New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Children's Perceptions on Cancer: Digital Storytelling as Means of Education

Hernani Oliveira, University of Porto (Portugal)

Gonçalo Marques Barbosa, University of Porto (Portugal)

Helena Lima, University of Porto (Portugal)


Approximately 7 million people die from cancer each year (World Health Organization, 2014). Schools have unique characteristics and ability to construct behavioral directions at crucial ages. According to WHO, cancer prevention efforts should begin at an early age and be maintained throughout school different levels (WHO, 1995). The model of Health-Promoting School has received increasing recognition in Portugal and Oncology Prevention has been a recurring theme in several actions that involve the interaction between several actors that go beyond the school community. This study was developed in order to implement two complementary actions, aimed at students from four different schools: 1. Evaluation of the perception of cancer from a questionnaire with closed-ended questions; 2. Conceptualization and evaluation of an awareness raising action, using programmatic contents of the school curriculum and adapting it to innovative multimedia resources. From the first point, we achieved the profiling of 625 students between the ages of 9 and 13. The results show that the overwhelming majority of children (98.2%) have heard about cancer, but in one of the schools the percentage of students who consider cancer a contagious disease reaches 12.6%. Risk factors for the development of this type of disease are correctly identified by most of the students (72.9%). Still, nearly 40% of them have the perception that cancer can be originated from a flu. The need to provide schools with a more effective response to emotional management in cancer cases led to the development of an intervention with innovative multimedia resources, to reinforce positive behaviors and more assertive knowledge. The action of raising awareness is based on an animated video narrated by a teenage cancer survivor, which tells the story of a boy who helps his brother go back to school, demystifying the illness with his classmates. Of the 625 students participating in this experiment, more than 96% were able to correctly identify risk factors associated with cancer, treatments and positive strategies for living with patients. Of the 21 teachers involved, 18 considered highly relevant the adequacy of new multimedia resources and digital storytelling for the dissemination of health education contents.

Keywords: Cancer; Education; Multimedia; Storytelling;

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