IDC ’19: Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
SESSION: Keynote, Panels, Award
Playing with computers mostly means focusing on the mind, rather than the body. However,
children’s play teaches us how powerful experiences can be if the human body is involved.
In consequence, I propose to see the body as a design opportunity for unique human-computer
interactions, this enables us to “experience our bodies as play”. Drawing on phenomenology
to unpack what we mean by “body” and “experience”, I argue that designing technology
for the human body, whether for young children, teens or adults, is uniquely different
than designing for keyboard or touch. As such, I propose to put the human body into
the center of the digital play experience. I illustrate this thinking by presenting
recent work that puts the human body into the center of the digital play experience,
including a flying robot as jogging companion, family games for children in hospital,
3D printed heart rate souvenirs, shared reading apps, illuminated bicycle helmets,
on-body robotic arms, wireless pills and singing ice cream.
Interaction Design and Children (IDC) as an academic field, and as a community, has
a responsibility to engage with the many and diverse ethical challenges that arise
from work that concerns the creation of digital technology for and with children —
both in terms of research and industry contexts. This panel builds on a short history
of similar events at previous conferences and aims to foster and strengthen the debate
about ethical conduct and moral responsibilities in IDC. In this year’s panel, we
seek to broaden the discussion by collecting ethical concerns, issues or dilemmas
from within the community to be discussed at the conference. To this end, we will
issue an open call for input that will be publicised via the usual channels. The organisers
then will synthesise the responses and facilitate the discussion and debate at the
Successful collaboration between any two entities takes a lot of work, and understanding
the context and constraints within which each entity is working. In this highly interactive
panel, conference attendees will join the conversation and learning experience led
by a moderator and panelists who have years of experience collaborating. Hear their
— and share your — successes and failures in collaborating with industry and academia.
In 2017, Paulo Blikstein, Dor Abrahamson, and the Interaction Design and Children
Community established an annual award in the memory of Edith Ackermann to recognize
the work of two scholars, one emergent and one eminent. These individuals would be
acknowledged for their accomplishments but also tasked with a mission to complete
for the following year’s conference. Through a series of meetings they would produce
an artifact that would be shared with IDC. In 2018, Michael Horn was recognized as
the emergent scholar and Heidi Schelhowe was recognized as the eminent scholar. Through
a series of conversations culminating in an in-person visit, Mike and Heidi have written
this essay in which they share resonating themes from their conversations.
In this paper, we discuss the applicability of using design patterns to enhance the
participation of children in the design process. This is illustrated by a study in
which gameplay design patterns have been used to evaluate and re-design a collaborative
co-located game focused on training collaboration skills in a special education context.
The results show that patterns helped as a way of focusing the analysis of observations,
as tools for noting suggestions for change, supported the children’s involvement in
co-design activities, worked as an extendable collection of intermediate-level knowledge
elements, and that patterns functioned as a way to introduce a common vocabulary.
The contribution of this paper is a number of opportunities and challenges for working
with gameplay design patterns with children.
Teenagers have unique needs for mental wellbeing that can be supported by interactive
technologies. Teens also have valuable input in the design of technology, so designers
and researchers must seek new methods for involving them in the design process. We
enrolled 23 unacquainted teenagers in an Asynchronous Remote Communities (ARC) study
consisting of two private online groups. Teens participated in 10 weekly design activities
on stress management across three months. We found that teens sought support from
technology tailored to their perception of control in stressful contexts, developing
sense of self, and varying social needs, including asking for no intervention from
others. Teens appreciated that the ARC design experience allowed for flexibility in
participation and supported selective disclosure. However, there were limited interactions
between teenagers online. Reflecting on our study, we provide design implications
for tools to support teenager mental health and discuss how the ARC method can be
adapted for designing with teenagers.
Children’s interactions with social robots and other technologies are increasingly
longitudinal, especially in areas such as healthcare, therapy, and education. As such,
we need to understand how children perceive social robots over time and the kinds
of relationships they develop. Relatively few validated assessments exist that measure
young children’s relationships or their perception and acceptance of social robots.
Thus, we present pilot tests of two assessments created for use with children aged
4–7: the Picture Sorting Task and the Social Acceptance Questionnaire. Through a
single-session study and also a long-term study, we found that children responded
appropriately to the assessments and that the assessments could capture changes in
children’s perception and relationship over multiple encounters.
This paper reports on a study to understand the effects the MemoLine visualization
tool has on the interview process for evaluating long term user experience with children.
Modifications were made to the MemoLine to try to improve consistency in reporting
periods of no play. A within-subject design study was conducted using the MemoLine
with interviews, and just interviews, of a suite of educational games over a 12-week
period. The participants were 22 children, aged between 8 and 9 years, from a UK primary
school. Three constructs were analyzed: Game Play, Learning and Ease of Use. The results
showed that using the MemoLine’s visualization tool did not aid the children to recall
past experience in comparison to just conducting an interview. In addition, the changes
to the tool did not appear to aid consistency when reporting periods of no play and
the appropriateness of the MemoLine is critically reflected upon.
SESSION: Fostering Science
Haptic feedback displays are an emerging technology that have the potential to enhance
how children and their parents interact with and learn about science concepts. Yet,
we know little about how to design haptic feedback applications for science learning
or how children and their parents make use of these interactive features. This paper
presents the design and evaluation of TCircuit, an application for a variable friction
touch-screen display (i.e., Tanvas Tablet) that enables parent-child dyads to feel
electric current flowing through a circuit diagram by touching the display. We describe
results from a formative design study with 10 parent-child dyads that reveal which
texture patterns and mappings are most appropriate for representing the concept of
electrical current through haptic feedback. We also report results of a comparative
study with 40 parent-child dyads in a museum setting. Our analysis shows that dyads
in the haptic condition performed slightly better when predicting their answers to
learning tasks. However, we found that haptic feedback introduced new complexities
for how dyads perceived and discussed the exhibit content. We discuss the potential
for haptic feedback displays to support science learning, particularly in collaborative
settings, and design considerations for future systems.
