1. JJ Leissing
  2. Vice President of Education
  3. Thinkery Connect: A Museum-University-Community Research Partnership
  4. https://thinkeryaustin.org/thinkery-connect/
  5. Thinkery, University of Texas Austin
  1. Cristine Legare
  2. http://www.centerforappliedcogsci.com
  3. Professor
  4. Thinkery Connect: A Museum-University-Community Research Partnership
  5. https://thinkeryaustin.org/thinkery-connect/
  6. University of Texas Austin, Thinkery
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: Stephen Uzzo

    Stephen Uzzo

    Facilitator
    Chief Scientist
    May 10, 2022 | 08:19 a.m.

    Bravo - It can be daunting to meaningfully integrate research into practice in meaningful ways, and getting to the fundamental STEM habits of mind is the baseline upon which all of science knowledge rests. I would be interested in knowing some of the challenges and opportunities that Thinkery Connect has confronted and how they have integrated research into practice in sustainable ways.

     
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    Cristine Legare
  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 01:01 p.m.

    Hi Stephen, Thank you for your comment and question. There are a variety of challenges associated with the sort of research to practice translation we are working on. One is the use of time- and labor-intensive research methods to collect our data. The quality of the data we are collecting is worth the effort, but does involve coding and analyzing eye-tracking, video/audio behavioral data, experimental data on learning, and survey data. This requires a large team of researchers dedicated to accomplishing this, and there are funding challenges associated with sustaining this. Research-practice partnerships of this sort require long term investment in training, infrastructure, and funding support. Another challenge is ensuring that insights are disseminated in useful ways to various parties of interest with quite different needs and backgrounds (museum visitors (adults and children), informal learning educators, cognitive scientists, community partners, etc.) This requires translating insights in ways that are accessible and useful to different groups. 

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 10, 2022 | 08:33 a.m.

    Thank you for posting this lively project.  As a former visitor studies researcher I was delighted to see a museum that has a prototype area where visitors can contribute to the development of exhibitions.  I remember that the Boston Museum of Science had such a space when our  program evaluation group was doing  evaluations with them.

     

    I would be interested to learn more about how you incorporate the multiple ways (sometimes contradictory!) parents and their children interact while engaged with exhibits.

     

     
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    Cristine Legare
  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 01:05 p.m.

    Great question, George.We have documented exactly the sort of variation you describe in our previous work (e.g., child directed, adult directed, patterns of interaction). The signage we design for these exhibits provides a variety of different ways to engage, and is meant to accomodate and give suggestions to parents with different sorts of engagement styles. We use design challenges and conversation cards to provide visitors with suggestions for how to engage with the exhibits, and with their children (by encouraging exploration, explanation, trouble shooting, persistence, question asking, etc). 

  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 10, 2022 | 08:25 p.m.

    Welcome, and thank you for viewing our 2022 STEM for All video submission. Our video describes Thinkery Connect, a museum-university-community research partnership between Thinkery-Austin Children's Museum and The Center for Applied Cognitive Science at The University of Texas at Austin Department of Psychology which I direct.
    The objective of our partnership is to translate best practices from learning sciences into museum operations. Our educational philosophy is grounded in play-based, inquiry-rich learning experiences. Our approach to exhibit development is to design visitor experiences that encourage STEM "Habits of Mind" such as critical thinking, systematic exploration, resolute behavior, hypothesis-testing, experimentation, and trouble-shooting. These skills are critical to early STEM learning as well as to school readiness more generally.
    Our research partnership focuses on developing exhibits that enhance caregiver and child STEM learning experiences and support STEM Habits of Mind both inside and outside the museum walls with curated educational resource material. Focusing on STEM Habits of Mind that support school readiness skills can help communities better prepare children for school and set the foundation for lifelong learning. Thanks to generous funding from IMLS, we have constructed Thinkery Connect Headquarters (HQ) which allows us to 1) conduct research on caregiver and child interaction and learning, 2) evaluate visitor experience, 3) prototype exhibit design features and modifications, and 4) collaborate with community partners throughout the city and the state to support early childhood education and development.
    We welcome your feedback and questions! 

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2022 | 09:14 a.m.

    I appreciate your "enhance learning experiences",  concepts. How do you collect data from parent-child interactions at prototype exhibits? Do you film, interview and/or observe?  You must have some criteria for defining "STEM habits of mind", "school readiness skills", etc. Where can I find this?  I believe Elsa Bailey has done similar work in some of her research.

