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Digital Media Use for Learning During COVID-19

Fri, April 9, 2:45 to 4:15pm EDT (2:45 to 4:15pm EDT), Virtual

Session Type: Paper Symposium


Closures and guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic changed not only how much digital media people consume (Moore et al., 2020), but also how they use digital media for education, information, and entertainment. Although most educators used digital tools in the classroom prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (Vega & Robb, 2019), school closures forced them to find new ways to use these tools for fully remote instruction (Kardefelt Winther, 2020). Similarly, although parents used digital media to obtain parenting information or occupy their children even before the pandemic (Elias & Sulkin, 2019), COVID-19 may have intensified parents’ reliance on technology, as they used media to find information about supporting children’s well-being during the pandemic or to occupy children during school and childcare closures (Hartshorne et al., 2020).

The papers in this symposium explore how educators and parents used educational media during the pandemic, and how technology addressed their changing needs. The first two studies examine K-12 (Study 1) and early childhood (Study 2) educators’ experiences using technology to transition to remote learning. The third study explores the effects of digital Sesame Street parenting materials designed to promote preschoolers’ social-emotional learning broadly before the pandemic, and their social-emotional well-being during the pandemic. Together, these studies illustrate affordances and limitations of technology for supporting children’s learning and well-being during a pandemic.

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