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role for home energy monitors in primary school energy education? A pilot study (summary document)
There is evidence from numerous studies that direct feedback on energy use, such as from a home energy monitor (HEM) which provides real-time information on rate of energy use, cost and other data to occupants can result in energy savings of 5-15% (Darby 2006). HEMs have previously been used in primary school energy education as a way of teaching children about home energy use with the added attraction that the homework element provides scope to increase other household members energy awareness. However, peoples experiences of using HEMs, as reported in the literature, are not all positive. For example, Hargreaves et al. (2010) found expressions of guilt associated with knowledge of energy use, and the potential for family dispute. Other problems are associated with homework which requires parental involvement, such as constraints on parents time, energy and knowledge (Hoover-Dempsey et al. 1995) and, again, family tension and dispute (Levin et al. 1997). As such, my research sets out to ask: what do children, parents/guardians and teachers think about the use of home energy monitors in primary school energy education? It is intended that the results should inform future research into the role of feedback and family in home energy use, as well as the design of energy education programmes. The research draws on theory from a number of key domains, but principally learning and consumer acceptance. The use of HEMs in the manner described can allow for experiential learning learning by doing in which learners are able to try something, get feedback on the result, reflect on this feedback, plan a new action and test it (and the cycle repeats). In addition, there is the potential for intergenerational learning (a goal which isnt uncommon in environmental education initiatives see Duvall & Zint 2007) and wider social learning as communities associated with the school discuss their experiences. These types of learning only have a chance to take place if the various parties involved accept the intervention. This acceptance is likely to be influenced by factors including perceptions of usefulness and ease of use (according to the technology acceptance model see Davis 1989), trust in the administering institution, and perceived risk. The research question is being explored through the use of focus groups with children (age 9-11), parents/guardians and teachers at two primary schools in north London (with an additional group conducted with fellow students at UCL Energy Institute). This method was selected to allow for the generation of a wide range of views on the subject from the main stakeholders in a manageable time period. The participating schools were chosen as their catchments represent a range of housing types and income levels, and the schools have different strategies with regard to environmental education. The individual participants have also been selected (as far as possible) with diversity in mind. Focus groups schedules were devised to solicit participants thoughts on the subject in relation to the theory discussed in the previous paragraph. All groups are being recorded for audio and the content analysed in NVivo. At time of writing three groups have been conducted one each with children, parents/guardian and teachers all at one of the schools. Analysis is only in the early stages, but I would like to present here several reflections and impressions regarding the conduct of the research and early results. Initial recruitment of schools to participate was not as challenging as envisaged indeed

people who are involved in environmental education in primary schools seemed very open to collaborating on this type of research (although it is acknowledged this this may divert attention from schools without an active environment programme). Securing participants and adequate time for the groups has, however, been more problematic and has led to concessions such as conducting the child group with a teacher in the vicinity (a nature garden) but not helping to moderate the session as had been the original intention (which lead to my spending time keeping discipline in the group, creating a more difficult dynamic for research). I also envisage some challenges in reporting my results while honouring the spirit of my confidentiality agreements, due to the fact that participants in the teacher group were also involved in recruiting parents and children to participate and would therefore be aware of who may have expressed certain opinions (even if they are unable to determine the precise individual). Some initial impressions from the groups: - - - The children, parents/guardians and teachers all responded with enthusiasm to the energy monitor. Wow! The children said they would be keen to try it out on appliances in their home and elsewhere. Id take it to the TV room. Id take it to my youth club. Teachers had stories of children getting their parents involved in environment-related initiatives before, and thought this could have a similar effect. One boys mum had said she hated gardening Now she has a love for it. Parents echoed this to an extent, and would be happy to help their child(ren) use the monitor but didnt really think it was childs role to think about energy, especially in relation to bills I dont think you should put that upon a child. It isnt always easy or possible for people to prioritize energy saving. Id love to make the environment better but were stressed out with other things in life

906 words References Darby, S., 2006. The effectiveness of feedback on energy consumption: a review for DEFRA of the literature on metering, billing and direct displays, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Davis, F.D., 1989. Perceived Usefulness, Perceived Ease of Use, and User Acceptance of Information Technology. MIS Quarterly, 13(3), pp.319-340. Duvall, J. & Zint, M., 2007. A Review of Research on the Effectiveness of Environmental Education in Promoting Intergenerational Learning. The Journal of Environmental Education, 38(4), pp.14- 24. Hargreaves, T., Nye, M. & Burgess, J., 2010. Making energy visible: A qualitative field study of how householders interact with feedback from smart energy monitors. Energy Policy, 38(10), pp.6111-6119.

Hoover-Dempsey, K.V., Bassler, O.C. & Burow, R., 1995. Parents Reported Involvement in Students Homework: Strategies and Practices. The Elementary School Journal, 95(5), pp.435-450. Krueger, R.A. & Casey, M.A., 2000. Focus groups: a practical guide for applied research, London: SAGE. Levin, I. et al., 1997. Antecedents and consequences of maternal involvement in childrens homework: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 18(2), pp.207-227.