Project title:

Advancing Early STEM Learning through Haptic Feedback Displays (9/1/2015-8/31/2019)

Project Overview

This project aimed to explore, develop, and evaluate the use of haptic feedback displays in young children’s science learning. This research project presents a unique opportunity to integrate an emerging technology with pervasive educational tools (smartphones and tablet computers) to support and enrich early childhood science experiences for both teachers and learners. We focus on this aspect of educational experience because early science literacy has demonstrated associations with later development, but the training, materials, and self-efficacy required to teach science in preschool classrooms is often lacking. Theories of development suggest that physical tactile cues, sensory experiences, and manipulatives can promote learning for younger children, particularly in the realm of science learning, and this project examines the ways in which haptic touch screen technology may be a good fit for early science learning. Tablet computers have the potential to increase learner engagement and enable more independent interaction, and are familiar to and pervasive in this age group. Through this project we understand the effectiveness of and conditions under which digital tools and new technologies, such as haptic feedback displays, promote early STEM learning. The project involved participatory design work as well as multiple field and laboratory evaluations of haptic science learning applications for children.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-1522921 (award abstract). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. If you have questions or want to learn more, please contact Anne Marie Piper.