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  1. Caitlin Martin
  2. Senior Researcher
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. April Ball
  2. Undergraduate research assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. Brigid Barron
  2. Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. Susie Garcia
  2. Undergraduate research assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. Rose K. Pozos
  2. PhD candidate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. Judy Nguyen
  2. Ph.D. Candidate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University
  1. Flora Troy
  2. Undergraduate Research Assistant
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Stanford University

Using remote diary methods to understand how families navigate COVID-19-drive...

NSF Awards: 2028082

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

Pandemic-driven school closures led to an unprecedented need for collaboration between teachers and families. The speed of transitioning to remote instruction varied enormously, as did the quality, quantity, and form of home-school connections raising significant concerns about equity in access to learning opportunities. Understanding the which strategies worked, for whom, and how families adapted is critical to designing better solutions for the future. Our questions included: (1) What were families experiencing at home? (2) How were parents and other caregivers helping to sustain and extend their child’s learning? How did these experiences vary for families living on higher/lower incomes?

Starting in May, 2020 during the first wave of school closings, we collected daily documentation from 109 families across the US with children aged 5-10 using a smartphone-based remote qualitative research platform. Parents and caregivers were asked to share what was happening and how it was going in various ways, including multiple-choice survey items, open-ended text responses, image uploads, and video prompts. Entries included a week of sharing a daily learning moment.

In this NSF STEM for all showcase, we share some of what we have learned, foregrounding the unique voices of parents and caregivers reflecting on this unprecedented moment in time. While there was variability in school supports and home situations, parents across the sample shared creative approaches and new insights.

Resource:

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (26 posts)
  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 10:36 a.m.

    Thanks for giving me a new way to think about gathering data using dscout!  That is one of the questions we have posed on our video.  It gives me something to check into as we go forward with our project.  It made me curious, also, if you heard much about families engaging with non formal learning programs, such as 4-H, scouts, Y or others in which they did STEM learning experiences during the pandemic?  

    I invite you to view our video if you have interest in seeing some of our 4-H work in informal STEM learning. Thanks!

     
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    Lauren Pagano
    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 11:01 a.m.

    Hi, Anne! Thanks for your comment and I will definitely be heading over to your video shortly. Great question. We did ask specifically about if families were utilizing out-of-school organizations/programs for learning (not just STEM, but any learning) at the time, and very few indicated that they were doing that. This research was conducted between May-to-mid-June 2020, which was quite early in the US response to the pandemic and many of those organizations may have been on pause as they figured out how to shift to remote opportunities for their summer programming. 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Ateng' Ogwel

    Ateng' Ogwel

    Researcher
    May 18, 2021 | 02:32 p.m.

    Caitlin,

    This is an eye-opening project, and illuminates how parental engagement and  empowerment like we anticipate in the reforms under Competency-based Curriculum in Kenya could be operationalised.

    Use of remote diaries and involvement if care-givers was strategic and appropriate during the pandemic, where inadequate support to learners by parents /guardians minimized prospects of children learning effectively during the extended school closures due to COVID-19 pandemic

  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 10:50 a.m.

    We are so excited to share this work as part of the 2021 STEM for All Showcase! Using remote qualitative methods, we asked parents and other caregivers to use their mobile phone to document what learning looked like at home during the first wave of the pandemic. What we learned from 109 families across the country included creative ways in which families were adapting and supporting STEM learning moments. Listen in on a few of their accounts and please ask us questions and let us know what you think! Anyone else experimenting with qualitative remote methods during this unique time? Do the patterns resonate with others investigating family learning at home? Does this inspire new ideas for designing school assignments that can be adapted and expanded at home in creative ways? 

     
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    Sabrina De Los Santos
    Remy Dou
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Dionne Champion

    Dionne Champion

    Facilitator
    Research Assistant Professor
    May 11, 2021 | 03:40 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your project. It is great to see this kind of qualitative remote data collection tool in action. It's also great that you were able to survey just a diverse sample of participants. I am wondering if you saw any significant differences in the quality or quantity of participation based on things like income level or race/ethnicity. Did all participants seems equally engaged with this method of data collection?

