Collaborated Projects

Advancing Early STEM Learning through Haptic Feedback Displays

An important area of STEM education involves improving math and science literacies at the pre-kindergarten (pre-K) level. Young children have the natural capacity to explore and understand STEM concepts in everyday life, and learning these early skills affects later development. Although there is a growing use of tablet computers in both formal and informal educational settings, little is known about how tablets support learning, particularly in STEM. One argument against purely digital content on a tablet computer, however, is that tactile cues and sensory experiences important for STEM learning are now lost. This project examines whether the emerging technology of haptic — or tactile feedback — touch-screen displays can improve preschoolers’ learning of science concepts. The PIs will conduct human-centered design of new haptic science learning applications, which will involve preschool STEM education experts in the creation of these novel materials and two large-scale laboratory experiments that will assess the effectiveness of haptic feedback in tablet-based learning. Results will contribute new knowledge of (1) how to design educational media leveraging surface haptic displays and (2) the conditions under which this technology effectively promotes learning and engagement among young children.
This project is conducted in collaboration with Anne Marie Piper and the Inclusive Technology Lab.

Parent Attitudes toward Text4Baby Service

Research on language development suggests that children from low-income families hear nearly 30 million words less than their higher income counterparts (Hart & Risley, 1999; Hart & Risley, 2003). We were interested in parent perceptions of two mobile interventions designed to support parents’ engagement with their young children as a way of reducing this gap and improving child outcomes. To better understand participants’ opinions of these services, we conducted a total of eight focus groups with participants from Text4Baby and Univision Contigo in two different U.S. cities in both English and Spanish. We hope that our findings shed light on the opportunities for mobile technology to reach and support all families by modelling and encouraging specific parenting behaviors.
 Text4Baby was a collaboration with Too Small To Fail and the Clinton Foundation