CAP: Collaborative Research: Building a Network to Advance Collaborative Research on Young Children’s Learning through Public Media Assets

Brigid Barron and Roy Pea, Stanford University (Award Details)
Reed Stevens, Northwestern University (Award Details)

This Cyberlearning Capacity-Building project brings together learning scientists, experts in media creation, experts in child development, producers of public media assets, parent, and educators in an effort to build social infrastructure that will support bringing what is known about how people learn to the design of public media that can effectively connect school learning and out-of-school learning for young children. The team’s theoretical framing and working hypothesis highlights the importance of media as a catalyst for collaboration and learning conversations; according to the theoretical base, these collaborations and learning conversations, when carried out across peers and in families, can play a powerful role in connecting children’s school and outside-of-school experiences. Two workshops are being convened for the purpose of shedding light on the pragmatics of doing this — the R&D partnerships needed, the methods that might be used, and the issues that need to be addressed for success. Through partnerships with children’s educational media producers, the team is building capacity for interdisciplinary teams that include learning scientists and media producers to engage in research around how to use public media assets to promote the kinds of learning conversations in and out of school that will connect home and school settings into a distributed learning environment.

This project is laying the groundwork for new interdisciplinary research efforts addressing issues in early learning. The team’s theoretical framework points to media as a catalyst for the kinds of collaborations and conversations that might promote learning and connect children’s school and out-of-school experiences. Thus, this project is bringing together learning scientists and children’s educational media producers (PBS, Sesame Workshop, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center) to seed future collaborations. The goals of this initial collaboration are to work together to establish new methods for studying learning with media and advance understanding of how public media assets can be leveraged to support the learning and interest development of young children and their families.

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