Home Learning in the New Mobile Age: Parent-Child Interactions and Emergent Academic Development across Multiple Home Learning Contexts
Shayl Griffith

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



University of Massachusetts Amherst

Primary Discipline

Parent involvement in home learning activities plays an important role in the academic development of young children, particularly before the start of formal schooling. Parents’ ability to skillfully incorporate pre-math and pre-literacy concepts into their everyday interactions with their children, to foster children’s engagement with educational materials, and to regulate children’s use of educational and non-educational media (e.g., books, TV), has important effects on early academic achievement and school readiness. The rapidly increasing popularity of touch screen mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, and the accompanying educational and non-educational applications (“apps”) targeted towards preschool children, calls for a new look at parent-child interactions around at-home educational materials, and parent involvement in children’s early academic development in the home. Little information is available on how parents navigate their children’s introduction to, and use of, educational mobile technology, or their attitudes towards the use of this new technology. The proposed study will describe, using observational data, parent-child interactions around educational apps and mobile devices, in a sample of 36 families with preschool-aged children. The study will further examine parental beliefs and practices around mobile technology use in the home, and relations among parent attitudes, parent practices, and child achievement outcomes. The proposed study represents an important first step towards updating existing knowledge about parent-child interactions and early academic development to include issues relevant to the new mobile age.
About Shayl Griffith
Shayl Griffith is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Clark University and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Shayl’s research interests center on the social, emotional, and academic functioning of preschool-aged children. Her work over the next year will examine parent-child interactions around mobile technology and related implications for preschool children’s outcomes.

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