Education research offers strong evidence that social supports, learning interventions
situated in meaningful social interaction, during learning can aid in developing interest
and promote understanding for the content. However, children are often asked to complete
homework tasks in isolation. To address this discrepancy, we build on prior work in
social robotics to demonstrate the effectiveness of a socially adept robot, as compared
to a socially neutral robot to generate situational interest and improve learning
while reading a science textbook. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment
(N = 63) of one reading interaction with either the socially adept or socially neutral
robot. Our results show that children who read with a socially adept robot found the
robot to be friendlier and more attractive, reported a higher level of closeness and
mutual-liking for the robot, had higher situational interest, and made more scientifically
accurate statements on a concept-map activity. We discuss the practical and theoretical
implications of these findings.
Although much has been written about the benefits of situated learning, its technology
implementations have remained bounded in space and time in the form of scheduled sessions
or designated spaces. Relatively little research has investigated how learning can
be situated in the messy world outside of formal learning contexts. We propose that
wearables like smartwatches, because of their intrinsic attributes such as persistence
and ease-of-access, present an apt opportunity to explore how such ‘messy’ situated
learning can happen. This paper investigates the notion of context in a 3-week study
whereby 18 elementary school students used a custom smartwatch app called ScienceStories
to record reflections related to specific science topics throughout the course of
their everyday lives.
We advance a context model of wearables as situated reflection tools, and present
our study findings that detail ‘when’ (time periods), ‘where’ (locations), ‘why’ (triggers)
and ‘how’ (interactions of contextual dimensions) children made science reflections
using the smartwatches. We conclude from our findings that a certain tension exists
between watch interactions for the purpose of reflections and real-life experiences.
We expected the watch to function alongside the child’s everyday life but evidence
points to a dialectic model. The work serves to inform the design of educational wearable
apps perhaps to eventually move towards becoming effectively context-aware.
Discussion Prompts to Support Family Engagement in Science: Talking about Astroengineering in Library-based Making Programs
Situated within a three-year design-based research project, this case study investigates
how families learned about astroengineering. Eleven families (11 adults, 12 children)
engaged in activities related to making a lunar rover in four library programs. To
support their engagement in design tasks and engineering thinking, think-pair-share
discussion prompts were employed between two- and four-times during workshops. Analyses
of the implementation of the prompts by the astronomer leading the program and the
family talk that resulted from the prompts found that parents were integral to supporting
participation in the engineering activities. Youths often did not answer the astronomer’s
questions directly; instead, the parents re-voiced the prompts prior to the youths’
engagement. The family prompts supported reflecting upon prior experiences, defining
the design problem, and maintaining the activity flow.
This paper explores how parents identify and use science and math media to engage
their preschool children in informal science and math learning. Through an interview
study, we examine parental beliefs about media’s role in their preschool-aged children’s
science and math learning. We report how parents approach finding and incorporating
different forms of media into their child’s informal learning and conclude with a
discussion of design implications for creating educational media for preschool-aged
SESSION: Lowering Barriers
Children use popular web search tools, which are generally designed for adult users.
Because children have different developmental needs than adults, these tools may not
always adequately support their search for information. Moreover, even though search
tools offer support to help in query formulation, these too are aimed at adults and
may hinder children rather than help them. This calls for the examination of existing
technologies in this area, to better understand what remains to be done when it comes
to facilitating query-formulation tasks for young users. In this paper, we investigate
interaction elements of query formulation–including query suggestion algorithms–for
children. The primary goals of our research efforts are to: (i) examine existing plug-ins
and interfaces that explicitly aid children’s query formulation; (ii) investigate
children’s interactions with suggestions offered by a general-purpose query suggestion
strategy vs. a counterpart designed with children in mind; and (iii) identify, via
participatory design sessions, their preferences when it comes to tools / strategies
that can help children find information and guide them through the query formulation
process. Our analysis shows that existing tools do not meet children’s needs and expectations;
the outcomes of our work can guide researchers and developers as they implement query
formulation strategies for children.
Machine Learning-based (ML) technologies impact many facets of our lives. Given ML’s
ubiquity, and the ways it offers creative computational possibilities distinct from
programming, we believe it could be a powerful tool for youth to leverage in making,
creativity, and play. We investigate how youth with no programming experience can
incorporate ML classifiers into athletic practice by building models of their own
physical activity. In this paper, we describe a design experiment exploring how to
introduce youth to making ML models within the context of their athletic interests.
We present AlpacaML, an iOS application that connects to wearable sensors and allows
young people to model physical movement using an ML classifier, and detail its use
in a three-hour workshop with middle- and high-school athletes. We found the youth
were able to collect data, build models, test and evaluate models, and quickly iterate
on this process. We finish with a discussion of why this is a promising direction
for the incorporation of Machine Learning into novice youth making, exploration, and
This paper employs facial features to recognize emotions during a coding activity
with 50 children. Extracting group-level emotional states via facial features, allows
us to understand how emotions of a group affect collaboration. To do so, we captured
joint emotional state using videos and collaborative experience using questionnaires,
from collaborative coding sessions. We define groups’ emotional state using a method
inspired from dynamic systems, utilizing a measure called cross-recurrence. We also
define a collaborative emotional profile using the different measurements from facial
features of children. The results show that the emotional cross recurrence (coming
from the videos) is positively related with the collaborative experience (coming from
the surveys). We also show that the groups with better experience than the others
showcase more positive and a consistent set of emotions during the coding activity.
The results inform the design of an emotion-aware collaborative support system.
Smart Homes Programming: Development and Evaluation of an Educational Programming Application for Young Learners
In light of the complexity of introductory programming for young learners, visual
programming has become more and more popular. In particular, block-based educational
programming systems have emerged as an area of active research. This paper introduces
an educational block-based programming application, enabling young learners to learn
and make programs in the context of smart homes. In this application, smart objects
have a set of primitive behaviors which can be integrated in the general features
of programming languages like variables, conditionals, loops, and functions. The programming
language is shown in a graphical interface to enable young students to program with
the application. The development and implementation of this application, along with
helping features for the students are described. In a pilot study with 20 7th grade
students, the application’s effectiveness and ease of use are evaluated. The results
show that students can fairly solve programming problems and make real programs in
the context of smart homes. Feedback of the learners is presented and discussed.
