University College London

What Researchable Did

For psychology and human development researchers at University College London (UCL) we developed a software application that runs on a smartwatch to automatically collect sensor and survey data to study children’s informal social activities in primary school.

The Study

There is growing international evidence that children are socialising less with peers outside school and within school. However, informal relationships with peers play a central role in children’s engagement, learning, and their feelings about school. The researchers of UCL are interested in the day-to-day processes that explain these relationships because the underlying explaining mechanisms are currently under-studied.

Aim of the Study

  • The aim of this study is to examine the connections between playground social activity, classroom engagement and well-being in primary school children.
  • It is important to understand these connections because they can make a big difference to school staff trying to enhance children’s engagement, learning and wellbeing in school.

Digital Technology for Data Collection

Collecting research data of children in primary school is usually not easy because it often involves many research hours and complex observational designs to capture sufficient data. To solve this problem we helped the researchers of UCL to use digital technologies alongside the traditional methods. Researchable developed a software application that can run on a smartwatch to automatically collect sensor and survey data to study children’s informal social activities in primary school.

Software application developed by Researchable to collect questionnaire data.
Simple and suitable for primary school pupils.
Pupil taking part in the study.

Collected Data Through Smartwatch Application

  • The application collects step count, heart rate, and momentary survey data.
  • The survey application measured the feelings and the learning engagement of the pupils.
  • The smartwatch application automatically sends the data to a local laptop which provides a representation of the collected data.
What has been great about working with Researchable, is that they understood the project from the start and what we wanted to achieve. They were very responsive and delivered excellent work.
Dr. Ed Baines -
Principal Investigator at UCL

The Next Step

The next step for the research group of UCL is to scale up this research. Together, we have shown that the use of digital technologies can improve the data collection in primary schools. The results of this success will provide the basis for more innovative studies that have the potential to clarify the complex interconnections between momentary activity and more enduring outcomes, both within and between class and play settings.

Innovation Through Data

By using digital technologies along traditional methods to collect data, the researchers of UCL can improve the amount and quality of their data enabling more sophisticated research designs. Researchable helped the researchers of UCL to enable innovation through data. By using innovative wearable digital and sensor technologies they are now able to collect multi-level data sets that can be used for multi-level and time series analyses.

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