DOT Storytellers at a table

Research Focus

A study of conversation participants’ choices and connections on the topic of engineering practices and usefulness in day-to-day life (EP&UDL Study) looked at the storytelling choices parents and educators use to communicate to other parents and educators that the DOT practices in the exhibit are usefully relevant to engineering practices in families’ everyday lives and their community goals.

This study centered the voices of parents and guardians (caregivers) by having parents in roles to generate stories, respond to stories, and revise stories. Building on theories of relevance in education and the theory-based C-PIECE framework, caregivers helped  develop a conjecture visualization and an evidence-based, contextual model of the types of strategies that might inform stories about the DOT exhibit’s connections to families’ everyday engineering practices.

The study reveals evidence that begins to show relationships between variables such as the content strategies in the stories and the perceived usefulness of DOT engineering practices mentioned in the stories. The study was designed to support stories that are part of ecological communications; not any one particular stereotype story. The approaches and model emerging from this evidence can inform many types of stories that are told about the value and usefulness of exhibits, such as between parents or between educators and parents.