We present our exploratory work on globally inclusive online collaboration for schoolchildren
in India and Finland, using CityCompass, an online virtual navigational application
for conversational language learning. User studies with Indian children, who collaborated
with a Finnish researcher, showed several barriers towards communication and collaboration,
including issues from limited access to computers and gaming to socio-cultural effects
of a large power distance and face-saving. By adding a dramatized scenario, the Bollywood
Method, these barriers were reduced. Next, we replicated the study with Finnish children,
who collaborated with an Indian researcher. Here, previous computer and gaming experience
reduced the motivation towards communication. In this paper, we present studies conducted
in Finland, compare it with the Indian ones, and discuss opportunities for inclusive
collaboration between Indian and Finnish children. Overall, our findings indicate
that online collaboration is affected by differences in computer skills, video gaming
experience, and socio-cultural communication norms.
SESSION: Adolescents & Teens
Participating in physical activity (PA) is beneficial for adolescents’ physical and
mental development. Therefore, many studies have been conducted to design and evaluate
interactive interventions to facilitate adolescents’ PA. Despite the knowledge produced
by this large number of studies, the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) still
lacks a comprehensive set of guidelines to guide our design processes, help us make
informed design decisions, as well as provide niche for innovation. This paper reports
a systematic literature review of studies on technology-supported interventions in
adolescents’ PA. We reviewed 25 design related studies in HCI over the past 10 years,
analyzing 1) the process phases of design practice, 2) the design requirements and
related design decisions, and 3) how these phases and requirements are internally
related to each other and what are their influence on design value. Our findings suggest
four design phases with seven design requirements and its corresponding design decisions
emerged in the process of design. Furthermore, we outline a framework to demonstrate
the internal relations of design requirements. We generalize opportunities and challenges
for supporting the aforementioned design decisions making, and implementing the findings
for future design and research on technology-supported adolescents’ PA.
Youth content creators have been under-researched on video platforms such as Snapchat,
YouTube, Instagram, etc. In order to better understand the ways that technology could
support youth as content creators we conducted a 30-week series of workshops with
an intergenerational design team including pre-teen youth and undergraduate designers-in-training.
Qualitative analysis of workshop videos and notes revealed underlying challenges in
video creation related to the social dynamics of creating videos in groups. In line
with previous work, we note that a primary motivation for using social media is to
spend time with friends. We found that existing video technology reveals opportunities
and challenges to support the collaboration and interaction that motivates youth creators.
We offer illustrative designs of potential collaborations in video sharing technology
and propose that some of the concerns of youth social media use could be addressed
by incorporating more opportunities for social creation.
Enacting Identities: Participatory Design as a Context for Youth to Reflect, Project, and Apply their Emerging
Participatory design is an essential design strategy for creating artifacts and experiences
that reflect the voices of the population being designed for and with. The participatory
design process can serve not only to research resulting artifacts but also as an empowering
activity for those who participate. This paper explores how participatory design can
serve as a context for young participants to enact and voice their emerging identities
and reveals how different participatory design activities have unique affordances
for supporting this identity enactment. Focusing on a group of 12 and 13-year-old
African American girls, this paper presents a case study showing how participatory
design activities served as venues for the girls to reflect characteristics of their
current identities, project future identities, and apply aspects of their identities
to shape materials for others. In doing so, we contribute a case study showing how
participatory design allows participants to enact their identities, helping researchers
gain insight into characteristics of those they are designing with and for. This paper
advances our understanding of participatory design as a design approach for youth,
especially as it relates to issues of broadening participation, identity, and equity.
Brokering Data: Co-Designing Technology with Latina Teens to Support Communication with Parents: Leveraging
Cultural Practices of Latinx Youth through Co-Design
Adolescent Latina emotional health is positively impacted by open communication with
caregivers around issues important to teens, with many community health approaches
focusing on promoting teen-caregiver communication. However, little research has explored
Latina perspectives on the role of technology in framing and promoting such communication.
Through a participatory design study with eight Latina teens, a tool and memes that
challenge parental assumptions about Latina teen norms and behavior were co-designed.
Drawing on analysis of design discussions, memes created, and interviews with eight
Latina parents, we find that Latina youth viewed technology as a tool for creative
argumentation that enacted certain cultural practices. In turn, Latina parents reflected
on the authoritative source of the memes reconciling the subjective argumentation
of the teen voice with the perceived objectivity of open data incorporated into the
memes. Drawing on theories of brokering and Latina emotional health, we present theoretical
and design ideas for supporting Latinas to improve teen-caregiver relationships through
digital media creation platforms.
SESSION: Makers & Coders
Is My Game OK Dr. Scratch?: Exploring Programming and Computational Thinking Development via Metrics in Student-Designed
Serious Games for STEM
Computational thinking (CT) is key to digital literacy and helps develop problem-solving
skills, which are fundamental in modern school. As game design shows potential for
teaching CT, metrics like Dr. Scratch emerge that help scholars systematically assess
the CT of student-designed games, particularly with Scratch. Compared to other CT
metrics, Dr. Scratch scores the CT of Scratch projects automatically and can be used
to describe CT development. However, previous research using Dr. Scratch summatively
assessed CT, but did not look at CT development. We use Dr. Scratch to assess the
CT development of Scratch games designed by 8th-grade students in STEM curricula.
We show how CT proficiency in student-designed games develops differently in each
CT dimension, where parallelism, synchronization, and logic develop proficiently,
while developing abstraction seems hard. We discuss insights into game-based CT development
for STEM, and suggest improvements for metric-based CT assessment.
In recent years, researchers have focused on the design and implementation of maker
activities across formal and informal settings. As a result, the research community
is gradually articulating the challenges and design considerations relating to these
settings. These include: tools, facilitation, and curricular requirements. In this
paper we present the design and implementation of Tinkering with Music, a 10-week
youth club curriculum around popular music appreciation and instrument building with
electronics. Reflecting on our design and implementation, we report on: (1) our curricular
activities; (2) design challenges which we had to overcome throughout implementation,
and (3) a failure to engender long term engagement with tools and practices from the
Programs in the Palm of your Hand: How Live Programming Shapes Children’s Interactions with Physical Computing Devices
As physical computing devices proliferate, researchers and educators push to make
them more engaging to learners. One approach is to make the act of programming them
more interactive and responsive via live programming so that program edits are immediately
reflected in the behavior of the physical device. To understand the impact of live
programming on interactions with physical computing devices, we conducted a comparative
study where children ages 11-15 programmed a BBC micro:bit device using either the
MicroBlocks live programming environment or MakeCode, the micro:bit default environment.
