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International Research Collaboration to Advance Understanding of the Role of Embodied Interaction in Young Children’s Learning about Science in Informal Settings
A design-based research methodology will be applied to address three key questions:
1) What elements of sensory and action experiences are key to informing design exhibits that aim to exploit embodied interactions for learning;
2) What is the role of bodily enactment /gestures in assessing children’s understanding of science concepts/ cause and effect relationships;
3) What cross-cultural differences in kinds of embodied engagement emerge. Video and audio data of approximately 400 children’s exhibit interactions will be collected. Pre/post semi-structured interviews will be conducted with a third of these participants. The interviews will focus on children’s understanding of relevant science concepts as well as their reflections on their physical and emotional experience engaging with the exhibit.
This project will raise awareness of embodied approaches to learning as well as build stronger collaborations between informal STEM educators and cognitive researchers. Utilization of informal and formal dissemination networks will support wide diffusion of project outcomes. This is critically important given strong evidence pointing to the impact of preschool education in underserved populations, and ongoing national efforts by the US and UK to improve the quality of preschool learning experiences.