The AIM Buddy Project research study was conducted throughout the 2015–2016 school year. A team of researchers collected data in schools using a variety of research instruments, including student and teacher surveys, interviews, and curriculum booklets. But data collection is only the first step in carrying out a comprehensive research study. Since the end of the school year, researchers have been analyzing the collected data—and from their perspective, this is the fun part of their job!
Along with the surveys, interviews, and booklets, the AIM research captured data through audio/video recordings. They collected over 300 recordings of students’ engagement during the buddy interactive sessions and followed a two-step process in order to provide systematic feedback on how the interactive comics and games were received by students:
- They watched collected videos of student pairs interacting with the comics and games: “Francine’s Tough Day” (honesty);“Buster’s Growing Grudge” (forgiveness); “Arthur’s Giving and Keeping Game”; (generosity), and “Dear Adil” (learning from others).
- They collectively compared notes from each video to identify patterns emerging across user behavior.
While reviewing the video data, patterns began emerging, such as many of the interactive functions within the comics or games resulted in active engagement and positive reactions among student pairs. For example, in “Buster’s Growing Grudge” students reacted positively to using the grudge gremlin as a symbol representing the consequences of holding a grudge. Students showed an understanding of Buster’s forgiveness, or lack of forgiveness, as the grudge gremlin changed in size and appearance. Patterns such as this may be presented as recommendations for inclusion in the final round of the AIM program revisions.
Another example was that students reacted more strongly to the comics than to the interactive games because of the narrative or storyline that carried through the comic. It’s no surprise that students are emphasizing one of the things that has made ARTHUR a friend to millions for the past 20 years—that great storytelling is captivating and engaging, and when used in the classroom, it can be a powerful learning tool.
The full dissemination of the AIM Buddy Project is scheduled for January 2017. The final revision stage is ongoing until that time as the WGBH media team incorporates feedback and recommendations from the research team in order to strengthen the efficacy and user-experience of the AIM Buddy Project before it is used in classrooms.
Stay tuned for more about the AIM research study!