Results show that MicroBlocks users spent more time interacting directly with the
physical device while showing different patterns of interaction compared to MakeCode
users. We also found variations in the differences between environments related to
activity structures. This paper contributes to the growing body of literature on how
the design of interfaces—like programming environments—for physical computing
devices shapes emerging interaction patterns.
Facilitation in an Intergenerational Making Activity: How Facilitative Moves Shift Across Traditional and Digital Fabrication
Intergenerational making activities provide an opportunity for family collaboration
where parents and children learn together. We discuss the facilitative moves that
emerged between researchers, parents, and children during a half-day making program
where participants played and created games. Four families with a variety of knowledge
of digital fabrication technologies participated in three activities: playing a variety
of games, designing and making their own games using arts and crafts materials, and
optionally utilizing digital fabrication tools to complete their games. We position
traditional fabrication and digital fabrication as two different modalities of making.
Accordingly, we examine the facilitative moves and behavioral shifts that emerge across
the two modalities and as observed through qualitative analysis. This work contributes
insights to the field on program structure and the ways formal facilitators and parents
can sustain child engagement in a making workshop.
Understanding the Practices and the Products of Creativity: Making and Tinkering Family Program at Informal Learning Environments
This study investigates how families’ sociomaterial experiences influence the creative
practices of novel idea generation and feasible solution generation and the products
during family workshops using littleBits as prototyping tools. We conceptualize creativity
as a distributed and materially-grounded activity. Methods are interaction analysis
on video-based accounts of 31 families’ activities and creativity assessment metrics
to analyze the novelty scores of families’ products. We take an exploratory approach
to understand families’ sociomaterial interactions in high and low novelty score groups.
Findings illustrate that collaborative idea exchange and ongoing generative tinkering
with materials support the emergence of novel ideas and feasible solutions.
We introduce PrototypAR, an Augmented Reality (AR) system that allows children to
rapidly build complex systems using paper crafts and to test their designs in a digital
environment. PrototypAR combines lo-fidelity prototyping to facilitate iterative design,
real-time AR feedback to scaffold learning, and a virtual simulation environment to
support personalized experiments. Informed by three participatory design sessions,
we developed three PrototypAR applications: build-a-bike, build-a-camera, and build-an-aquarium—each
highlights different aspects of our system. To evaluate PrototypAR, we conducted four
single-session qualitative evaluations with 21 children working in teams. Our findings
show how children build and explore complex systems models, how they use AR scaffolds,
and the challenges they face when conducting experiments with their own prototypes.
I’m Drowning in Squirrels!: How Children Embody and Debug Computational Algorithms Through Designing Mixed Reality
As mobile technologies become more ubiquitous, design work at the intersection of
mixed reality and embodied learning is growing. While much of this work focuses on
designing technologies and environments for children, we contribute a unique perspective
of children as designers of these technologies. In this paper, we explore how children
embody and debug computational algorithms through designing their own mixed reality
games. We conducted two afterschool workshops with 19 middle school aged children
(3 girls, 16 boys, ages 10-13) during which participants designed mobile, location-based
games with mixed reality technologies about local plants and animals. Findings reveal
how participants across workshops embody a key game mechanic (digitally spawning characters
in the real world) by engaging in an iterative digital-to-physical-to-digital debugging
process that led to their understanding of the underlying computational algorithm.
We further present design considerations for authoring platforms that allow children
to design with mixed reality, place-based technologies.
Designing for Impact: Shifting Children’s Perspectives of Civic and Social Issues Through Making Mobile
Within the growing movement to teach children computational skills and practices,
it is important to understand how children engage and identify with the content they
are designing. In this paper, we explore how children’s perspectives of civic and
social issues shift or do not shift as they make a location-based mobile game using
augmented reality and location-based mobile technologies. We conducted two workshops
with children, where they individually or in pairs created a narrative-based game
around civic and social engagement topics such as pollution, waste management, or
animal rights. We present one illustrative case in this paper to highlight how mobile,
augmented reality, and location-based mobile technologies afford impactful shifts
in perspective. Findings indicate that these technologies may contribute to a shift
in children’s perspectives about the world around them and in some cases may prompt
meaningful action towards civic engagement.
MaR-T: Designing a Projection-Based Mixed Reality System for Nonsymbolic Math Development
of Preschoolers: Guided by Theories of Cognition and Learning
Recent developmental studies state that nonsymbolic number representation (i.e., more-less
comparisons) is important for math development, and children’s judgment about such
non-numerical magnitudes can be affected by sensory properties (i.e., volume, space).
Yet, to our knowledge, there are no tangible based systems for training this math
concept. Building on theories of cognition and learning, we developed MaR-T, a projector-camera
setup. This paper is a step towards investigating the effects of projection-based
mixed-reality (MR) system with tangibles on nonsymbolic number representation of 3-
to 5-year-old children. We present our user studies with a total of 14 participants,
conducted to observe their interaction with the setup and the possible effects of
our design on learning. The results indicate that MaR-T can provide active, engaging,
and social learning, and our insights can inspire other interaction design and education
An Exploration of Using Virtual Reality to Assess the Sensory Abnormalities in Children
with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Sensory abnormalities are prevalent among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Precise and objective assessment of sensory processing is important for ASD diagnosis
and intervention. Traditionally, the assessment is done through psychological interviews,
observations, and questionnaires. While these methods have important diagnostic utility,
they are subject to biases and have limited resolution. Therefore, we explored the
potential of using VR, which provided objective measurements and a higher observation
resolution, to assess the sensory processing differences between children with ASD
and typically developing (TD). For this pilot investigation, we focused on visual
and touch processing. The system can record real-time behavioral data in high temporal
and spatial resolutions. An experimental study was conducted with six children with
ASD and six TD children aged 11-17 years old. Results showed that the system could
reveal sensory differences between these two groups. Strong and moderate correlations
were observed between the system’s detection and that of the most commonly used standardized
psychological assessment questionnaire of sensory processing.
Children are known to be curious and persistent questionaskers. The pervasiveness
of voice interfaces represents an opportunity for children who are not yet fluent
readers to independently search the Internet by asking questions through conversational
agents such as Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and the Google Assistant. Through a two-week,
in-home deployment study involving 18 families (children aged 5-6 and their parents),
we report on which questions children choose to ask the conversational agent, the
answers the agent provided, challenges in use, and their perceptions of the technology.
