Project activities have focused on the planning, preparation, and execution of two interdisciplinary meetings that involved discussions on embodied learning, informal learning practice, learning sciences research, and design experimentation. The meetings were held at the Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida (April 21-23, 2015) and the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland (June 29-31, 2015). Activities prior to these events included:
- Identification of collaboration tools, document sharing protocols and a bi-monthly meeting schedule
- Approval of an exemption from the UIUC IRB
- Selection of research papers and embodied learning resources to distribute
- Creation of web site to host resources and related readings and to pilot social media strategies
- Development of workshop networking pre-assessment tool, post-convening survey
- Production of video of preschoolers using a water table prototype to stimulate group discussion
- Design of convening activities and identification of presenters
- Logistical planning for conduct of convening in each country
The convenings were planned and facilitated by the project’s leadership team comprised of the Frost Science Museum’s PIs, UIUC Drs. Robb Lindgren and H Chad Lane, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Dr. Andrew Manches from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Because of her strong fit with the research goals, Dr. Sara Price, UCL Institute of Education, London was added to the leadership team prior to the Edinburgh convening. In addition to the core team, workshop attendees were selected to represent related research areas, practitioners, technologies, administration, and networking/dissemination. Each convening sought the following goals:
- Engage participants in a dialogue regarding their perception of the importance of the application of embodied cognition/body movement learning theory to the design of digital and physical environments in informal settings.
- Share/generate promising strategies and practices that researchers and practitioners can/are using to better understand the role of body movement and action in learning.
- Begin to establish a network of research/practice teams interested in investigating the role of full body interactive exhibits in the development of young children’s STEM concepts across different contexts/perspectives.