January 4, 2020
WNET, Education Development Center and the National Science Foundation have joined forces for Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM, a program that delivers environmental science and math lessons via text message.
The six-week program, based on the PBS KIDS series “Cyberchase,” was funded by the National Science Foundation and created by WNET and Education Development Center.
More than 500 families across four U.S. cities – Houston, San Antonio, Tampa and the New York City metropolitan area – took part in the bilingual program, and 95 families participated in the pilot research study. Participating parents received weekly text messages with environmentally-themed “Cyberchase” videos and a choice of two activities to do with their children, focused on related themes such as recycling, energy and saving water.
The parents included in the study were mostly Latino (72 percent) and low-income (76% percent). All participants completed pre- and post-surveys. Researchers also interviewed 17 of the parents to learn more about their experiences with receiving family learning activities, watching videos and completing activities. Participation data was collected using backend data from the platform used to send parents activities and media via text message. Forty-eight percent of families participating in the study clicked on at least half of the weekly links. The study suggests that parents can use brief informal STEM activities to share meaningful learning interactions with their families, gain new perspectives about their children and explore new parenting roles for themselves.
Parents can sign up for the Cyberchase: Mobile Adventures in STEM six-week program by texting “eco” to 30644.
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