I started “18th” grade this past week, also known as the second year of my two year program at OSU. The beginning of a new academic year is a great time to reflect and I’ve been thinking about my evolution as a graduate student and on the work we have accomplished in the Cyberlab thus far. Since my first posts from last year, much of what I wrote about being patient in the process still rings true. Iteration and refinement help to direct the course. As I have made progress in my own research study, I still have to be patient as the project unfolds as some unique results may appear that I might otherwise miss. Looking forward to where I might be next September is exciting too. It is unknown at this time, but thinking about all of the potential opportunities…who knows!
I am proud to say that I have transitioned into the analysis phase of my Master’s research. I have some results from my interviews of the families that used the touch table, but more will be following as I start to review the videos. One challenge has been to develop a strategy for analyzing the video of families using the table. This is something I have not done before. There are some resources for analyzing video in non-school settings, so I am referencing that heavily. One book that has been particularly helpful is Video Research in the Learning Sciences (Goldman, Pea, Barron, and Derry, 2007). This is the most comprehensive source with theoretical and methodological guidance I have seen, especially with connections to filming observations in an informal science setting. As family behavior and interactions in a museum setting has been studied (Falk, Dierking, Ash, to name a few), we have a better idea of the types of behaviors that take place in this environment. I am interested in the degree to which they are occurring around the touch table. We know parents may read content on signage aloud, point, question, recall past events…but to what extent is this happening with technology that is not commonly seen (at least scaled to a table on a daily basis)? I’m going to approach this on a spectrum or scale of low to high levels of the presence of behaviors. Using a rubric as a way to score the interactions, something done to assess teacher facilitation in the classroom, I believe this is a way to put a “measure” on the adult and child interactions. From the results, we may have a better idea of what the quality of interaction with touch tables looks like in a science center, allowing us to point to specific areas to improve content that affords these behaviors on a deeper level.
This quarter I also started taking the free-choice learning series through the College of Education. It is perfect timing as I work through my research project. I am gaining knowledge and a better understanding of what learning is and the context to which it takes place, and how we do not learn in isolation. Our perspectives and experiences can be shaped by those around us, one reason for my interest in family learning behaviors. The first course is “Personal Dimensions of Learning” and I appreciate the new resources to read about motivations and identity as related to self-driven learning. As this is an Ecampus course, there are students from around the country doing incredible science education projects both in and outside of a formal classroom setting. I am looking forward to getting to know them better as the quarter progresses.
Next post will recount my first experience at the annual meeting of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC). I will be tweeting from Raleigh next week – follow me @East_JennyL.