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 04:17 p.m.

    I appreciate this question. The research tool we used had an existing pool of thousands of people across the US who are roughly representative of the US cell-phone owning population. From that pool we purposefully invited a range of families and there were not noticeable differences related engagement/quality associated with any participant dimensions such as race or home income level. That said, everyone in the study had a mobile phone and was adept at capturing multimodal data with their device. 

    We held a workshop with others doing remote research with families during this time and discussed these important issues about who is recruited and represented in research efforts that require a technology component and how we might design better tools/strategies (here's a report is co-authored with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center about the workshop).

     
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    Remy Dou
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Toby Baker

    Toby Baker

    Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 04:02 p.m.

    I am a researcher and copresenter, but I also teach special education on zoom during the pandemic. Without the active parents and grandparents, and brothers and sisters who assist during o line learning, the students might not have been so successful.  Family support is crucial to continuous learning, particularly during this past year since most of my students have not received their true accommodations. This is beneficial to have families involved and they see how hard teachers work for their kids. 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 11, 2021 | 04:29 p.m.

    Yes, we heard about so many interesting and adaptive ways in which teachers, students, parents, siblings, and other family and community members were supporting learning together. And this emphasizes importance of establishing strong connections and communication practices across home and school (and other opportunity spaces like community-based organizations) that can foster those supports.

     
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    Roy Pea
    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Marcia Linn

    Marcia Linn

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 05:36 p.m.

    Hi Caitlin! It's great to learn about the exciting work you are doing. We share your interest in making science more accessible and understandable. We would love to explore our mutual interest in bridging home and school. This could advance our interest in helping families interpret scientific data. Enjoy, Marcia

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 03:06 p.m.

    Thanks, Marcia! I love the idea of sharing insights and design ideas around some of these questions that go across projects. 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Sabrina De Los Santos

    Sabrina De Los Santos

    Facilitator
    Research and Development Associate
    May 12, 2021 | 01:01 a.m.

    I appreciate your work and your inclusion of caregivers as learning partners. For some of our projects, we have been collecting data from families and paraeducators using WhatsApp on their mobile phones. Once families engage with our project materials, we ask them to provide feedback sending us images of activities they have done with their children. Families also complete SurveyMonkey surveys which include videos and emoticons, and send us audio and/or text messages describing their interactions with the activities. We have found that using multiple modalities has benefitted many of our families with busy schedules and with different levels of literacy. 

    In what ways do you plan to use the data you have collected? Do you anticipate these caregivers will be more involved in their children's STEM education at home moving forward?

     
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    Remy Dou
    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Rose K. Pozos

    Rose K. Pozos

    Co-Presenter
    PhD candidate
    May 12, 2021 | 12:43 p.m.

    Very cool! I am always excited to hear about data collection through everyday apps. Do you have a video or paper on your project? The opportunity for multimodal data collection was one of the things that attracted us to using dscout, exactly because of the benefits you mentioned from your work. We were also intentional about designing our video prompts and survey questions to be generative but not take up too much of the caregivers’ time and energy during what was already an exhausting time for all. One of the other fun things we discovered were that some of the families really got into sharing learning moments and sent us more than the 6 we asked for! 


    In terms of data analysis, we have been working on a mixed-methods analysis of the data  - descriptive quantitative summaries, coding the open-ended text responses and video transcripts across participants (we have over 700 transcripts!) to capture variations on themes that we are identifying inductive and deductively. We are also developing case portraits to support theory development. This year at the International Society of the Learning Sciences conference, we will be presenting a paper on the roles caregivers played in the learning moments and a couple of posters as well, one on how families transitioned to distance learning and one on family resilience! And we certainly hope that the families experiences with STEM learning at home were positive and encourage them to learn more STEM together at home. The interactive STEM activities were highly rated for enjoyment by the families.

