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Q-Bot, the Quarantine Robot: Joint-media engagement between children and adults about quarantine living experiences

Sonia Tiwari (Department of Learning Design and Technology, Penn State University, University Park , Pennsylvania, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 24 June 2020

Issue publication date: 27 July 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

Information about the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine can be challenging to communicate to children. The purpose of this study is to understand how a children’s eBook can help facilitate conversations between children, families and educators about the pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

A children’s eBook Q-Bot: The Quarantine Robot was shared by the researcher with parents and teachers through social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). The story provides information (based on CDC guidelines) on the best health and hygiene practices to avoid catching the virus, while also drawing attention to the hardworking people who are helping us through this experience. Data was collected as public comments on the eBook. Secondary data included other children’s eBooks available on the same theme and their public reviews.

Findings

Through open coding of comments, the researcher found that the children’s eBook helped in facilitation of discussion between children, parents and teachers; around the pandemic’s effects on health and hygiene practices; and remote learning experiences. A content analysis of other children’s books on this theme revealed a set of guidelines for designing helpful eBooks for pandemic quarantine situations in general.

Research limitations/implications

Education, media and health researchers may find this study helpful in understanding the potential of children’s eBooks as probes, prompts or communication tools.

Practical implications

Experts in pandemic-related issues, educators, illustrators and authors may find this study helpful in understanding guidelines for creating educational children’s eBooks for similar situations in the future.

Originality/value

Both theoretical and practical values are addressed through this study, as it provides helpful literature from past research, offers new insights from current study and guidelines for future work in narrative media design for the pandemic and other similar situations.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This article is part of the special issue, “A Response to Emergency Transitions to Remote Online Education in K-12 and Higher Education” which contains shorter, rapid-turnaround invited works, not subject to double blind peer review. The issue was called, managed and produced on short timeline in Summer 2020 toward pragmatic instructional application in the Fall 2020 semester.

Citation

Tiwari, S. (2020), "Q-Bot, the Quarantine Robot: Joint-media engagement between children and adults about quarantine living experiences", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 5/6, pp. 401-409. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-04-2020-0075

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited