While traditional forms of bullying have been steadily decreasing over the course of the last two decades, cyberbullying has emerged as a major concern among parents, teachers, and other professionals working with young people. Because cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, it is not yet clear what strategies educators should adopt to stem its rise. Our research seeks to provide knowledge of youth’s lived experiences of cyberbullying, the coping strategies they employ, and the key risk and protective factors associated with both bullying perpetration and victimization. Recent and ongoing studies include content analyses of comments from a 2013 viral blog post about cyberbullying in which over 2,000 people shared their personal stories of bullying and coping, and analyses of survey data from 2,079 students in grades 8-12 investigating the risk and protective factors associated with cyberbullying victimization among adolescents. Through this research, we aim to inform efforts to reduce the prevalence of and negative consequences associated with cyberbullying among adolescents.
This project investigates how to teach debugging and computing skills in personalized, social, online learning settings. The investigators will create an interactive website that presents a series of debugging puzzles to learners, allowing them learn diagnostic strategies and computing concepts in a self-paced manner and in collaboration with their peers. The website will also allow learners to create their own debugging puzzles to share with friends, family, and the world, resulting in an online community of social learning. Using this design, the project will investigate the effect of explicit instruction on debugging strategies on learners' ability to learn basic programming concepts and the effect of social learning features on learning outcomes and engagement. The project will also contribute basic discoveries on how to teach debugging and how such teaching can be integrated into instruction on other aspects of computing. Evaluations will include both controlled laboratory experiments, annual summer camps involving over 200 U.S. teens, and a worldwide deployment of the website.
This National Science Foundation Early Career Development project investigates how networked technologies can be leveraged to develop learners’ STEM identities and connect their STEM learning across informal and formal contexts. We are developing and implementing a digital badge system to recognize and reward the skills and achievements of a diverse group of high school students participating in a science-based afterschool program at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. This work aims to develop strong STEM identities among students who are currently underrepresented in STEM subject areas and encourage these students to pursue future STEM learning and career opportunities. The research findings will be used to develop educational outreach initiatives, distributed widely, to support other formal and informal learning institutions in their use of digital badges to support STEM learning.
Gamification has quickly become a buzzword in education, engendering a range of hopes and fears around introducing gaming elements (e.g. leaderboards, badges, points) into formal learning environments. In fact, there’s even a school designed entirely around games and game culture. Despite the recent flurry of activity and speculation about gamification in education, we know little about whether introducing gamified activities promotes or undermines students’ learning and motivation. This research project seeks to fill this gap in knowledge by investigating students’ experiences in a gamified informatics course taught at the University of Washington’s Information School. Our research team is exploring the extent to which gamification influences undergraduate students’ engagement in the course material and ideas, and whether it contributes to their learning and achievement. We seek to identify design opportunities for enhancing the learning experience in future iterations of the course, as well as in gamified courses more generally.
The research project investigates the roles immigrant minority youths perform as technical intermediaries between their families and resources found in their local libraries. It also explores the value of providing targeted information literacy and digital literacy training for these youths. Most public libraries across the U.S. now are serving growing communities of non-English speaking legal immigrants. Knowledge gained from this study will help better inform the design and provision of public library services to immigrant populations and will help libraries better understand the ways youths serve as key links between immigrant groups and their new home communities.
This project explores the learning that takes place in online fan communities, with a particular focus on the skills youth develop through their fan-based activities; the roles that identity, motivation, and emotion play in young people’s informal learning online; and the novice to expert trajectories made available in different online fan communities. Our research group examined each of these areas of inquiry through an ethnographic investigation of online fan communities currently popular among U.S. teens and content analyses of 4,500 fan fiction reviews. We are currently using visual analytics techniques to explore the corpus of data on Fanfiction.net, the world's largest repository of fanfiction.
As the U.S. continues to experience growing numbers of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) families, youth are emerging as important information brokers. We are not fully aware of the obstacles that youth face in the act of searching, interpreting, and translating online information. Without deep knowledge of how youth provide technical and informational assistance for their LEP families, we fail to understand how to design socio-technical systems that can support some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations. This study seeks to better understand the dynamics of information brokering through an in-home qualitative study of 20 to 25 Latino families, the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. We will examine the strategies and obstacles that Latino youth (ages 10-18) face as they broker online information for their LEP parents. Our findings will contribute to theoretical understandings of how youth act as intermediaries for their immigrant families as they navigate resources and negotiate the integration experience.
KidsTeam UW is an intergenerational design team focused on co-designing new technologies FOR children WITH children. We use Cooperative Inquiry as a method of design partnering created to design technology with and for children. In the Cooperative Inquiry method, adults and children use a broad range of techniques to work together throughout the entire design process to create new technology. The goals of KidsTeam UW are to develop new methods for designing with children and families and examining how long-term partnerships with children can create the next generation technologies for youth.
How can the appeal of Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Engineering (STEM) be broadened in a culturally sensitive yet rigorous way? This project investigates contexts and mechanisms through which the “universal language” of music may help improve students’ interest in and knowledge of STEM. As a starting point, music’s potential as a “hook” and mnemonic device generally goes unexploited in middle school and beyond. We are quantifying this potential in studies conducted at STEM outreach events throughout Washington state. In related work, we are researching longer-term opportunities for students to create original music as a means of personalizing and synthesizing STEM content. While the logistics of such opportunities are challenging, our hypothesis is that students who forge creative connections between STEM and music will experience profound growth in both disciplines. This latter work is being conducted through retrospective analysis of past science/music projects and through piloting of new science/music courses.
A mobile app may seem an unlikely candidate for getting kids outside and changing their relationships with nature. That is, however, exactly what we are going with this project. The goals of this project are 1) to develop a beta version of a mobile app that encourages nature exploration and 2) to test the effect of that exploration on connectedness to, and fascination with, nature—antecedents to environmental attitudes, science-learning activation, and stress relief. The app will engage elementary school children in an exploration of the natural world by allowing them to build, curate, and share nature photo collections. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the app at getting kids outside and the role of nature exploration in affecting connectedness to and fascination with nature.
Project ConnectedLib teams faculty members from the library and information science (LIS) schools at the University of Washington and University of Maryland and public library partners to build public librarians’ capacity to incorporate digital media into their work with youth to promote connections across their learning contexts. The public library partners are Providence Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Kitsap Regional Library. Each of these library systems serves a variety of traditionally underserved youth populations, including rural, immigrant, and low-income youth. We will develop, implement, and evaluate customizable professional development resources that support librarians from a broad range of public libraries in their efforts to leverage new media technologies and promote youth’s connected learning experiences in libraries. We will disseminate the toolkit widely to libraries serving diverse youth across the country.
The focus of this study is to explore pathways to girls’ engagement with contemporary ‘participatory culture’ through the process of creating digital video on mobile devices. Participatory culture is defined as a culture with few barriers to meaningful creative expression, civic engagement, and connected communities (Jenkins et al., 2009). Historically, girls have engaged in media making practices in sub- and counter-cultural communities to respond to the controlled patriarchal framework of ‘girlhood’ – to interrupt limited expectations about what girls, and particularly girls of color, can and should do to participate in society in meaningful ways (Kearney, 2006). For girls, engaging in maker-culture has allowed them to demonstrate a capacity to create (rather than consume), to develop ideas using new technology, and to express interests and perspectives to peers and adults. Today, however, girls continue to be positioned on the outside of the world of technology and digital production, and as such have a tenuous relationship with contemporary ‘participatory (digital) culture’. Girls are less likely to use computers and take computer classes in school and they are also less likely than boys to engage in related computer and technology based practices in the digital arts, including cinematography and editing (Lauzen, 2014). In what ways can we intervene to change this imbalanced digital landscape? Mobile devices offer one such opportunity for change by putting the technology needed to produce digital media in hands of girls. However, as stated by David Buckingham (2003) over 10 years ago, access alone does not equal digital literacy or equity or result in meaningful production. Although the use of mobile phones among girls (and boys) today is already pervasive, there is little empirical research documenting the qualities of learning that are possible and the opportunities this type of learning might hold for more equitable frameworks regarding girls making digital media. What kinds of technical filmmaking skills are being learned through mobile digital video production? In what ways does mobile digital video production support girls’ creative expression and media literacy? What are the effects of this learning on girls’ engagement with contemporary forms of participatory culture?
This National Science Foundation project aims to use mobile devices and strategically placed interactive community displays to 'scientize' youth in two low-income communities. Scientizing is when people recognize the importance and relevance of science knowledge in one’s everyday life and actively engage in the pursuit of science. Through strategic partnerships with community organizations, educators, and families, our innovation supports primary and middle-school students to actively engage in scientific inquiry in the context of their neighborhoods. Research will help determine how the technology can best be deployed, but also answer important questions about how communities can provide support to help kids think like scientists and identify with science. This project will design and implement ubiquitous technology (i.e., tangible community displays, mobile social media, streaming media) embedded into two urban neighborhoods. Research will demonstrate how such ubiquitous technologies and cyberlearning strategies are vital to improve information flow and coordination across a neighborhood ecosystem to create environments where children can connect their science learning across contexts and time (e.g. scientizing). A program called Science Everywhere composed of partnerships between tightly connected neighborhood organizations with mentors, teachers, parents, and researchers will help learners develop scientifically literate practices both in and out of school, and will demonstrate students' learning to their communities.
This project examines the role of mobile technologies and the importance of collaborative, technology supported approaches to and for teacher training and refugee education. It builds on the idea that text-based messaging on mobile phones can be harnessed to support peer teaching and learning as integrated practice in the lived realities of teachers. Educational opportunities and learning outcomes for refugees are among the lowest in the world (Dryden-Peterson, 2011) and teachers are a central dimension of policy and practice aimed at improving access to quality education for refugees (UNHCR, 2012). At the same time, mobile technologies are widely and increasingly in use across Africa and the developing world (Ally & Samaka, 2013; Yonazi, Kelly, Halewood & Blackman, 2012), and ICTs have an important role to play in this changing educational landscape. How can mobile technologies be used to support teacher training in refugee camp settings? What is the role of mobile, text-based messaging for teacher training in refugee camps?