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Middle School Stories from Little Havana Project

Project type

Qualitative field study


Co Principle Investigator

Project Description

This qualitative field research study of bi/multilingual students’ developing civic identities via using data visualization and multimodal composing tools built on a prior study I conducted with the same research team in a high school space (High School Stories from Little Havana). Our analysis for the middle school iteration drew on multiple forms of data (video recorded classroom learning, focus group and individual interviews, student work) collected across four months in two sections of a 7th grade civics class.

Using Mirra and Garcia’s (2023) speculative-oriented on civics for the world to come, we designed lesson plans that leveraged the resources afforded by georeferenced data and multimodal composing tools and oriented around civic inquiry and storytelling. We wrote lesson plans aligned to state standards for civics education for each class. We also created PPTs to reinforce class-based content and ideas, including prompts for whole class and small group think-alouds. We scaffolded instruction by demonstrating various inquiry approaches and tools before students worked in groups or independently to enact them on their own. Student work was completed both individually and in groups.

Data for the broader study included: 14 video recordings of classroom instruction, student produced artifacts for X learning tasks modeled during classroom instruction and later completed by students both independently and in groups, and a focus group interview where students from consented groups reflected on their final projects and activities across the semester. Our Interviews followed a semi-structured protocol. We also interviewed the teacher who hosted the research team across the semester.

From a UXR Perspective

This end-to-end research and development project examined the interactions and experiences of adolescents using data visualization interfaces and tools to create georeferenced maps of their lives and communities. It followed the actionable recommendations for future development provided by a pilot study conducted with slightly older users in a similar context. It required new persona creation and two cycles of iterative development moving through implementation, and then leveraging data analysis to improve the second round of design and implementation. My team and I worked with end user site administrators, cultural heritage archivists, and field observations to authentically develop user stories to guide product development. We took a qualitative approach to understanding adolescent users’ experiences with data visualization mapping tools and multimodal composing platforms. We recorded real time user interactions with the devices, including screen captures from the devices' interfaces. We interviewed the users to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives and experiences. We also analyzed the products they created with the devices.

We approached my analysis from a user centric perspective, starting our analysis with interview data of users' perspectives, rather than starting with external observations. We then triangulated users' perceptions with recordings of their interactions and their compositions (including planning documents, rough layouts, and final products).

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