The Role of Media in Influencing Decision-Making in P-20 Education
What is the role of media in influencing decision-Making in P-20 Education?
The media, especially television, video, and social media, are often viewed negatively in the education sector. In early childhood and K-12 models of education and in more conservative environments, children are even discouraged from exposure to media such as video and social media, which are considered bad influence over learners. In such surroundings and circumstances, it is perceived that media can only affect education in a negative way.
However, this negative perception about the influence of media on education is fast changing in many settings, institutions, and jurisdictions as more studies unearth the real nature of the correlations between media and learning or education (Jabbar et al., 2014). In recent times, it has become more apparent that media not only affect learners but also decision makers and policymakers in educational institutions.
Decision-making is core to the success of all educational concepts, models, systems and institutions. Given the fundamental influence and role of media in modern educational systems, the media, most likely, influence the people and processes in learning institutions in several ways (Galway & Sheppard, 2015). Thus, the proposed study is justifiable in several ways. First, the study may enable P-20 education stakeholders to establish whether media is a core external force that affects their decision making, thus influencing P-20 education’s relevance and competitiveness in the education sector and in economic circles.
Second, from the study’s findings and recommendations, it may be possible for P-20 education leaders and learners to appreciate the potential role of media as an incentive to decision-making and education improvement. Third, the study may be of help to P-20 education’s stakeholders by highlighting how media can be used to influence federal, state, or local educational policy to favor the pursuit of skilled, knowledgeable, and productive learners and workforce.
The P-20 is a model of education that builds on the principle that educational programs, financial and human resources, strategies, performances, expectations, and outcomes should be focused on the early years of learners’ growth and development. Unlike the early childhood and development concept, the P-20 model covers the kindergarten or early childhood years, the K-12 years, and the post-secondary school years.
The main purpose of P-20 education is to ensure that pre-school, K-12, and college years are formative years during which self-discovery ought to be emphasized. Instead of the public education system mandating everything that students learn, educators should be more concerned with preparing learners for their future life’s challenges. The years following the P-12 should be characterized by academic performances and outcomes that would imply quality adult life.
P-20 education also covers learners’ lives during their workforce years. That is, an education should prepare an individual to survive and perform in the workforce long after graduation with post-secondary education. The skills acquired during learning must translate into expertise in the workforce.
Essentially, P-20 education is based on the realization that the knowledge and skills that learners acquire in their early childhood or K-12 education should prepare them for college education and their lives in the workforce. Thus, all the stages of academic development are weighted equally and allocated the deserved financial and human resources and effort.
Numerous studies have been conducted to establish the connection among communication, communication technology, communication media, the learning process, and education. While studies have been done on the influence of media on education in general, no studies have been done to link media and decision-making in the concept of P-20 education. Most studies have just plainly established the relationship between media and education.
In one such study, Cuc (2014) sought to establish the influence of media on both formal and informal education. In the study, Cuc (2014) not only studied the influence of media on learning but also rephrased the research question and hypothesis to help the research establish how media affects the process of learning and the actual and potential relationships between media and learning. The commonest media found to greatly influence education are books, television, radio, video, and social media (Cuc, 2014).
Malin and Lubienski (2014) established that the practical dimensions by which media influences education are the development or inculcation of new interests in learners, adoption of novel leisure-time skills, availability of fresh entertainment options and expanded areas of learner preoccupation.
Malin’s and Lubienski’s (2014) findings concurred with Lubienski, Scott and DeBray (2014) who established that while media has positive influences on education, most learners pick up media messages and turn them into behaviours and cultures, which interfere with learning processes, habits, and activities. Clearly, media influences education in various ways and may possibly greatly influence decision-making in emergent concepts such as P-20 education in the technologically advanced 21st century.
Data Sources and Collection Methods
The proposed study will combine qualitative and quantitative research approaches to collect and process exhaustive data on the variables and constructs of the study. The study will specifically target P-20 stakeholders as the source of its data and information, targeting a population of 1500 and a sample size of 300. The sample size will be representative of P-20 education officials, educational programme managers, school and college administrators, teachers, local education leaders, education system’s beneficiaries and the public. Selective methods of sampling such as purposive sampling, expert sampling, snowball sampling, modal instance sampling and diversity sampling will be used in the study.
The main reason purposive sampling techniques are preferred for this study is that these techniques enable the researcher to access the targeted sample rather fast (Shields & Rangarjan, 2013). Second, purposive sampling techniques make the identification of the potential respondents with the desired characteristics. Purposive sampling also enables the use of a variety of qualitative research approaches (Mannay, 2010).
Data will be collected using questionnaires, interviews, observations and focus group discussions while data analysis will be done using Statistical Packages for Social Science (SPSS) software and Microsoft Excel. The questionnaires will contain structured and unstructured items to capture qualitative and quantitative data. However, the study’s independent and the dependent variables will be identified prior to the development of the data collection tools.
The analysis and presentation of the findings will be done using inferential and descriptive statistics. The study will use Spearman’s Rho, regression and ANOVA to establish correlation between the dependent and independent variables of the study and establish the role or influence of media on decision making in P-20 education.
Possible Impact on the Field
The proposed study is likely to impact educational policy and advocacy once the role of media in decision-making in P-20 education is established. From the findings of the proposed study, P-20 educationists may be able to design and realign their advocacy efforts champion the preferred educational policies notwithstanding the findings of earlier studies on the role of the media on education. The study may also erase any doubts on the role of media on education that may have been reported without much evidence, particularly on the effects and effectiveness of media on education.
In particular, P-20 educationists and other stakeholders may be able to associate media with educational decision making for the first time. From the proposed study’s findings, educational policy advocates may read implications of media on education that have elided research experts in their interpretation of study findings. Hence, the study may be of great help to the policymaking processes in P-20 education.
The other likely impact of the study is the elimination of the disconnect that exists between high school and college on one hand and adult life on the other. From the study’s findings, educationists may be better placed to give the most appropriate and effective classroom support and guidance to learners that would prepare learners for the challenges of adult life. The study may also help in the better use of media to make educational decisions that would create a seamless kindergarten-to-college education system.
Cuc, M. C. (2014).The Influence of Media on Formal and Informal Education.Social and Behavioral Sciences, 143(1); 72.
Galway, G., and Sheppard, B. (2015). Research and Evidence in Education Decision-Making: A Comparison of Results from Two Pan-Canadian Studies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(1); 10.
Jabbar, H., Goldie, D., Linick, M., and Lubienski, C. (2014). Using Bibliometric and Social Media Analyses to Explore the “Echo Chamber” Hypothesis. Educational Policy, 28(2), 281-305. Retrieved on November 2, 2016 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0895904813515330
Lubienski, C., Scott, J., and DeBray, E. (2014). The Politics of Research Use in Education Policymaking. Educational Policy, 28(2), 131-144. Retrieved on November 2, 2016 from http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0895904813515329
Malin, J. R., and Lubienski, C. (2014). Educational Expertise, Advocacy, and Media Influence. Retrieved on November 2, 2016 from http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/1706
Mannay, D. (2010). Making the Familiar Strange: Can Visual Research Methods Render the Familiar Setting More Perceptible? Qualitative Research, 10(1): 91.
Shields, P., and Rangarjan, N. (2013). A playbook for research methods: integrating conceptual frameworks and project management. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press.
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