Monday, April 4, 2011

Hollywood and Knowledge

How do you teach millennials -- the Twitter/Facebook generation, history?  Or more specifically, abstract concepts from history?

According to this study, learning styles for this young adults respond better to interactive and visual presentations.  No surprise there.  But they add: "We argue that for the “Facebook” and “Twitter” generation, Hollywood Blockbusters can serve as effective teaching tools to make abstract concepts more understandable." 

In other words, show 'em a movie.

Take, for example, the film Crimson Tide.  Good movie.  The study used it and another to argue that films such as this work better in helping students understand the nuances of the Cold War. Now, to be fair, the research asks students whether the films helped them, including specifics, but it did not include an objective test (I don't think) of how accurate students actually were about the Cold War and whether Denzel Washington actually worked on a nuclear submarine.  So in other words, this measures how much students think they learned, not what they actually learned.
For fun, a bit of the movie below:

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