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VEBB: Status report, June 2018

The sun is shining and we’re enjoying almost tropical temperatures here in Stavanger – so before we’re all headed for vacation, here’s an update on what’s been happening in VEBB during the first half of 2018:

Data collection and preparation 

In October last year, we collected video data  from 12 teachers in six kindergartens. Each teacher read two titles (out of the four selected for the main study), once in a book format and once as an app. All readings were with the same group of children, and the children wore number tags so that we can match them across reading 
sessions. Hence, we have four films per kindergarten teacher = 48 films altogether (12 
films of print book reading, and 12 films of app In addition, we have collected survey data from the teachers and the parents, assessing a range of aspects related to reading experience, reading preferences, experiences with digital technologies, access to technologies in kindergarten and at home, reading cultures in kindergarten and at home, children’s interest in language-related activities, and demographic information. We also collected data on children’s engagement immediately after each reading session (using smileys :-) ). Finally, we have logs of teachers' reflections after each reading session, and focus group interviews with some of the teachers. All this data has also been prepared in a master file (thanks to Anne Charlotte Begnum, Thomas Moser and Anne Kristine S. Runestad) and is ready for analyses.  
 
In addition, we have collected survey data from the teachers and the parents, assessing a range of aspects related to reading experience, reading preferences, experiences with digital technologies, access to technologies in kindergarten and at home, reading cultures in kindergarten and at home, children’s interest in language-related activities, and demographic information. We also collected data on children’s engagement immediately after each reading session (using smileys  ). Finally, we have logs of teacher’s reflections after each reading session, and focus group interviews with some of the teachers. All this data has also been prepared in a master file (thanks to Anne Charlotte Begnum, Thomas Moser and Anne Kristine S. Runestad) and is ready for analyses.
 
In May, we came together to begin looking at these data files in a more systematic manner, and we have started listing research questions to be explored. In order to avoid unnecessary duplications, the project leader team is currently preparing an article presenting the research protocol, and we have implemented a system to keep track of all ongoing sub-projects and analyses (who is pursuing which research question, using which data, for which output).  
 
Based on introductory analyses, we have begun developing the evaluation tool – the VEBB innovation – in collaboration with NettOp. It is still in-progress, but here is a screenshot of a dummy version.
 
 
The resource will have seven main parameters with accompanying questions: 
(1) Theme/topic,
(2) Duration,
(3) Verbal text/illustration,
(4) Interactivity,
(5) Flexibility (narrator,
soundscape, page-turning),
(6) Play-with-language, and
(7) Dialogue.
 
The teacher evaluates the app on these parameters, and for each there is additional text (“Read more…”) explaining more in-depth why and in what ways this particular aspect may play a role in the context of dialogue-based reading.
 
Thanks to Petter Mordt and his colleagues at NettOp, the web pages have a beautiful visual appearance, mimicking the tale of a tadpole gradually turning into a frog, which is kissed by a princess on the last page, and --- voilà!  

Conference presentations 

- Anne Mangen presented some preliminary findings from the video observation study at the Childhood and Materiality conference, May 7-9, University of Jyväskylä, Finland (https://www.jyu.fi/en/congress/childhood2018);
- At the annual conference of the Jean Piaget Society in Amsterdam, May 31-June 2, Trude Hoel & Margrethe Jernes talked about how teachers’ scaffolding during shared reading in groups are affected by affordances of picture book apps
(https://www.jps2018.com/)

Forthcoming conferences:

- At the IGEL (http://igel2018.no/) conference in Stavanger, July 25-28, there will be a symposium featuring two VEBB presentations:
(i) Trude and Elise present further work in WP 2, focusing on how affordances of text and medium are realized in specific reading events
(ii) Margrethe and Anne will present a more in-depth look at the role of the medium in one of the teachers’ reading of Yesper and Noper in print and app.
- On August 28-31, Margrethe will present the overall research design, methodologies and materials at the EECERA conference, in Budapest (http://www.eecera2018.org/)

Publications: 

There are several articles in-progress, e.g. the research protocol article to be submitted to the European Early Childhood Education Research Journal (by August 1). The following output is published or accepted/in press:  
- Mangen, A. & Hoel, T. (2017) Samtalebasert lesing med bildebok eller nettbrett: gjør mediet en forskjell? Norsk pedagogisk tidsskrift, 101(4), 339-351
- Mangen, A., Hoel, T. & Moser, T. (in press) Technologies, affordances, children and embodied reading: a case for interdisciplinarity. In Kucirkova, N., Rowsell, J., & Falloon, G. (Eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Playing and Learning with Technology in Early Childhood. London & New York: Routledge
- Tønnessen, E. S. & Hoel, T. (accepted). The designing of dialogs around picture book-apps. book-apps. In J. E. Kim & B. Hassinger-Das (Eds.), Reading in the Digital Age: Young Children’s Experiences with E-books. London: Springer.

Looking ahead: 

Fall 2018: in August-September, we enter the “B-phase” of the project – the research-based testing of VEBB in collaboration with kindergarten teachers (WP B1) and with students in the early childhood education teacher’s programme (WP B2). This testing and evaluation of the tool is an important step towards WP B3, Implementation – regionally and nationally in the first instance, perhaps internationally in a longer time perspective.  
2019: during the final year of the project, we will host a “showcase conference” and we are currently looking into possibilities for additional funding to ensure we can invite you all and make this event a somewhat larger meeting, involving practitioners, researchers and stakeholders from various areas. 

We truly appreciate your continued support and engagement in VEBB, and will keep you posted on what’s happening. In particular, we look forward to sharing the finished version of the online tool with you, once it has been tried out during the next months.  
You can stay updated through the project web site on ResearchGate: 
https://www.researchgate.net/project/FINNUT-innovasjon-VEBB-Vurderingsverktoy-for-E-Boker-for-Barn  

We wish you a relaxing summer holiday with lots of sunshine, and look forward to further research exchanges! 

All our best wishes, 
Anne, Trude & Margrethe