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.
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.
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.
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.
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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