Based on our analysis, we identify several considerations for the design of voice-based
conversational agents that aim to support young children’s question-asking behavior
and subsequent development.
While the design of Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) has mostly focused on applications
for adults, VUIs also provide potential advantages for young children in enabling
concurrent interactions with the physical and social world. Current applications for
young children focus mostly on media playing, answering questions, and highly-structured
activities. There is an opportunity to go beyond these applications by using VUIs
to support less structured, developmentally appropriate activities. In this paper,
we describe our first step in pursuing this opportunity through an exploration of
voice agents to facilitate high-quality social play guided by a partnership with eight
3-4 year old children. During 24 design sessions, we explored making voice agents
tangible and enabling children to control what voice agents say. After analyzing the
sessions, we learned voice agents could help keep children socially engaged in play
and children liked incorporating the agents with the physical aspects of their play.
On the other hand, enabling children to control the voice agents caused distractions
In this paper we discuss why and how we combined the advantages of digital technology
with physical manipulatives to scaffold children’s learning of letter shapes, names,
and sounds. Tangible interactions have been shown to lead to greater learning gains
than traditional instruction in several contexts and subject matter. Yet most children
are learning their ABCs the same way as they were taught more than a hundred years
ago. If there was an engaging, interactive, hands-on alternative to learn the ABCs,
what would it look like? To answer that question, we embarked on a design-based research
journey based on continued user evaluations and redesign cycles informed by quantitative
and qualitative assessments. Inspired by Fröbel and Montessori manipulatives, we discuss
the design tradeoffs faced as playful learning goals balanced against constraints
including healthy screen time limitations, fine motor control, competing attention
targets, and choking hazards.
This paper explores how sound-based tangible toys can encourage children to engage
with sounds in their environment through active listening and collaboration with their
peers. Twenty-eight children, aged 3 to 4.5 years old, explored sound in their environment
through three toy prototypes. One toy focused on hearing sounds in relation to their
environment; such as traffic and children playing. Another toy explored the recording
and playback of their own sounds, being “caught” in a racket and blown out. The third
toy explored a combination of shaking in sounds, stirring them to manipulate them,
and pouring the mix out. This project uses a mixed-methods approach and is presented
as a step towards further studies comparing toys with different approaches to sound.
Strengthening early executive function (EF) skills has the potential to improve an
individual’s quality of life throughout their lifetime, a fact that has led to many
EF-training suites. In this work, we empirically investigate how children and parents
engaged with Cookie Monster’s Challenge (CMC), a tablet game designed to train EF
in preschoolers. Through analysis of child-parent co-play with CMC, we describe children’s
and parents’ thematic behaviors, documenting their effective and ineffective strategies
for engaging with the game, particularly when it challenged children’s EF skills.
We further show that these behaviors led to a small but significant short-term increase
in an unrelated EF task. Drawing on these patterns of interaction, we propose design
directions for EF training interfaces, such as increasing contextual relevance and
specific forms of scaffolding. Our work is the first illustration of how preschoolers
exercise their EF and inhibitory control by collaboratively using a commercial tablet
app together with a parent.
Open large-scale data sets (LSDS; ) and visualization tools have opened a new design
space for youth and family collaborative learning. Using a corpus of video-recorded
interviews, we examine how youth and parents together explore their personal family
migration histories—their geobiographies—and broader socioeconomic, historical
trends using dynamic data visualization tools. We introduce the Family Alignment of
data Models and Stories (FAMS) process to describe how parent-child interactions with
LSDS, through cycles of aligning family narratives to data, produce family stories
about migration. Applying the FAMS model to four family cases revealed that grounding
family narratives in jointly constructed interpretations of data sets encourages generative
co-constructions of those stories, which contrasts with family storytelling settings
in which narrators’ interpretations compete to become the basis for the accepted version
of events . We discuss how the FAMS model can facilitate deeper understandings
of intergenerational engagement with LSDS.
Story mapping is used in schools to promote children’s understanding of stories and
narrative structure. As a collaborative activity, it can support creativity and facilitate
group interaction. However, most techniques used in primary schools rely on visual
materials, which creates a barrier to learning for children with visual impairments
(VI). To address this, we set out to design a collaborative story mapping tool with
a group of children with mixed visual abilities and their teaching assistants. Using
co-design approaches over ten workshops, we designed and prototyped different ideas
for engaging children in storytelling and design. We present our co-design process
and findings, and the resulting story mapping system. We outline how using multisensory
elements can facilitate creativity and collaboration to help children with mixed visual
abilities create and share stories together, and support learning and social inclusion
of VI children in mainstream classrooms.
There is a growing concern that the pervasive individualized, digital means for connecting
with others is challenging family togetherness, such as Sherry Turkle expresses it
in her book entitled “Alone Together”. As a response to this concern, we explore a
new direction for designing technologies supporting families being ‘Together Together’
through using separate activities as drivers for shared activities in designing for
domestic family life. The direction derives from the use of Participatory Design techniques,
engaging six families in a series of in-situ workshops, envisioning how technology
can support shared domestic family experiences. We explore this design space through
the design of the STORIES prototype and we present the results from in-situ deployments
of the STORIES prototype. We conclude that designing for a combination of separate
and shared family activities is a promising approach in designing for Family Togetherness.
Gender is a major variable affecting identity and life opportunities from a young
age. Our research aims to explore the persistence of gender stereotypes in multimedia
stories created by children with the final purpose of attenuating this stereotypical
thinking by proposing new processes and tools. The paper investigates the following
research question: how can gender stereotypes be detected in the stories produced
by children with Digital StoryTelling? We addressed this issue by analyzing 23 multimedia
stories created by 83 children, aged 11-12 years. The main contribution of our work
is an evaluation methodology to detect gender stereotypes.
Mobile social media applications (“apps”), such as TikTok (previously Musical.ly),
have recently surfaced in news media due to harmful incidents involving young children
engaging with strangers through these mobile apps. To better understand children’s
awareness of online stranger danger and explore their visions for technologies that
can help them manage related online risks (e.g., sexual solicitations and cyberbullying),
we held two participatory design sessions with 12 children (ages 8-11 years old).
We found that children desired varying levels of agency, depending on the severity
of the risk. In most cases, they wanted help resolving the issue themselves instead
of relying on their parents to do it for them. Children also believed that social
media apps should take on more responsibility in promoting online safety for children.
