iBooks as Trail Guides
Lucy McClain (PI, dissertation study) 

This project is Lucy’s dissertation work.  Her dissertation study aims to leverage mobile technologies to facilitate family groups’ learning and explorations of the local plants and animals at Shaver’s Creek in the absence of a physical naturalist or guide. The digital field guide, or “e-trailguide”,  designed to not only provide place-based educational material but to also enable family group discussions and deeper observations of the natural world along one of Shaver’s Creek’s nature trails.

Representative talk: McClain, L. R., & Zimmerman, H. T. (2014, April). Technology and nature: The successes and difficulties for designing an e-trailguide for an informal, outdoor educational space. 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Philadelphia, PA.

The use of augmented reality-enhanced reading books for vocabulary acquisition with students who are diagnosed with special needs
Sam J. Fecich (PI, dissertation study)

For her dissertation study, Sam used a collective case study methodology to explore the use of augmented reality books on an iPad 2 with students diagnosed with disabilities. Students in her study attended a high school life skills class in a rural school district. Four students participated: two males and two females. Specifically, the study’s purposes were to (a) describe students’ processing of the augmented reality enhanced books by analyzing their spontaneous and prompted verbalizations; (b) identify students’ perceived vocabulary word knowledge through a survey that is completed before and after the augmented reality reading activity; and (c) examine students’ vocabulary word knowledge as mean scores of criterion-referenced worksheets that were completed before and after the augmented reality activity and by their responses to prompted questions within the AR book.

Changing Nutrition Knowledge and Behavior in Young Children: The Role of Reflection on Personally-Relevant, Technology-Rich Representations.
Sunghyun Park (PI, dissertation study)

As pediatric obesity has become a significant public health concern, recent educational programs have emerged to identify and intervene with pediatric obesity. However, there has been minimal focus on considerations of working with younger children by adopting reflection upon everyday experiences as an integral step to cultivate a healthy life style. The purpose of this study was to introduce digital imaging to young children as a technique to capture, monitor, and reflect upon everyday experiences, thereby supporting children to turn everyday experiences into knowledge about practice, and thus help them improve dietary-related behaviors. A case study design was used within the context of a Kindergarten classroom. Five children participated in the 12 nutrition education sessions during three weeks. A personalized E-portfolio was designed to support children’s learning by visualizing everyday eating experiences in an easily interpretable form, using self-captured digital images. Additionally, a food-train activity was designed to support children to visualize their current eating and to reflect upon them using the food photos that children took. The results of the study showed that children were able to reflect upon every day experiences and apply proper nutrition knowledge within the proposed interventions. After the reflective activities, children ate more balanced meals across five food groups and made more healthful food choices within the food group. Children reportedly talked more frequently about the foods they were eating and tried to accomplish their goals elicited from the e-portfolio activity to eat more healthily. Children’s score of nutrition knowledge about the food guide pyramid increased and about general food healthiness was maintained as high. The findings indicate that the e-portfolio aided children in discovering the discrepancy between expectations and the actual captured data and in being conscious of their eating along with the food-train activity. In this manner, the e-portfolio with self-captured images may have served as an effective learning tool for children to construct new understanding that was linked to behavior changes. The food-train activity may have amplified those effects as a transfer activity. For future research, involving parents in the reflection activity may benefit children’s learning in the long term.
Link to the pdf of the dissertation.

Leave a Reply