Animated Educational Videos Promote Learning Among Farmers
About this episode
There are up to one billion people with low literacy globally, many of whom live in rural areas and only speak their region’s local language. In Africa alone, there are an estimated 2000 local languages. Researchers are exploring new ways to make knowledge accessible to isolated communities that only speak local languages. One approach involves the use of animated educational videos, which can be dubbed in any language and can be shared in rural communities. In a study conducted in Benin, Dr Julia Bello-Bravo of Purdue University compared the effectiveness of animated educational videos to traditional presentations. This work was performed in collaboration with Benin’s International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. Dr Bello-Bravo’s team found that, not only did participants prefer videos, they actually learned more from them too.
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Plastic pollution is accelerating the destruction of our planet. Discarded plastic can be found in the remotest areas – from the highest mountain tops to the deepest ocean trenches. As many types of plastic take hundreds of years to break down, finding better solutions to the plastic crisis is vital. In recent research, Dr Jay Mellies from Reed College in Oregon examines the ability of microbes to break down mixed-plastic waste.
Both the frequency and intensity of droughts are forecast to increase in climate change predictions. It is well established that plant communities are sensitive to drought conditions, having implications for agriculture, forestry, and wild habitats. Despite the close association between soil fungi and plants, our understanding of how fungal communities respond to drought remains incomplete. To build this understanding, Dr Ari Jumpponen and his colleagues at Kansas State University used a combination of pure culture- and DNA-based techniques to study soil fungal communities exposed to chronic drought conditions.
The idea that human beings have souls that leave their body after death is an essential part of most religions and spiritual beliefs. However, this has been very difficult to prove scientifically. Benjamin Scherlag, Ronald Scherlag, Tarun Dasari and Sunny Po at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Centre recently investigated the existence of a soul by conducting a series of scientific studies. They carried out these experiments on a dwarf form of the organism Stentor coeruleus, which is known for its regenerative abilities.
Before an infant can learn the link between a word and an object by following a pointing gesture, Professor Nancy Rader’s team has found that infants can learn this association through ‘show gestures’. Show gestures entail bringing an object towards the child and rotating it, while synchronizing the movements with speech. While the effect of show gestures decreases with age during childhood, Rader and her colleagues have found that non-verbal children on the autism spectrum are very sensitive to this information, performing as well in learning words as age-matched typically-developing children.
Increase the impact of your research
• Good science communication helps people make informed decisions and motivates them to take appropriate and affirmative action.
• Good science communication encourages everyday people to be scientifically literate so that they can analyse the integrity and legitimacy of information.
• Good science communication encourages people into STEM-related fields of study and employment.
• Good public science communication fosters a community around research that includes both members of the public, policymakers and scientists.
• In a recent survey, 75% of people suggested they would prefer to listen to an interesting story than read it.
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