We discuss the children’s desires for agency, privacy, and automated intelligent assistance
and provide novel design recommendations inspired by children.
Creating a Framework to Support the Critical Consideration of Dark Design Aspects
in Free-to-Play Apps
The majority of mobile apps are free-to-play and so include a variety of forms of
advertising and other mechanisms for monetization. These monetization mechanisms often
have deceptive elements and closely resemble what designers know as Dark Patterns.
In-app advertising and purchasing have been studied with adults but, to-date, younger
users have received comparatively little consideration despite their increased susceptibility
to manipulation. This paper addresses the gap in research by creating the ADD (App
Dark Design) framework which brings together insights from practitioners, theory from
existing related research, and the findings from a user study which gathered qualitative
data from 39 girls aged 12-13 years. We also derive a set of emerging issues and identify
future research questions. This work is the first of its kind to create a framework
to support the critical consideration of the design of free-to-play apps. We have
identified a set of problematic Dark Design aspects that young people across the world
are encountering in their apps every day and we hope this paper will both raise awareness
and stimulate further research work on this important topic.
A Framework of Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC): Characterizing the Gap between Research Evidence and Design Practice
HCI researchers have established a number of evidence-based design recommendations
for children’s touchscreen interfaces based on developmental appropriateness. Yet,
these recommendations are scattered within the academic literature and lack a cohesive
framework that makes them accessible to app designers. We created a framework of actionable
Touchscreen Interaction Design Recommendations for Children (TIDRC, “tide-rock”) by
conducting a comprehensive review of the relevant literature. We used our TIDRC framework
as a lens to empirically evaluate whether these evidence-based design recommendations
were implemented within 50 popular iPad apps designed for children. We found a significant
gap between research and practice. On average, only 63% of these apps followed design
recommendations for meeting children’s cognitive (51%), physical (67%), and socio-emotional
(72%) needs. We characterize the nature of this gap and discuss opportunities for
closing it when designing mobile touchscreen interfaces for children.
Electronic books (e-books) with audio narration are often touted as enabling pre-literate
children to read independently, which, indeed, is the most common way children utilized
e-books in the U.S. However, young children may have trouble navigating e-books, as
their cognitive and fine motor skills are still developing. Compared to print-books,
e-books lack the tactability and tangibility of print books and thus may pose additional
challenge to book navigation. To examine this issue, we randomly assigned 174 children
aged 3-5 to be read either a print book by an adult (n = 85) or an e-book with audio
narration (n = 89) and compared their page-turning behaviors, including disruptive
turning (i.e., turning before narration ends), delayed turning (i.e., being inattentive
for over one minute after the narration ends), and incorrect page-turning motions.
We found that screen-based reading imposes additional cost to children’s navigation
of the book, especially for children under four years old and those who are less experienced
with tablet devices. The learning curve to navigate e-books appears to be steeper
than that for print-books. Future e-book design may want to provide scaffolding for
young users and those lacking familiarity with touchsreen technologies.
SESSION: Work-in-Progress A
Internet usage continues to increase among children ages 12 and younger. Because their
digital interactions can be persistently stored, there is a need for building an understanding
and foundational knowledge of privacy. We describe initial investigations into children’s
understanding of privacy from a Contextual Integrity (CI) perspective by conducting
semi-structured interviews. We share results — that echo what others have shown —
that indicate children have limited knowledge and understanding of CI principles.
We also share an initial exploration of utilizing participatory design theater as
a possible educational mechanism to help children develop a stronger understanding
of important privacy principles.
In this work in progress, I explore five interaction designs for the highly variable
sensory needs of three neurodiverse children. I aim to create a repertoire of interactions
that can be employed in future systems aimed at inclusive play. The three children
in this work have educational labels of neurotypical, ADHD, and autism, but rather
than design for their general labels or IQ scores, I designed for their individual
sensory profiles. Based on clinical tools for sensory integration, I take the next
step in a long-term project—this is the second stage where I explore three users’
experience with five high fidelity VR prototypes across 26 user sessions. I aim to
understand how virtual environments and user interactions can support sensory needs—and
thus how to make future collaborative VR systems “sensory-accessible”. I contribute
empirical findings for accommodating sensory differences for neurodiverse children
regarding interaction design for children by tying clinically-supported design features
to sensory-inclusive techniques.
Child marriage is any marriage where one or both of the participants is under the
age of 18. Today, more than 12 million such marriages happen every year . Giving
children and the communities around them access to information about the dangers of
child marriage is crucial in order to change the cultural norms that enable and perpetuate
it. Mobile applications have so far seen sparse use to combat this problem. This paper
covers a project that looks to evaluate the effect of different design options for
mobile applications in this field. It covers seven different design approaches, as
well as the testing and evaluation of these in a case study amongst youth in Malawi.
During Spring 2019, an initial testing round will be held there in cooperation with
Plan International. There, we will gather feedback from local youths on what they
know and think about child marriage, as well as seeing how they interact with the
designs we have made.
For looked after and adopted children, physical objects are often the only remaining
link to their past; a portal to stories of birth families, former homes, and significant
people. Yet, often these stories can be littered with traumatic events preventing
them from moving forward with their lives. Through reminiscence of these stories and
attempting to develop narratives of past events, known as ‘life story work’, we can
help children to emotionally process their past. This paper introduces, trove, a digital
and physical memory box for storing and curating stories about precious objects. trove
creates a safe space for keeping these objects in transient environments and constructing
life story narratives.
Co-adapting a Design Thinking Activity to Engage Students with Learning Disabilities: Insights and Lessons Learned
Teaching students with learning disabilities about design thinking can prepare them
to be active co-designers of learning tools and resources that will ultimately benefit
them and their peers. In this paper, we outline an introductory design thinking activity
conducted with students with learning disabilities and share two specific and contrasting
student interactions that occurred during the activity. The two interactions highlight
how being able to engage in open, respectful, and constructive idea sharing can lead
to a more sophisticated and evolved design prototype. Student collaboration observed
also provides insight into improved ways to scaffold learners in introductions to
design thinking. We share lessons learned and ideas for how to modify this activity
to better support a positive introduction to design thinking experience.
Virtual reality (VR) offers potential as a prototyping tool for human-robot interaction.