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2021 | 03:23 p.m.

    Thank you so much for this video! In addition to getting a little window into experiences at home, as you can see above it generates great thinking about the collection of remote data. We have been pondering whether FlipGrid could be used in this way, and seeing your work makes me more optimistic about what we might get back from families. Thank you!

     
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    Sabrina De Los Santos
    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Rose K. Pozos

    Rose K. Pozos

    Co-Presenter
    PhD candidate
    May 12, 2021 | 04:50 p.m.

    Yes, FlipGrid would be an interesting tool to try out for remote data collection! I think a key thing to consider for any remote data collection, in addition to the prompts, is how familiar the participants already are with the platform you're using and what support they might need to get you the data you want to collect. Would love to hear how it goes if you try this out with families! 

     
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    Sabrina De Los Santos
    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Remy Dou

    Remy Dou

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 12, 2021 | 11:30 p.m.

    Comments: Thank you for sharing this interesting work! As a researcher exploring STEM learning in home settings, I find myself reflecting on how these findings resonate and/or compliment the findings from studies I've participated in. I look forward to reading more of your work in the near future.

    Questions: I'm curious about the gender distribution regarding parental participation. While my own work does not draw from a national sample of families, we often hear participants describing their maternal caregivers as the primary individuals who support their school work. Given that 70% of the STEM activities your respondents reported were related to schoolwork, have you seen similar or related patterns? If not, were there particular strategies used during recruitment that you believe supported more balanced participation related to caregivers' gender identities?

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Rose K. Pozos

    Rose K. Pozos

    Co-Presenter
    PhD candidate
    May 13, 2021 | 01:32 a.m.

    That's a great question about gender, Remy! 67% of our participants were women, so our sample was not fully gender balanced but was more so than we might have gotten with other recruitment strategies or pre-pandemic. To recruit participants, we sent out a screener application to dscout's participant panel and got over 1,000 responses from people interested in doing the study. We then divided the applicants into three groups by income and selected a random sample of 37 from each group (not all completed the study) since we were most concerned with getting a socioeconomically diverse sample. Had we been looking at gender specifically we might have chosen a slightly different sampling strategy. 

    In the data we're seeing how caregivers were becoming more involved in supporting school work and getting a new view into school through observing class video calls and helping with distance learning in general, especially for those with younger children. We haven't done an analysis specifically by gender yet as we didn't notice any big differences in what the male and female caregivers were reporting that would have caught our attention. It would be an interesting aspect of the data to look at though! 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Remy Dou

    Remy Dou

    Facilitator
    Assistant Professor
    May 16, 2021 | 05:38 p.m.

    Rose, thank you so much for your thorough response. Again, I'm really eager to read more about it as you start publishing more of your findings!

  • Icon for: Rose K. Pozos

    Rose K. Pozos

    Co-Presenter
    PhD candidate
    May 18, 2021 | 02:31 a.m.

    Thanks, Remy! We'll be sharing more at the International Society of the Learning Sciences conference in June. We have a long paper on caregiver roles and two posters that will be published in the proceedings shortly! 

  • May 13, 2021 | 10:43 a.m.

    This is a wonderful project and encouraging to see how parents and other caregivers are getting involved to extend school. I'm curious if any of your data speaks to how this might continue post pandemic as students return to more regular in-person education. 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: April Ball

    April Ball

    Co-Presenter
    Undergraduate research assistant
    May 13, 2021 | 03:43 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your comment Joanna! Our preliminary findings suggest several directions for use-inspired design and research to help meet the needs of children, caregivers, and the educators who serve them in an in-person environment. In particular, these findings reflect the potential for new forms of parent/teacher collaboration. From an equity perspective, they point to the importance of more deeply understanding the role of digital connections with teachers as a resource. Although unintentional, some teachers are implicitly providing caregivers with opportunities to learn about their child as a learner and about their classroom experiences. This insight might be leveraged in future designs that aim to strengthen the distributed teacher-family learning team. And it is clear that teachers have much to learn from the educators at home. Caregiver observations documented in the diary entries showed that they were attending to their child’s feelings, their interests, and their understanding of content, providing crucial formative assessment data that most teachers are currently lacking and missing terribly (Darling-Hammond et al., 2020; Reich et al., 2020).


