First study to assess technology use during COVID-19 – Open University

Young teen doing schoolwork at home after UK schools close due to the Coronavirus.

An OU academic is conducting an international study into the use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic so that it can inform future research projects.

Dr Hannah R. Marston, Research Fellow in the Health and Wellbeing Strategic Research Area, is using the COVID-19: Technology, Self-isolation, Health, Wellbeing and Leisure Activities as the first study which brings experts from the fields of social sciences, technology and gerontology together to assess the impact of the technology use from their perspectives.

Dr Marston designed the study based on previous research, and utilising her international contacts and networks, has been able to have the survey translated into a further three languages (Spanish, Catalan and Romanian). A further six translations are currently ongoing (German, French, Mandarin, Hindi, Turkish and Slovenian) and once ethics has been approved in the respective sites, roll out will commence.

“We have seen the role and importance that technology is playing during this pandemic, from home schooling, to social connectedness, quiz nights and keeping connected with other ecosystems,” said Dr Marston. Yet, it is vital to capture how technology is impacting our lives and ecosystems which we can learn from and advance future social science research.”

The online survey will run for three months in each site, and is open to participants over 18.

 “I’m thrilled to be leading this study with colleagues who I have known for some time while, other colleagues, I have not met. But we understand the importance and contribution the results will have on society, policy and citizens alike. We hope we can learn a great deal from each other, and it’s fantastic that Age Platform Europe have shown an interest in reading the results once they’re published.”

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