Michael Fell
What role for home energy monitors in primary school energy education?

Author: Michael Fell, UCL Energy Institute.

Title: “What role for home energy monitors in primary school energy education?”


Home energy monitors – devices which provide real-time feedback on electricity use – have occasionally been employed in primary school energy education. Using them in this way is interesting because they afford children the opportunity to experiment with and reflect on energy use in their own home. Furthermore, because fitting a monitor requires some parental involvement their use provides fertile ground for the study of intergenerational education and influence. Such programmes may, however, be controversial in some respects. For example, they potentially provide the child with greater agency with regard to home energy use decisions (which in turn extends to home finances through energy bills), traditionally the domain of the parent or guardian – a potential source of conflict. With the aim of throwing light on this and other possible issues, this research asks the question: “What do children, parents/guardians and teachers think about the use of home energy monitors in primary school energy education?” Working with two schools in the London area in April and May 2012, focus groups will be conducted with children aged 9-11, parents/guardians and teachers to help elicit a range of concerns and perceived benefits around the use of energy monitors in this context. Factors such as school location, housing types of participants and level environmental engagement will be taken into account. The results of this study will help inform future research into learning (both in children and adults) in relation to energy, and assist in the design of programmes which employ energy monitors.

The DARE Collaborative is a research partnership focused on the digital arts in education, led by the UCL Institute of Education and the British Film Institute. It has a membership of university researchers, teachers and educators in cultural organisations with an interest in arts, media, culture and new literacies in the context of education and digital media.
Centro en Investigación Avanzada en Educación