On 19-21stApril 2018, Andrew Manches, Zayba Ghazali-Mohammed, and Alexia Revueltas Roux visited Miami for our second (full-team) project meeting. The meetings took place in the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, a key research site in the Move2Learn (M2L) project.
View from the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science (left) Indoor terrarium (right)
Day one of the meeting allowed all the international researchers and practitioners involved in M2L to share the work they had been developing and to engage in discussion about key aspects of the research. Zayba presented on the studies conducted at Glasgow Science Centre where children were observed interacting with exhibits and then subsequently interviewed about their experience. The study was successful in advancing our understanding about embodied cognition, which Andrew shared with the team. This led to lengthy discussions about defining what learning looked like(!) and how we might measure this in pre-schoolers; a question the M2L team have been grappling with for several months. Through valuable feedback, we eventually arrived at a position: children interacting with an exhibit get the opportunity to look at relationships and isolate relevant variables in order to subsequently use these variables to predict an outcome of a similar phenomenon outside the exhibit context. Thus, exhibits allow children to work out key relationships behind science phenomena that they can subsequently use to describe and reason about these connections with increasing sophistication.
Through fruitful discussions like these, huge progress was made in establishing the next steps of our research, the study design, and dissemination strategies. At the end of the day, Alexia along with PhD candidates from UCL (Minna Nygren) and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (Ross Toedte), introduced their PhD projects to the M2L team. This provided a great opportunity for the candidates to get feedback from the research expertise of others in the meeting, and help their work move forward.
On Day two, 11 advisors from either the academic or practitioner world were invited to hear from the M2L team. The team presented snapshots of their work, outlined the progress made on things including our position on pre-school learning, and also challenges encountered including things like the location of all partners involved and differences in findings from all the sites. We received frank and extremely helpful feedback particularly around methodology in terms of what remained in the scope of our ambitious project, and what we would have to sacrifice e.g. work with children with special educational needs or sign language users. We also received advice from those who had previously worked on large collaborative projects and heard about the different strategies of communication we could use. Finally, our advisors provided lots of resources for avenues of dissemination one of which was the ASDC conference, and based on our Miami meeting, the ASDC invited UoE and GSC to host a roundtable discussion at their next conference which we’re very much looking forward to.
Before ending the day, we took up the opportunity to explore the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, which is unique in that it has been designed with windowless areas to allow the warm air from outside to come in and to make the most from the incredible surrounding views. The museum also boasts a gargantuan aquarium right through the middle of the building that can be viewed from the oculus directly underneath.
On Day three our advisors were given the opportunity to ask the project team about specific areas of concern or interest. The discussion that followed led to candid talks about moving forward and helped the project team to prioritise areas of research and dissemination, which we are currently in the process of taking forward. In sum, this was a highly valuable meeting, not least in that it allowed everyone involved in the Move2Learn project to meet face-to-face and engage in fruitful discussion.
Move2Learn project team exploring exhibits
This material is based upon work supported under a collaboration between the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Wellcome Trust, and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) via a grant from the NSF (NSF grant no. 1646940) and a grant from the Wellcome Trust with ESRC (Wellcome Trust grant no. 206205/Z/17/Z) Disclaimer:Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of NSF, the Wellcome Trust, or ESRC.