Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mandy’s World and Beyond: A Pilot Study

Mandy’s World and Beyond
A Pilot Study

A cooperative project of:

Biology Department of Xavier University
SEA for Mindanao
Department of Education, Division of Camiguin
ENIGMATA, Camiguin Island

Xavier University
May 2006


The Philippine Islands is considered as a seat of biodiversity but is unfortunately also one of the countries topping the biodiversity hot spot list. Various international organizations with local counterparts are engaged in research and conservation activities to serve scientific and/or industrial ends either to collect database or take conservation steps. There are past and current studies and inventories conducted by the scientific community resulting in the collection of invaluable scientific data directly and immediately benefiting academic ends.
Meanwhile, the public is mostly unaware of efforts like these and even of the existence of the great variety of species in their locality. In homes and schools, children are introduced to species that may not even be present in their area. Worse, many of our children are first taught identities of organisms that, except for zoos, are not even present in the country! Many children therefore know more about lions, tigers, great white sharks, etc. than about organisms that may just be within the confines of their “home ranges”. This lack of knowledge of the country’s biological wealth and condition is probably the main reason of the public’s apathy regarding the current status and problems of our environment.
Mandie’s World and Beyond©, which was developed by SEA for Mindanao and SS1 Productions in 2003, is a short documentary series that show footage of marine faunal species in their native habitats and is intended for nationwide popular information and education campaign through film showing in classrooms. Each species is presented in two-minute video clips presented in a popularized style by an animated mascot, a mandarin fish. A music theme was also created for the series, which was originally intended for prime time nationwide telecast featuring one marine species daily.

The series is an output of an experimental video inventory in the waters off Balingoan, Misamis Oriental and Mantigue Island in Camiguin that was mainly funded by an FPE Action Grant and SS1 Audio-Video Recording Studio. The video inventory conducted in northeastern Mindanao captured twelve interesting species to include the mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) and pygmy seahorse (Hippocampus bargibanti). Additional footage of a frogfish (Antennarius maculatus) was added from SS1 stock footage previously shot in the same area.
A short test exposure was done in Camiguin and the response was deemed very promising. The project to pilot the series in schools was then conceptualized to determine its impact on audiences in the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels, to provide empirical data as to the effect of the developed educational materials on public and private schoolchildren and to assess how the series could still be improved for adaptation in schools.
The development of Mandie’s World and Beyond© is part of a much bigger and long-range plan to document the marine organisms along the Sea of Mindanao in the midst of nautical traffic and pollution due to development and industrialization in the area. A digital archive of the scientific database, which shall be made available to academic institutions and other educational/ promotional multimedia productions and publications, shall be deposited and maintained at Xavier University. The overall goal is to popularize scientific data by bringing the marine environment to the public at large and out of the academic institutions and scientific archives while at the same time providing a broader and deeper look at the species. It proposes not only to advance public awareness but also to provide two versions of data on audio and video, one for scientific and another for popular viewing. A third version shall be tailored in the form of a documentary to suit the localized needs of a community based NGO Information Education Campaign and conservation activities in support to the environmental conservation interventions e.g. solid waste management, zero-fertilizer agricultural systems, water treatment ordinances, etc, and provision for alternative livelihood.


The primary goal of this pilot study is to determine the acceptability and the effect of the developed educational series, Mandie’s World and Beyond©. The secondary goals are to:
1.) show at least four of the series to selected schoolchildren from grades 3 to fourth year high school; and Ecotourism and Education college students;
2.) document the feedback of the students through the use of an instrument;
3.) document the feedback of the teachers; and
4.) determine the areas for improvement.

A. Development of the Evaluation Instrument
Criteria utilized by the DevCom classes of the XU College of Agriculture for judging videos was loosely used as springboard for the construction of the items included in a Likert Scale type of evaluation instrument that was used to gauge students’ and teachers’ reactions to 4-5 video clips. The evaluation, which is written in English, was reviewed by colleagues and was finalized after a consensus was reached. The instrument includes open-ended questions for comments and suggestions for improvement. A copy of the instrument appears in Appendix 1.

