comments were compared with another video that dealt with aspects of Antarctica but did not contain the ‘Captain Antarctica’ character. The two remaining videos will be shown at a later date. Results tended to indicate that the ‘Captain Antarctica ‘videos were more engaging than the comparison video. Results were graphed and limitations of the methodology discussed. Initial results are promising for the future use of this pedagogical approach.
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