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Researchers use mobile technology to build partnerships to study home literacy

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University are working with the Shadow Project to analyze the challenges parents may face when trying to create a positive home literacy environment. Shadow Project is a non-profit organization that supports families by providing supplementary programs, services, and materials to parents, special education teachers, and children. Credit: Shadow Project

Scientists at Penn State University combine data science skills and an innovative approach to mobile technology with the ability to build community partnerships and find ways to help families in their home literacy efforts. increase.


The research team is currently partnering with the Shadow Project to analyze the challenges parents may face when trying to create a positive home literacy environment. The Shadow Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization that supports children with special needs by providing supplementary programs, services and materials to parents, special education teachers and children.

According to researchers, children who grow up in a family with a good literacy environment in which books are available and parents who encourage reading tend to develop advanced thinking skills that increase their chances of success in school. .. However, because it is difficult to collect data over a long period of time at home, researchers provide specific data on how daily fluctuations in parental and family characteristics affect the literacy environment at home. Often lacking.

Ensuring access to reading materials at home is important, but other important resources such as parental time and energy are often overlooked. Therefore, researchers need access to deeper levels of detail about their parents’ financial, emotional, and physical condition in order to better communicate their literacy programs and interventions.

Wearable electronics and apps help researchers collect information and data in these difficult-to-research environments to understand the overlooked needs of parents, which can vary widely from home to home. May serve as an ideal tool for. Brick, Associate Professor of Human Development, Family study Co-employed at the Institute of Computational Data Science, Pennsylvania State University.

“Not all parents are the same, and not all parents have the same needs,” Brick said. “There are many interventions that encourage parents to read with their children, but understanding what affects parents’ reading habits with their children may improve some of these approaches. For example, the length of time parents feel they have affects the amount of time they spend on literacy activities with their children, so it may be necessary to consider ways to support parents in time management. Hmm.”

Specifically, the parents Wear-IT appDeveloped by Brick’s Real Time Science Laboratory, it makes it easier to record their habits, emotions and reading activities throughout the day. It also helps researchers collect and analyze this important information more easily.

Wear-IT is a scientific data collection app that uses wearable devices such as smartphones, Fitbits, and Apple Watch. Kyle Husmann, a PhD student in human development and family studies working with Brick on this project, said.

This system allows researchers to collect information while people live their daily lives. Collecting data in everyday places and at normal times, which scientists call ecologically effective environments, allows researchers to collect information in real time, while at the same time being unpleasant and potentially influential to research participants. You can avoid the shortcomings of some laboratory-based research. Participation in research. For scientists, these issues can lead to results that do not reflect the actual situation.

Researchers will ask parents what factors seem to help or hinder their ability to influence their children’s reading habits, Hasman said. He added that some of these questions are better suited for parents to answer at home.

“We talk about aspects of family literacy activities, reading with children, listening to audiobooks, listening to something related to literacy, and other activities that we did with our children during the day. “I’m asking,” Hasman said. “But we also feel how we feel to our parents in terms of self-confidence in parenting, and that they are doing a good job and capable of helping their children read. And then whether the parents had enough time, and whether they were financially burdened, or whether they felt they had the basic necessities of life. I am also asking. “

Brick said the ultimate goal is to design interventions that help parents by collecting and analyzing more information in realistic conditions and methods.

“It’s very important for individuals to try to understand on a daily basis what are the causes and determinants of these activities, rather than just looking at one snapshot,” says Brick. “And the reason it’s so important is that what we’re finally trying to do is design interventions that can provide the support that individual parents really need and make positive changes in people’s lives. Because it helps bring about. “

Shadow project

The team recruited 15 parents of children with special needs from a network of about 30 K-8 public schools in the Shadow Project. The Shadow Project was an ideal collaborator for this project from its unique standpoint as a community resource supporting both parents and teachers. Sharon Juenemann, Executive Director of The Shadow Project, said the partnership with Pennsylvania State University on this study would provide important information to help support parents better.

“Parents have always been critical advocates of children’s learning needs in special education,” said Juenemann. “And last year, distance learning played the role of a teacher like many families have never experienced before. In this study, we partnered with Penn State University to see what the caregiver experience was like. I’m excited to understand what happened. The Shadow Project program remains focused on the daily experiences of children and families in our community. ”

“This particular study in the Shadows project looks at how family literacy activities relate to parental self-efficacy and freely available resources,” Hasman said. I added.

Parents can answer the researcher’s questions at their convenience. This is an important part of collecting complete, valid and reliable information.

“It’s ironic to ask parents about the time resources they have to spend reading with their children by asking them to fill out a long paper survey,” Brick said. “It’s important for us to design the study to minimize the burden on participants.”

Catherine Stephenson, a private education and research consultant and member of the Shadow Project Community Advisory Board, provides an existing measure of home literacy, parental self-esteem, and parental resources in the Wear-IT mobile app. Every day through.

“This study is particularly exciting because it captures the” good and “bad days of parents and allows them to more accurately quantify the factors associated with each. Parents have a normal flow of life, and their emotions and experiences change day by day and week by week. At one point, simply asking parents “what’s happening” or “how they’re doing” will always give them a clear idea of ​​what they’re experiencing and what they need. Not always. In contrast, following parents over time helps us gain a more complete understanding. Wear-IT helps you do this in a convenient way that doesn’t overwhelm your parents. This study can guide the design of programs and resources that support parents by making their “good days” better or more frequent, or by reducing the frequency or impact of bad days. “

Wear-IT or later

Researchers are keen to explore the possibilities of mobile technology that will one day set up interactive treatments and interventions, as well as collect data in difficult-to-monitor spaces and times. Brick, for example parents Get instant feedback on your home literacy efforts, and even get personalized feedback.

“When scientists provide interventions to many people, the average effect of that intervention is that it has a positive impact on people’s lives, but that is not necessarily because everyone comes from that particular intervention. It doesn’t mean you’re making a profit, “Brick said. “Hey, anyone with a kid knows,” Hey, some of my kids work, some of my kids don’t. ” .. Or why is this intervention not working for this particular person? “

Wear-IT is also used to study a variety of other research questions and develop new interventions on topics ranging from sleep health to addiction recovery.


Parents change their home literacy environment as their children progress in reading and learning


Quote: Researchers use mobile technology to build partnerships and obtain from https: //phys.org/news/2021-10-mobile-tech-forge-partnerships-home.html on October 26, 2021 We will investigate the efforts of home literacy (October 26, 2021).

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Researchers use mobile technology to build partnerships to study home literacy

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