We're in this together! What children can learn about collaboration and equity from educational media

Sandra Crespo and Shalom Fisch


This paper presentation examines the potential of educational media to teach children about collaborative learning that can inform both designers and educators that work with children in formal and informal educational contexts. We focus on Cyberchase (http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/videos/), a public television NSF-funded and Emmy-Award winning animated series for children ages 9-12, because it is specifically designed to provide young viewers with a positive representation of diverse youngsters (Inez, Jackie, and Matt) creatively and collaboratively doing and succeeding with mathematics. In this paper we first discuss the lessons about collaborative mathematics learning that the show makes available for children to learn. We connect this analysis to observations we made about the ways in which students who participated in our larger project were noticing and taking up from the Cyberchase kids' approaches to collaboratively working together in mathematics. We then close with lessons and implications for educators and media designers.