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REFERENCES: Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. (1991, May). Integrated Media: Toward a theoretical framework for utilizing their potential. In Wilson, J., & McBride, K. Proceedings of the Multimedia Technology Seminar (pp. 3-27). Reston, VA: Center for Special Education Technology, Council for Exceptional Children. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 338 008)

Sharp, D.L.M., Bransford, J. D. , Vye, N. J., Goldman, S. R., Kinzer, C., & Soraci, Jr., S. Literacy in an Age of Integrated Media. In M. J. Dreher & W. H. Slater (eds.). Elementary School Literacy: Critical Issues (pp. 183-210). Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.

Description of Research:

CONTEXT: The Young Sherlock Project, one of the ongoing research projects at the Learning Technology Center at Vanderbilt University, is exploring methods of using videodisc technology to create effective learning environments for students. A major goal of the research is to develop teaching methods which increase the student's ability to solve problems and learn independently. The project is based on the assumption that students can effectively use narratives on video, which they call "macrocontexts," as focal or anchoring contexts and as springboards for inquiry in other media and other content areas of the curriculum. The video contexts are referred to as macrocontexts because they are intended to be used to stimulate learning over several months and to integrate learning across what are usually separate content areas. The Young Sherlock Project uses video-based stories as focal contexts for 1) teaching general literacy skills involved in writing and reading, and for 2) background knowledge, including vocabulary, elements of story grammars and historical information. (Sharp et al., 1992) This project was anchored initially on the videodisc movie, The Young Sherlock Holmes, with the Victorian era providing the macrocontext. This particular multimedia literacy project was designed as an alternative curricula to help middle school students acquire important literacy skills and to learn relevant curricular content in the areas of language arts and social studies.

Research Outcomes/Reflections:

The project is ongoing. Research findings thus far indicate that there are advantages to beginning with a video environment and to have an extended focus on a subject within a real-world context. Video-based macrocontexts have been shown to be an effective instructional tool in social studies, science, language arts, and mathematics. Findings indicate that:

Diana L. M. Sharp, Susan R. Goldman, John D. Bransford, Ted S. Hasselbring, Prisca Moore, Sean Brophy, Nancy J, Vye, and the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt. Address correspondence to: Diana L. M. Sharp, Box 45 Peabody, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37203.

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This material was developed by the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts.  NCIP was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs from October 1, 1992 - September 30, 1998, Grant #H180N20013.  Permission is granted to copy and disseminate this information.  If you do so, please cite NCIP.   Contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by NCIP, EDC, or the U.S. Government.  This site was last updated in September 1998. 

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