Peg + Cat Early Learning of Math Through Media Summative Evaluation
The Peg + Cat ELM2 project sought to combine robust media-integrated teacher training in both math content and facilitation of classroom and family engagement activities with transmedia resources that parents and children could utilize at home. This cohesive approach resulted in increases in teachers’ confidence in and knowledge about their mathematics instruction, parents’ engagement in activities and conversations with their children around math, and children’s positive and persistent attitudes towards math, as reported by their parents. Taken together, these findings suggest that the Peg + Cat ELM2 project positively impacted teachers, parents, and children.
But what features of the project contributed to teacher, parent, and child outcomes? Teacher outcomes were mediated by their use of project resources. Most parent and all child outcomes were mediated by teacher confidence, teachers’ use of project resources, and parents’ use of transmedia resources. Parents’ use of transmedia resources was often a unique contributor to outcomes, such as the frequency that parents talked about math or engaged in math-related activities with their children, parents’ confidence in their own math abilities, and children’s interest in and persistence towards mathematics. Thus project resources, particularly transmedia resources, had an important impact on teachers, parents, and children.
Finally, the Peg + Cat ELM2 project generated some lessons learned regarding the ways that transmedia can support mathematics exploration. Transmedia appears to work best when it is leveraged across multiple settings. For teachers, this meant encountering Peg + Cat video clips, songs, online games, apps, and hands-on activities during PD, and then incorporating these resources into their classroom and family engagement activities. For parents, transmedia was introduced during family engagement activities in their children’s classrooms and carried over to the home through the Lending Box and other Peg + Cat take-home resources. This resulted in children experiencing math through media in various contexts - within daily classroom routines, during scaffolded family engagement activities, and in everyday life at home. In this way, transmedia was a pervasive thread that gave teachers, parents, and children an approachable and fun way to experience math together.