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Research Opportunity

This summer, we hope to work with a summer program researching how to make learning to read something all kids are excited about.

This summer mPath is researching the big question: How can we better engage children in reading? Children who are behind in reading are often resistant to opening up a book and just starting on page one. Being forced to read and answer questions further cements children's dislike for literacy.  We are hoping to test innovative, technological solutions, tapping into social motivators, providing more choice in how children read, bringing questions in with readings, starting reading with activities that are not reading, and many other ideas.

We are looking for a summer program to research how to make learning to read something all kids are excited about. We are flexible in how we work with you. Ideally, we would be able to tutor children in a one on one setting - giving them small reading assignments and then interviewing them about their experiences (20-60 minute time frame). Ideally, sessions would be video taped and may include eye tracking as well. We will always have two trained adults present during the tutoring. Children typically enjoy the research process, giving them a break from normal activities and giving them personalized, one on one time to reflect on how they like to learn. 

In addition to individual one on one mentorship from an MIT research associate, we can provide your team feedback on what motivates individual children and how your program might better emotionally engage children. We are happy to present the results of our academic research as well. We also have research funding available for both programs and parents.

Ideal research partners would host 30 or more children over the majority of the summer. We are looking for 3rd to 8th grade children who ideally are behind in reading level and dislike reading. If interested, please reach out to Dr. Elliott Hedman, hedman@media.mit.edu.

 

About mPath

Our mission at mPath is to help organizations understand the emotional experience of children. We have helped companies like Hasbro, the LEGO Group, Curicullum Associates, and Sphero learn how their produts engage, stress, engage, frustrate, and excite children. We achieve this through using innovative technological research methods that help our clients identify when and how children emotionally react. Our research helps clients better empathize with the children they serve, which in turn allows them to tailor their products into a more engaging experience. As a result, we have reinvented board game instructions, helped make the first iPad LEGO instructions, and helped bring the BB-8 toy robot to market. While most of our research is centered on how children receive and react to stimuli, we have also extended our methods to help companies like Best Buy, Google, Estee Lauder, Colgate, and the Blue Man Group track adult reactions in similar ways, helping them better understand their target audiences. We are best known for our use of the MOXO sensor– a tool that measures children’s subconscious, emotional reactions to content. We also utilize wireless eye tracking MOXO glasses to track what children are looking at during any given point, and emototyping: evaluating customer’s emotional experiences with rapid iterations. With this combination of technology and observation, mPath is dedicated to giving a voice to a population being left out of the conversation, our children.

 

About Dr. Elliott Hedman

Dr. Elliott Hedman is the founder and Chief Design Researcher of mPath. He earned his PhD at the MIT Media Lab where he researched how digital tools could help occupational therapists better understand children with Autism and ADHD. Through the course of this work, he helped build out the MOXO sensor, a way to measure children’s subconscious, emotional response. While working for Google X and IDEO, he formalized ‘emototyping’ as a way to evaluate customer experiences. Hedman continues to explore how we can use technology and cutting edge research methods to better understand people. His work pushes researchers to bridge the quantitative/qualitative divide – numbers mean nothing without context and empathy. Metropolis Magazine named him as one of the “Select 10 Up and Coming Designers” of 2013, and Wired covered the benefits of his work in the article “How Sensors that Test Our Stress Could Revolutionize Product Design.”