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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Childrens Information-Seeking: Its Development and Impacts on Learning

Alternative title: Barns informasjonssøking: Utvikling og implikasjoner for læring

Awarded: NOK 6.6 mill.

Children are dependent on social communicative skills and strategies in order to learn from others, both with regard to understanding the information they receive and requesting the information they need. The earliest learning experiences occur at home. However, knowledge about how variation in such early experiences contributes to the formation of particular information-seeking strategies over time and the potential long-term implications of this development for children?s learning is lacking. The project "Children's Information-Seeking: Its Development and Impacts on Learning" is aimed at examining: a) the relations between mothers' provision of information and children's requests for information over the first three years of life; b) whether the variation in the early interactions is associated with sociodemographic status and child gender; c) whether the variation in the early interactions predicts academic achievements and expectations in school; and d) the mechanisms through which early information-seeking interactions shapes children's learning. The project will combine existing data from a subsample (n= appr. 60-70) of the longitudinal Behavior Outlook Norwegian Developmental Study (BONDS) with data from targeted experiments with children in childcare settings. From BONDS, the project will in particular analyze observational data of mother-child interactions at 1, 2 and 3 years of age, and link these data to academic outcomes in 1. grade and to planned data collection on learning expectations. It is expected that the project will contribute to knowledge about the early development of functional and naturally occurring learning processes that are transferable across contexts, and about how early home interactions can contribute to important learning processes of relevance to the children?s future learning. This may have implications for policy and practice that target transitions in educational pathways, especially for those at social risk. The project has in large part faithfully followed the project plan in the project period. The more practical research activities have mainly been focused on: 1) The development of transcription and coding manuals; 2) The training and supervision of research assistants; 3) The completion of the transcription and coding; 4) Preparation of data files and early descriptive analyses of the coded observational data; 5) Final coding and analyses in connection with the two longitudinal observational papers; 6) Planning and piloting of three experimental studies; 7) Experimental data collection, as well as coding and analyses of the data from the three experimental data collections. Activities related to collaboration, dissemination and publication have been centered around the following: 1) A workshop and a half-day open seminar with the international collaborators in Oslo in December 2016; 2) Poster presentation with preliminary observational results at the IASCL conference in Lyon in 2017; 3) Co-authorship on a published scientific review paper; 4) Write-up of two empirical papers based on observational data together with international collaborators; 5) Planning, execution and coding of three experimental data collections in 2017-2019 in collaboration with international collaborators; 6) Write-up of two empirical papers based on the experimental data sets together with international collaborators; 7) The Post-doctoral fellow has presented the project in several parents? meetings in the child care centers in Oslo as part of the recruiting process for the experimental data collections, as well as given a scientific presentation at the University of Oslo in the fall of 2017; 8) Co-hosting a pre-conference workshop at the annual Cognitive Development Society Meeting in Portland, USA, in October 2017 together with collaborators (with financial support from FINNUT). The PI gave a scientific talk and the Post-doctoral fellow presented a poster; 9) The PI completed a one-year mobility visit and the Post-doctoral Fellow completed a three-months visit at Harvard University. Both the PI and the post-doc gave 5 scientific talks and participated in scientific activities at Harvard University, Boston University and Northeastern University; 10) The PI and the post-doc gave a popular science talk at the House of Literature in Oslo, and participated on the Research Fair at Universitetsplassen (Forskningsdagene); 11) the PI participated in Forskerstemmen at the UiO; 12) The Post-doc has completed a new four-month visit at Harvard; 13) Three visits from international collaborators, including 3 seminars and one workshop during their visits; 14) Three papers for re-consideration in international journals; 15) Several talks; 16) One paper in preparation for submission; 17) Three poster presentations at the conferences BCCCD in Budapest, SRCD in Baltimore, USA, and CDS in Louiseville, USA, in 2019; 18) Online talk and symposium participation at the BCCCD Conference in 2020.

Noen virkninger har vært formidling av kunnskap om prosjektets resultater til deltagerne, politiske og praksis aktører, og allmennheten. Dette har foregått via: 1) nyhetsbrev, informasjonsskriv og foredrag rettet mot deltagerne; 2) åpne seminarer og foredrag hvor representanter fra politisk hold, praksisfeltet og andre fagmiljøer ble invitert; og 3) deltakelse på Forskningsdagene i 2018. Videre formidling til de samme aktørene planlegges i det kommende året. Noen effekter har vært tverrfaglig mobilisering og økt internasjonalt samarbeid. Vi samlet et internasjonalt og tverrfaglig team fra utdanning, lingvistikk og kognitiv utviklingspsykologi. Utenlandsoppholdene i USA, har tilrettelagt for tettere og mer aktivt internasjonalt samarbeid med forskere fra Harvard University, University of Toronto og Boston University, i tillegg til utvekslinger med forskere på andre universiteter i Boston. Videre internasjonalt samarbeid forventes gjennom nye pågående søknader om forskningsmidler.

This project embraces a broad perspective on learning, and extends previous research by addressing the ways in which early home learning experiences shape the developmental foundation and formation of children's emerging information-seeking strategies, how this development relates to socio-demographic background (SES) and to the children's future academic achievements and learning expectations. The objectives are to examine a) the ways mothers' provision of information and children's requests for information influence one another over the first years of life; b) whether variation in interactions is associated with SES and gender; c) whether variation in the early interactions predict differences in children's educational achievement once they reach school, especially across SES; and the d) identification of mechanisms through which early information-seeking impacts later achievement, and how this depends on age, gender and SES. To shed light on these questions, the proposed project brings together renowned and young national and international experts from developmental psychology, linguistics and education with complementary methodological and disciplinary expertise. The project combines data from a subsample (n=75-90) from The Behavioral Outlook Norwegian Developmental Study (i.e., available observed mother-child interactions during structural object tasks at ages 1, 2 and 3 years and data collection of school achievement scores) with data from targeted experiments with children in childcare. One R&D challenge will be the video-recorded coding and collection of experimental data. Given the project group's experience with managing and planning such designs, and the time put into planning prior to project start, the time-line proposed is realistic. It is expected that the results will be of high empirical significance to the Field, to policy and practitioners, by informing on how to develop educational programs that build on functional learning process.

Funding scheme:

FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren