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Bath's partnership with the Learning Foundation

The Learning Foundation partnered with researchers in the Department of Education to see how technology can support parental engagement on children's learning.

Eliana Maria Osorio Saez is a PhD student in the Department of Education at the University of Bath. She is currently working on a research project, which aims to identify conditions, under which technology is best used to get parents more involved in their children’s learning, and how that benefits the children’s long-term academic achievements. A portion of data used for analysis in this research comes from the Learning Foundation.

Providing access to technology to disadvantaged children

For 15 years, the main vision of the Learning Foundation has been to provide access to Internet, technology and digital skills development programmes to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through their cooperation with about 1,000 schools in the UK, they have reached 250,000 children.

With a supplied laptop or tablet, children and parents can gain access to platforms such as Parent Hub, which is designed for communication between teachers and parents. Teachers can share what topics are currently being studied, so parents can discuss these with their children, and get more engaged in the learning process.

Although over all this time, the Learning Foundation has been collecting surveys from parents and teachers about the benefits of their work, a comprehensive statistical evaluation of the findings was missing. And this is why Eliana and her research come in.

Analysing large-scale data

When asked about her research process, Eliana commented: 'I am working closely with my supervisors, Dr Janet Goodall being an expert in parental engagement, and Dr Andres Sandoval Hernandez, who focuses on quantitative research and inequalities in education.

'My research project has two stages: In the first one, we aim to identify the conditions under which technology is most effective in supporting parents' engagement. During the second stage, we will collect new data from schools, parents and children who have been supported by the Learning Foundation, and analyse children’s long-term learning achievements.

'In order to gain more insight into processing large scale data for social science research, my supervisor, a fellow graduate and I have applied for funding from the the GW4 Doctoral Student Training Scheme for a workshop on Secondary Analyses of Large-Scale Data Assessments.'

Bath through the eyes of a PhD student

Eliana comments on her time at the University so far: 'I have had an amazing experience at the University of Bath. Since I arrived, I have benefited greatly in my personal development and in my research development. I have been provided with opportunities to grow and develop different personal, professional and research skills and participate in academic events that have allowed me to gain additional experiences and connect with my experts in my field.

'I could not ask for better support from my supervisors, the director of studies, and other doctoral staff. Their support and enthusiasm has made me feel like very happy to be here, working on one of my passions in life, research. Without any doubt I would recommend studying at the University of Bath.'

Research in the Department of Education

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