  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 01:08 p.m.

    We use a variety of methods including eyetracking, video/audio recording of parent child interaction, experimental tasks of children's learning and survey data. We use pre- and post signage intervention design to evaluate the impact of signage on all of these data streams. Here is an example of how we code STEM Habits of Mind in a particular exhibit at Thinkery:

    Cognitive Process

    Scientific Practices

    Evaluation Indicators of Scientific Thinking at Build Landscape Exhibit

     

    Hypotheses Generation

     

     

     

    Asking Questions

    Context and content of caregiver-child conversation including both caregiver and child inquiry for evidence of hypothesis generation and causal reasoning

     

    Developing and using analogies and models

    Context and content of caregiver-child conversation and behavior for evidence of analogical reasoning and generalization between exhibit parts and systems or reference to objects outside of the museum

    Experimentation

     

     

     

    Planning and carrying out investigations

    Context and content of caregiver-child conversation and behavior for evidence of systematic experimentation, problem-solving, troubleshooting, resolute behavior, and persistence such as exchanging exhibit parts, reconfiguring parts, exploring linkage affordances, assembling, and disassembling parts of complex systems

    Evaluating Evidence

     

     

     

    Analyzing and interpreting data/evidence

    Context and content of caregiver-child conversation and behavior for evidence of reflection and response to new information and obstacles

     

     

    Constructing explanations

    Context and content of caregiver-child conversation including both caregiver and child utterances for evidence of causal reasoning such as discussion of causal function and mechanisms

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 12, 2022 | 09:53 a.m.

    Your coding categories are impressive.  You must do a lot of training for your observers/field staff to enter observed behavior into the different categories.  For example, what specific behaviors demonsrtate  "Cognitive Practices" or "Scientific Practices". Your guidance to observers could be of great value to others who want to study these interactions.

  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 14, 2022 | 10:55 a.m.

    We develop coding rubrics for each exhibit we study, because behaviors that illustrate these principles are influenced by the kinds of activities and artifacts particular exhibits afford. We are in the process of writing up a roadmap of our process for publication. 

  • Icon for: Folashade Solomon

    Folashade Solomon

    Facilitator
    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2022 | 10:15 p.m.

    This work is so exciting. Are there specific habit of mind that were present in the family engagement and learning the museum that were also present in the early childhood contexts?  How do they look different or the same? Do you have any specific examples of they types of learning the parents/ caregivers and children engage in?

     
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    Cristine Legare
  • Icon for: JJ Leissing

    JJ Leissing

    Lead Presenter
    Vice President of Education
    May 12, 2022 | 06:31 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment and question. One of the habits of mind we reviewed was persistence. We found that adults who were able to offer gentle guiding questions on the museum floor to facilitate their child's learning led to more persistence in the activity.  This discovery helped inform the exhibit signage and interventions to support guided play between adults and children.

  • May 12, 2022 | 02:43 p.m.

    This is such an innovative project! Thank you for sharing. While my co-presenters and I describe one way we partnered with a museum to support informal learning across the region and outside the museum's physical locale, our focus was on promoting teacher education using these experiences in addition to broadening STEM participation. In a previous project, we worked with our same museum partner and graduate students to develop exhibits for the museum. We loved the "win-win" relationship whereby our students learned how to apply theory and research to practice while at the same time working with the museum team to advance their goals. While the focus of our work is slightly different (research wise), I am interested in learning more about how you use eye-tracking applications to answer your research questions to explore its potential for our work. 

     
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    Cristine Legare
  • Icon for: Cristine Legare

    Cristine Legare

    Co-Presenter
    Professor
    May 14, 2022 | 11:00 a.m.

    Thanks, Danielle. We agree that the win-win relationship is the best part of these kinds of partnerships. Re eye tracking we are working with Chen Yu and his lab to collect data with eyetracking glasses (both children and parents wear them in the exhibit). They allow us to track where and what they look at (if they look long enough to read signage, etc). Eyetracking, video-audio recording are collected at the same time, and then survey is collected afterwards. We also often collect data from an experimental learning measure. These allow us to use convergent datastreams to tell a comprehensive story about parent-child engagment and interaction at these exhibits (and how how signage impacts this).

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