We explored a way to utilize human-centered design (HCD) methodology to develop a
collaborative VR game for understanding teens’ perceptions of, and interactions with,
social robots. Our paper features three stages of the design process for teen-robot
interaction in VR; ideation, prototyping, and the game development. In the ideation
stage, we identified three important design principles: collaboration, customization,
and robot characterization. In the prototyping stage, we developed a card game, conducted
gameplay, and confirmed our design principles. Finally, we developed a low-fidelity
VR game and received teens’ feedback. This exploratory study highlights the potential
of VR, both for collaborative robot design and teen-robot interaction studies.
Design implications from Cognitive Event Analysis: A case study of digitally mediated interaction in autistic children
A key question is how technologies can influence social interaction in autistic children,
and how opportunities for interaction can embedded into design. Here, we present observations
from video recordings of autistic children playing with different technological interfaces
and use cognitive event analysis (CEA) to identify instances of child-led interactions.
Artefacts which fostered interaction include i) visual prompts for collaboration,
ii) multi-media feedback, and iii) expansion of opportunities through tangible interactions.
In a world that demands independent and cooperative problem solving to address complex
social, economic, ethical, and personal concerns, core social studies content is as
basic for success as reading, writing, math, and computing. Nationally, only 20% of
4th grade students are at or above Proficient level in U.S. History, the lowest among
the core disciplines of social studies. Reaching proficiency requires students to
ask more profound questions of the past as well as construct deeper understandings
of it. This research explores the intersection of natural language dialogue and intelligent
tutoring systems to enhance history learning of upper elementary students in 3rd and
4th grade. Elementary and middle school students were participants in a participatory
design study to extract their design needs for the development of an educational learning
technology for social studies.
Among the characteristics of people with Down syndrome is the difficulty in identifying
and expressing their own emotions. This difficulty stems from the lack of development
of their emotional awareness which can cause them anxiety, and depression when they
are exposed to significant situations in their lives, and they do not have the skills
to express their emotions.
In the literature, several works focus on using serious videogames to support motor
skills and literacy of children with Down syndrome. These show that the videogames
maintain children’s attention and motivate them to develop and practice the corresponding
skills. However, research exploring serious videogames to support emotional awareness
of children with Down syndrome is scarce. In this work, we present the design of a
serious videogame for supporting the emotional awareness of people with Down together
with the design process followed.
Our work is concerned with how embodied communication involving speech and gestures
may be mediated through mobile tele-robotics and augmented reality to support hands-on
distance mentoring. Following work in the psycholinguistics of embodied communication
(e.g., meaning is expressed through gesture, gaze, and speech), a four design-implement-test-deploy-evaluate
study was undertaken. We investigated whether and how powerful multimodal language
to support explanation and mentoring may be mediated over distance through the designs.
Children continue to use technology at an increasing rate, more and more of which
require authentication via usernames and passwords. We seek to understand how children
ages 5-11 years old create and use their credentials. We investigate children’s username
and password understanding and practices from the perspective of both children and
adults within the context of three security categories: credential composition (e.g.
length of password), performance (e.g. time to enter), and credential mechanisms (e.g;
a pattern or characters). We conducted a semi-structured interview with 22 children
and an online survey with 33 adult participants (parents and teachers) to determine
their practices and involvement in facilitating authentication for their children.
Our study illustrates how children have a limited understanding of authentication,
and that there are differences between children’s and adult’s understanding of good
authentication and security practices, and what they actually do.
In this paper, we describe a pilot study of a digital storytelling project conducted
with primary school children. The study investigates how comic-based storytelling
supported by a digital tool, named Communics, can facilitate primary school children
in creating stories and in reflecting on situations involving discrimination within
the classroom context. In a first stage, two teachers have been involved to negotiate
the intervention, as well as define graphical and textual content on which to base
the narrations in Communics. In a second stage, we piloted an intervention within
a class of 12 children to investigate the scaffolding opportunities offered by Communics
as well as different aspects of storytelling, as engagement and motivation, and explore
the use of the storytelling practice as a reflective process. Finally, we discuss
preliminary insights and suggestions for future studies.
Creative Learning Kits for Physical Microworlds: Supporting the making of meaningful projects using low-cost materials
Creative learning kits are physical, low-cost and easy to fabricate materials that
support creative learning experiences. The kits were designed to be used in the context
of physical microworlds: environments that support learning through the making of
personally meaningful projects. Since the microworlds were first proposed by Seymour
Papert in the 1980s, implementations of microworlds tend to use primarily technology-based
kits that require high-end materials like computers. In low-resourced settings, what
might the possibilities be to implement this approach using primarily low-cost and
familiar materials? To explore these questions, we present the design of four physical,
low-cost kits: Creature Creature Creation Kit, Interior Design Kit, Wearable Kit,
and Automata Kit.
Based on observations from initial tests in workshops with kids ages 6-8 years old,
we share some preliminary insights: children were not only able to create and express
themselves with the kits, but also able to see familiar materials in new ways. We
conclude by reflecting on challenges and opportunities for designing creative learning
kits that use affordable, accessible, and reproducible materials to implement physical
This paper presents a co-design project in a school with 16 children ages 10 to 11
in which three learning goals were defined upfront: creativity, empathy, and collaboration.
The first part of the paper demonstrates how these co-design skills were implemented
through an iterative process of explanation, practice, reflection, and application.
Based on the results of post-interviews and short questionnaires, the second part
discusses children’s assessments of these skills. Whereas children reported fluctuations
in applying these skills, the findings show an overall positive trend towards the
end of the project. In future work, these findings will be triangulated with observational
Affective technology is increasingly becoming common in everyday life. To better understand
how teachers perceive this technology in classrooms, and the role it can have in mediating
the emotions of their students, we interviewed elementary (PreK-4) teachers. Our aim
was to gain insights into how to design a child-emotion companion for the classroom
that is mediated by teachers. From our initial interviews, we identified four interaction
themes for child-emotion companions: perceived emotions, self-report contexts, playfulness,
emotional wellbeing. Our early findings show how different interactions and modalities
in a classroom space may change the way children perceive and communicate their emotions,
and how to improve their emotional wellbeing in a classroom. We also propose design
considerations that are illustrated through a low-fidelity prototype for future child-emotion
companion that are mediated by teachers.
