American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting
Theme: Leveraging Educational Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence
April 5-9, 2019
Title: Collaborative Joy Building with Digital Stickers (Poster)
Session: Pedagogies of Joy: Joy as Resistance at the Intersection of STEM Learning Pathways
Authors: Daniel Paus, Lautaro Cabrera, Kenna Hernly, Hannoori Jeong, Kelly Mills, Caroline Pitt, June Ahn, Elizabeth Onsignore, Tamara Lynnette Clegg
Abstract: New social technologies have helped alleviate obstacles youth face while joyfully communicating their scientific interests (Ahn et al., 2014). Digital stickers offer playful ways for youth to collaboratively communicate visually. Using the theoretical framework of Affinity Spaces (Gee, 2004; 2005), we examine how digital stickers can be used by children and parents to joyfully communicate nascent science learning interests and potentially encourage continued engagement as the child (and parent) learns in an environment with lower perceived stakes. We define joy as types of positive, playful, interest-based interactions around science that we promote through the modality of stickers.
Our research is connected to the informal science program Science Everywhere (Ahn et al., 2018; Cabrera et al., 2018) that encourages families to explore science in their everyday lives. The research involves parent and child dyads communicating science learning experiences and interests via social media. We began using digital stickers for science learning following early feedback and ideas from participatory design sessions with youth. Specifically, the digital stickers feature that is part of the iMessage (Apple Inc.) platform on iOS devices is used as part of a case study with focal learners and parents from the Science Everywhere community. We analyze a combination of interviews, journaling exercises, and observations of learning settings for impact of encouraging joyful or playful interactions that contribute to participant’s abilities to scientifically frame their everyday lives (Clegg & Kolodner, 2014).
The composition of ideas using digital stickers started with simplistic usage similar to how children use emojis. Children were able to integrate new sticker packs, effectively expanding the breadth of stickers they use to communicate over time. When asked, children used multiple sticker packs and created meaningful new combinations of stickers that effectively combined ideas via playful experimentation. This more advanced usage takes time to develop and was not seen until later sticker journaling exercises. Interestingly, parents began to use stickers with their children without prompting. Parental usage of stickers remained inline with text, similar to emoji usage. Prior to sticker journaling, children explained how parental communication was largely text only and only for logistical tasks (e.g., requesting a ride). Spontaneous integration of stickers by the parents illustrates a willingness by parents to adapt their forms of communication to a more playful usage as their child’s sticker usage grows.
Preliminary results suggest that digital stickers are helping children communicate their nascent scientific interests. Their creative usage of stickers shows the potential for a more collaborative and fun way for children to communicate their science experiences with each other. While not as advanced as the children’s communication, parental communication shows potential for more joyful communication between parent and child as parents learn the new mode of communication via digital stickers.