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Media and scientific literacy development within the pedagogical potential of algorithm manipulation of born-digital literary text: personalized electronic fairy tale in classroom
Electronic literature is a genre of literary text characterized by its origin in digital environment. The classical fairy tales are a continuation of printed media based education. Translating classical fairy tales into e-lit opens a potential to personalize the stories using algorithmic personalization. Through personalization, the fairy tales are presented with less conflicts and trickeries, and lose the potential to develop theory of mind (ability to understand other people by attributing mental states to them). Algorithmic personalization puts the reader into ideal bubble of his world view.
Others mental states may be different from our own states and beliefs, desires, intentions, emotions, and thoughts. Possessing a functional theory of mind is considered crucial for success in everyday human social interactions. People use such a theory when analyzing, judging, and inferring others' behaviors. Classical fairy tales (and fables, like Esop), challenge our safe world view. Fairy tales and fables understanding requires children to keep in mind the mental states of all the characters in order to understand who is tricking whom and to understand the characters' intentions. The study investigates educational values of creating personalized electronic fairy tale in relation to the understanding of digital traces and algorithmic personalization of social media feeds (the way the information is delivered on the Internet: personalized, not universal, through filter bubbles) using quantitative research method within the blueprint of the descriptive survey design. 146 students (volunteers) from 5th to 8th grade from 15 elementary schools are given a simulation of social media feeds (like Facebook news feed) with examples of the user profiles behind the feed (gender, age, last Google searches, what is the user following). Some show no personalization (posts are chronologically shown, it shows ads from products they don’t like, some political views/sports/artists they don’t follow), but some show personalization (same topics, same artists/sports). Students are asked to differentiate personalized from not personalized examples. Regarding learning outcomes in Informatics Curriculum which emphasize learning algorithmic thinking (B.5.2, B.6.1, B.7.1, B.7.2, B.8.2) the personalized electronic fairy tale will be created. Students create algorithmic logic based on examples of users and need to create a plot that shows the ideal version of the fairy tale for the user. After the creation of the fairy tale the same student are given the similar simulation of social media feeds to the one tested before the creation, to test whether the recognition of personalized news feed increased or not.
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