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OU academic honoured for use of technologies in children’s storytelling

Children using a tablet

An OU academic has been recognised for her research into the impact of multimedia personalized stories made by and aimed at young children.

Natalia Kucirkova, Professor of Reading and Children's Development at the OU and also at the Learning Environment Centre at the University of Stavanger, has been awarded the Jacobs Foundation Fellowship, a globally competitive fellowship program for early career researchers whose work is dedicated to improving the development, learning and living conditions of children and youth.

The fellowship, which was awarded on 23 November 2020, provides 150 000 Swiss Francs to Professor Kucirkova over a three-year period.

This will allow her to expand her research to combine innovative technologies with traditional research methods to enhance children’s literacy in three countries: Malawi, Norway and England. She will draw on insights from psychology, education, human-computer interaction and literary theories to develop optimal approaches to young children’s engagement with digital texts. Such texts can appear in various forms, and she will focus on those that can be created by children on tablets.

She said: “This fellowship will allow me to work closely with teachers, developers of apps, designers of algorithms and most importantly, with the children themselves. The more involved children can be in the process of research, development and use of new digital stories, the more they can be part of the change that is urgently needed in this area.”

Find out more about OU research into the lives of children and young people

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