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Team develops virtual reality game to teach children healthy habits

A Nebraska team led by Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created a virtual reality game that teaches kindergarten children about nutrition and physical activity.
A Nebraska team led by Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created a virtual reality game that teaches kindergarten children about nutrition and physical activity.

Trees line the horizon under a bright, cloudless sky. It’s a typical outdoor scene — except for the giant pineapple soaring overhead.

Kindergarteners playing the virtual reality game must make a decision: What is the name of the fruit they see?

Changmin Yan with Google Cardboard glasses
Changmin Yan holds Google Cardboard glasses.

With $15 Google Cardboard glasses and an interdisciplinary research team, Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created an immersive experience to encourage healthy habits for young children in rural communities — particularly those from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Full Article

Study: Strong parent-teacher ties drive positive outcomes for rural children

Amanda Witte, co-investigator, and Susan Sheridan, principal investigator
Amanda Witte, co-investigator and CYFS project manager, and Susan Sheridan, principal investigator

When parents and teachers work together, student behavior improves, along with their academic and social skills, according to a recent CYFS study.

Using the research-based program known as Teachers and Parents as Partners, the study examined how emphasis on strong relationships between schools and families in rural communities affects children’s outcomes. TAPP supports collaboration between teachers and parents to enhance students’ academic and social skills, and behavior. Full Article

Radio interview: Kunz discusses teacher coaching

Gina Kunz
Gina Kunz

Gina Kunz, CYFS research associate professor, shared her team’s research on teaching coaching Thursday, April 6 during the Paul Durban Show on KFOR, a Lincoln, Nebraska, radio station.

The team’s original study investigated how ‘coaches’—trained educators—can help teachers enhance instruction, particularly when using new instructional approaches. Their sample included middle and high school teachers in rural schools across Nebraska. Full Article

Witte selected as Rural Futures Institute fellow

Amanda Witte
Amanda Witte, project manager at the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools

Amanda Witte, CYFS project manager, has been selected to participate in an inaugural fellows program through the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute. As one of 15 faculty fellows, Witte was selected for her contributions to rural communities through research. Full Article

CYFS team releases rural research guide

A CYFS team has released a new working paper titled “Studying Educational Effectiveness in Rural Settings: A Guide for Researchers.”

The guide draws from experience gained while conducting research through CYFS’ National Center for Research on Rural Education, which was funded from 2009 to 2014 by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Full Article

CYFS team edits book on rural education research

Gwen Nugent
Gwen Nugent

After leading the National Center for Research on Rural Education, a team of CYFS researchers has edited a new book titled “Rural Education Research in the United States: State of the Science and Emerging Directions.”

When the team began their work, there were not books focused specifically on rural education research—a gap they aimed to fill, said Gwen Nugent, lead editor and CYFS research professor. Full Article

Project trains rural educators, encourages sustainability

CYFS project manager Amanda Witte and Rural Futures Institute director Chuck Schroeder. The Rural Futures Institute is funding a new project that is training rural Nebraska school personnel to facilitate TAPP, a family-school partnership model.
CYFS project manager Amanda Witte and Rural Futures Institute director Chuck Schroeder. The Rural Futures Institute is funding a new project that trains rural Nebraska school personnel to facilitate TAPP, a family-school partnership model. View photo gallery. For more information, visit the TAPP website.

As the school year begins at North Bend Elementary School, preschool teacher Morgan Root is supporting students of all grade levels with an evidence-based model developed by CYFS researchers.

Root is learning to facilitate the model, Teachers and Parents as Partners, as part of a new project focused on training rural school personnel. TAPP supports collaborative relationships between parents and teachers to improve students’ social, behavioral and academic outcomes. It also features a facilitator who guides the problem-solving process. Full Article