B. The Respondents
With the permission and help of the Department of Education Division of Camiguin and school officials, four or five Mandie’s World and Beyond© film clips of 2 minutes each were shown to selected school children in private and public schools from Grades 3-6, first and second year HS classes and a tertiary Ecotourism class in January 2006 in the Division of Camiguin. The same was done to Xavier University BS Education and Grades 1-6 and first and second year HS Abba’s Orchard students in February 2006. Teachers of the selected elementary and high school classes were also requested to accomplish the evaluation instrument. Selection of schools was done to make sure that both public and private schools were represented per grade level, and urban and relatively rural areas were included. A few respondents of various educational attainments were also recruited while the survey teams had a breather in the Marine Sanctuary area of Cantaan, Camiguin. Table 1 shows the of list schools that were included in this study. A total of 903 respondents participated.

C. Conduct of the Survey Proper
After the brief introductions the purpose of the video showing to the students and teachers was explained. Assurances about confidentiality and that all their answers are correct were made to put the respondents at ease. Introductions and instructions were done using a mix of English and the vernacular whenever necessary. The video clips were shown one after the other in the school’s viewing room. The evaluation questionnaire was then administered to the school children and the teachers. For the elementary level, the survey administrator guided the students by reading each item in the questionnaire and translating it into the vernacular, making sure that the item is understood. The students were made to answer each item at the same time. Graders were told not to answer any item if they did not understand it.
Towards the end, Mr. Johnny Cabreira of SEA Mindanao and his daughter, the voice behind the mascot (the narrator) then gave brief talks and Reine Cabreira, the narrator in the series, gave brief messages to the students.

B. Data Treatment and Analysis
Answers of respondents were encoded and analyzed using a PC. Responses to the quantitative ratings were collapsed into only two categories (agree and disagree) for simplification and so that the cells will have a better frequency distribution for statistical analyses. Responses of “undecided” were not included in the analysis.

A. Quantitative Responses
In general, most of the ratings were favorable (positive), with most items getting percent frequencies of favorable responses above 90%. The values ranged from 59% to 98%. The highest % frequencies of favorable ratings were observed in visual composition (98%) and story (97%). The lowest were in sound (59%), speed (65%) and language used (69%) Overall, an average of 88% rated the video positively. The figure below summarizes the frequencies obtained per item.

Item 1. The stories are well written.
Almost 95% of the total respondents and 100% of the HS teachers agreed to this statement. The responses did not significantly vary according to type of respondent.

Item 2. I like the way the story is told.
More than 95% of the total respondents and 100% of the HS teachers agreed to this statement. Again, responses did not significantly vary according to type of respondent.

Item 3. The video draws my attention.
This time the grade schoolers’ ratings significantly varied from that of the older respondents. Only 88.4% answered positively to this item, compared to almost 100% for the rest.

Item 4. The videos have good visual composition.
Respondents also generally responded positively to this statement. Graders were told not to answer the item if they did not understand it.

Item 5. The videos are too fast.
The spread of answers is interesting. Significantly more high school students (50%) think that the video is too fast compared with only 38% of the grade school students. The same trend is true among their teachers.

Item 6. The videos are well edited.
Majority of the respondents answered this item positively (88%). Among the students, there seems to be a greater appreciation of the amount of editing put into the production with increased educational attainment. The number who agreed to this item increased with increased educational level. Among the teachers, the HS teachers also have a greater positive count than the GS teachers.

Item 7. The videos’ length or duration is just right.
86% of the respondents considered the length or duration of the video just right. All the respondent types basically gave the same response pattern.

Item 8. The sound in the video is hardly audible.
This item elicited different responses among the various types of respondents, perhaps due to some misunderstanding of “hardly audible”. Furthermore, there really was no background sound and the speakers were set at different volumes in the different schools. Still, 58.5% considered the sound to be audible, with greater numbers among the teachers and GS students. Furthermore, some of the respondents commented on the loudness of the narrator’s voice (See section on what respondents did not like about the videos below).

Item 9. The speaker’s voice is clear.
Most of the respondents a found the speaker’s voice clear (90%). However, a significantly greater number of Grade school students (18%) answered this item in the negative.

Item 10. The speaker’s voice is loud enough.
88% of respondents found the voice loud enough. Again however, a significantly greater percentage of grade school students did not agree to this item.

Item 11. The videos are interesting.
The higher the educational level, the higher the rating given. Only 92% of GS found the videos interesting compared to 96% of HS students and 100% the rest.

Item 12. The images in the videos are blurred.
Differences in perception can be gleaned from the differences in the answers. A significantly greater proportion of teachers responded to this item positively compared to students. Overall, however, most of the responded did not agree with this statement.

Item 13. Colors in the movie are vivid.
A significantly greater proportion of college students did not find the video colors vivid, while all of the teachers thought otherwise. On the whole, 85% of the respondents were in favor.

Item 14. The animation (the fish) used is great.
The animation also got the nod of 92% of the respondents.

Item 15. It is difficult to understand the language used.
Surprisingly, a much greater proportion of HS students (46%) found the language used difficult to understand compared to the GS students (26%). Predictably, the college students and teachers were of different opinion. 31% of total respondents found the language used difficult.

Item 16. I understood what the stories were all about.
Despite the language difficulty claimed by a great proportion of respondents, a very high 92% understood the stories. The proportion that understood increased with increased educational level.

Item 17. The lessons presented were clear.
Clarity of the lessons presented also increased with grade level. 94% agreed with this statement.

Item 18. I did not get what the videos were about.
About 80% of the GS and HS students claim they did not get what the videos were about compared to less than 5% of the college students and teachers.

Item 19. I cannot remember the lessons presented.
Retention of the lessons presented in the videos increased with educational level. More than 20% of the GS and HS students declared inability to remember.

Item 20. I agree with the lessons presented in the videos.
Only 7.4% of the GS students did not agree with lessons presented. The proportion decreased with educational level.

Item 21. The videos are very entertaining.
Entertainment value also increased with educational level. About 10% of GS students disagreed with this statement, compared to the 6.5% total overall.
Item 22. I like the videos.
A whooping 96% liked the videos. “Likeability” of the videos increased with educational level.

Item 23. Watching the videos is a waste of time.
Only less than 10% agreed with this statement overall. About 11% of GS and HS students agreed.

Item 24. The videos are boring.
On the whole, only about 11% agreed with this statement. 86-99% did not agree.
Item 25. I would like to watch more of the videos.
Although in the previous item 11% found the videos boring, 96% % claim they like to watch more of the videos.

Item 26. More people should watch the videos.
Most of the respondents (91-100%) believe that more people should watch the videos. The college students and teachers all agreed with this statement.

B. What respondents like most about the videos
A variety of answers were elicited from the open-ended question asking respondents what they liked most about the videos. Many respondents gave more than one answers. A little more than half (50.5%) declared they liked the videos because they featured organisms that they loved or are interested in watching. 17% said they liked the length or duration of the video; 16% the color rendition; 11% because of the lessons learned or their educational value; 7% said the videos were fun to watch or entertaining. A small proportion said they liked the story, the animation and the fact that local species were featured, and about 2% answered they liked everything.

C. What respondents don’t like most about the video
More than half (56%) of the respondents either declared that they liked everything about the videos or did not find anything about the video that they did not like. Aspects that fell within the not liked category include the difficulty of understanding the language used (5%); that the videos are too short (5%) or too fast (3.1%); the lack of graphics and poor animation (4.5%); that the narrator spoke too fast (4%) or was too loud or shrill (3.4%). A few of the respondents (1.9%) commented on the poor visibility or “lack of clearness” in some scenes.

D. Suggestions for Improvement

Generally, the video series in its original form is already highly acceptable. It was rated highly, with 90% of respondents giving favorable answers to most of the criteria used in the evaluation. The great bulk (96%) of the respondents wanted to watch more and think that more people should watch the videos. An average of 88% ratings in favor of the video was computed for all the items. About half of the respondents wrote that they could not find anything not to like about the videos and therefore have no suggestions for improvement. These ratings indicate the high overall effectivity of the videos.
The areas that needed improvement and the recommendations for improvement are summarized below.
Significant points raised and recommendations for improvement
1. Video is too fast, too short.
The duration of the video can be lengthened. Narrator can then slow down so that she her voice can be paced and controlled more effectively. More footage can be added to highlight points mentioned in the story. Other “add-ons” to emphasize points can be used.

2. Clarity of voice. Language is difficult to understand.
Translations or definitions of technical terms can be added, and probably also subtitles. Hopefully, once the level of understanding is increased, so would interest.

3. Animation /Graphics
End of video messages made by Mandie can be varied to include other pro-conservation concerns or issues. The animation itself can also be varied to sustain the interest of the viewers.

4. Memory Retention
More graphics and captions can be included in the videos to emphasize points raised. To improve retention, a summary of the lessons that need to be learned can also be shown at the beginning and the end of each segment (To make use of the primary-recency effect).

Our thanks to
• Xavier University, for funding the research;
• The respondents, their teachers and the school principals for giving the survey team their cooperation and very warm hospitality.


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