    Hope this answers your question! 

     
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    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Pendred Noyce

    Pendred Noyce

    Founder and Executive Director
    May 13, 2021 | 09:14 p.m.

    It's great to see how you are capturing parents' interactions with their children around STEM activities. I will be interested in learning about how the kinds and numbers of interactions correlate with family income. I love the idea of the "distribute teacher-family learning team" and the teachers learning from how the families interact with learners. We are currently trying to figure out  a good way to include parent involvement in our informal science project on Covid-inspired data science, so I'll definitely want to take a look at dscout and some of the other tools mentioned here.

     
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    Remy Dou
    Sabrina De Los Santos
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 02:56 p.m.

    Hi, Pendred! Great question, and one that we share. One thing that is clear, is that there are innovative adaptations and rich family discussions happening for families with different home incomes, levels of parental education, and living in different parts of the country. Although we are still refining our codebook and analyzing the reflective data from parent video documentation, we have looked at some of the quantitative survey items by home income.

    Supports from school. Encouragingly, the majority of families reported access to remote school content delivery, with 84% accessing synchronous video classes. Also, 80% of families had individualized communication with teachers through email or apps. However, there were differences related to household income, with fewer families with lower income levels reporting access to synchronous classes, teacher-created videos, and individualized communication.

    Unexpected benefits. Despite challenges, parents also reported a number of benefits related to learning that resulted from doing school at home, and this did not differ by home income groups. Over three quarters of caregivers reported that they were more aware of what and how their child is learning. Many talked about connecting these insights to new ideas for the future about how to better support their child

  • Icon for: Tsivia Cohen

    Tsivia Cohen

    Informal Educator
    May 14, 2021 | 06:44 p.m.

    What a wonderful project.  Asking caregivers to reflect on activities that they've engaged in with their children is such a rich way to make learning visible as well as to deepen caregivers' scaffolding skills.  In research we've been doing at Chicago Children's Museum, we have been looking at how adults and children co-create narratives about their shared experiences.  Our museum has an exhibit to encourage and record these retellings--allowing families to save and share them as a short movie.  Families can also decide if our research partners can analyze their narratives to help us better understand museum learning and memory making.  So nice to hear about your complementary work.

     
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    Caitlin Martin
    Remy Dou
  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 02:59 p.m.

    Thanks for looking at our video, Tsivia! Yes, I was really excited about your work at the Chicago Children's Museum. A lot of overlap in findings about generative activities, and a shared appreciation for inviting parents to participate as documenters and decision makers as part of the research process. I look forward to learning more.

  • Icon for: Abigail Helsinger

    Abigail Helsinger

    Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 12:44 p.m.

    I loved hearing the direct quotes from your participants. It was so encouraging to hear about parent involvement while children were learning from home. My children, 9 (3rd grade) and 11 (5th grade) worked totally independently during the school day, but there were opportunities to complete STEM-related activities as a family after school. I think my children thrived during remote learning. They really honed some skills around technology use, working independently, and being responsible. However, I realize many, many children really struggled. Thanks for your work; I look forward to hearing more on this topic.

  • Icon for: Caitlin Martin

    Caitlin Martin

    Lead Presenter
    Senior Researcher
    May 17, 2021 | 03:05 p.m.

    Thanks, Abigail! There was definitely a lot of variability in terms of what was coming home from school.That is great to hear how your own children were engaged with interesting STEM activities. We are starting to look at some of those innovative activities that schools, teachers, and parents came up with during the COVID months that young people were particularly excited about. Lots to build on and potentially new ways to consider families in school assignments.

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