In this paper we present ARCat, a tangible programming tool designed to help children
learn Depth First Search (DFS) algorithm with augmented reality (AR) technology. With
this tool, children could use tangible programming cards to control a search process,
rather than control virtual characters directly. With the special design of card semantics
and real-time feedback, the cognitive load of the learning process had been proved
to be affordable to children (ages 8-9) with the result of our preliminary evaluation,
which shows the possibility of basic algorithm education for young children with tangible
Genealogy and family history build the narratives of our family. By exploring these
topics, children can make concrete and personal connections to larger historical themes.
However, little is known about how to design genealogy and family history interactive
applications for children. In this exploratory study, we consider what children want
to know about these topics and how children want to interact with genealogical tools.
We conducted 2 co-design sessions using the Cooperative Inquiry approach, Big Paper
and Layered Elaboration, with an intergenerational design team that included 8 children
ages 7-11. Our exploratory results indicate that 1) children are more interested in
“fun facts” than kinship; 2) they are interested in geographical aspects of genealogy
and family history such as migration history; and 3) they express and develop interests
in broader historical topics such as artifacts from ancestors’ eras during the design
SESSION: Work-in-Progress B
Over the years, researchers have found an increase in learning problem among young
children especially related to writing. Among these is a drop in dexterity or developmental
dysgraphia due to a lack of fine motor skills. Also discovered is that handwritten
activities on paper help work out these problems and with the advancement in technology
in today’s day and age, better combative measures can be taken against these problems.
With Peppy, a mobile application using augmented reality (AR), our aim is to fight
these problems using technology as well as paper by augmenting it into something that
is both interactive and useful for child development. Although educational AR applications
already exist, they don’t focus on improving children’s fine motor skills using paper-based
exercises. Peppy brings enjoyable, thought-provoking and intriguing paper prototypes
consisting of colouring, games, and puzzles to life through AR.
Appropriately designed technology could help children feel less anxious by providing
play opportunities with familiar technology in clinical settings as paediatric hospitals
invest in making these spaces more child-friendly. However, the potential of technology-supported
play in hospital environments has not been investigated extensively. This project
thus aims at exploring how technology can support social play in a paediatric hospital
with young children. A participatory approach to game design has been adopted, and
a preliminary overview of children’s insights of the first app iterations is provided
As robots increasingly enter our daily lives, there is a need to understand how to
design robots capable of emotional interaction with humans, especially children, due
to their sensitivity and vulnerability. For example, robots that provide children
with social and emotional support might be more effective at also helping children
develop cognitive abilities, rather than designing robots that focus solely on helping
children acquire cognitive skill. In this paper, we examine the design of robots that
can provide human-like hugs as a particular form of social and emotional support.
We first discuss the need to design robots that can interact emotionally with children.
Then, we present the development of a shirt augmented with pressure sensors used to
collect data on how humans hug each other. Finally, we detail the design of “Hugbot”,
a soft robot that could use this data to give human-like hugs, and discuss our planned
future work on this system.
Repeated stress during adolescence has been shown to decrease cognitive function while
increasing rates of anxiety and depression. Eighty-one percent of teens report stress
stemming from their school environment and yet, schools are struggling to manage the
increase of teen mental health needs. Virtual-reality (VR) has been shown effective
at treating post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and pain due to its immersive
experience. The following paper presents a participatory, human-centered design process
utilizing teens as co-designers to develop a VR interaction intended to reduce stress.
We describe our co-design process including research, storyboarding, group interviews,
and prototyping of our thought disposal interaction. In addition, we discuss our design
of an immersive measurement tool to capture the immediate effect of the interaction.
Finally, we describe next steps and future research related to our project.
Misspellings in queries used to initiate online searches is an everyday occurrence.
When this happens, users either rely on the search engine’s ability to understand
their query or they turn to spellcheckers. Spellcheckers are usually based on popular
dictionaries or past query logs, leading to spelling suggestions that often better
resonate with adult users because that data is more readily available. Based on an
educational perspective, previous research reports, and initial analyses of sample
search logs, we hypothesize that existing spellcheckers are not suitable for young
users who frequently encounter spelling challenges when searching for information
online. We present early results of our ongoing research focused on identifying the
needs and expectations children have regarding spellcheckers.
We present our ongoing investigation into leveraging mixed reality (MR) to help students
learn coding more easily and with more fun. We have developed an MR coding learning
platform using Apple’s ARKit 2 on iOS, with a physical user-configurable coding game
board. Our approach could provide major benefits over conventional augmented reality
(AR) approaches for learning coding and debugging: (1) allowing teachers to tailor
the platform to their instructional needs, and spark creativity and engagement among
students in designing programming problems that interest them; (2) enabling students
to physically interact with a program, concretizing coding errors and providing real-time
visual feedback to aid students’ program understanding and reduce cognitive load.
We present our preliminary results that uses ARKit’s image tracking and object detection
to enable core mixed-reality interaction capabilities on our platform.
Augmented Reality is becoming an emerging trend in the development of play-and-learn
experience and increasingly accessible to children. However, there is a lack of understanding
of how to design AR games to effectively improve children’s learning experience, especially
with respect to the novel interaction and representation paradigms that AR affords.
In this study, we describe the design and the implementation process of different
interaction types (screen-touch and tangible interaction) and feedback mechanisms
(non-diegetic feedback and diegetic feedback) in an AR math game for children aged
7 and 8. We report the insights based on our current prototypes and discuss the design
implications for our future work.
Studies show that the academic performance and learning engagement of students can
be improved when teachers recognize how they may serve their culturally and linguistically
diverse classrooms. In this paper, we describe a study conducted with middle and high
school teachers in the United States and Brazil to develop Diverso, a tool that supports
teachers in shaping their instruction around the cultural backgrounds of their students.
When using Diverso, a teacher’s real needs provide the vehicle upon which culturally
relevant theory and strategies are delivered at the moment they are most relevant.
Diverso’s friendly, chat-driven interface allows teachers to describe their classroom
challenges and receive powerful theory and practices in return. While using the tool,
teachers build a critical understanding of how culture shapes learning and teaching.
Our preliminary results show Diverso’s ability to introduce new mindsets and teaching
strategies to teachers in a way that is efficient and engaging. We finish this article
by describing our reflections on this work and our next steps.
This paper presents the initial results of an ongoing research project to develop
a Math Word Problem (MWP) generator with engaging personalized content to improve
students’ math achievements and attitudes. A mixed methods study was used to observe
the interests of 5th-grade students’ and their attitudes and challenges as it relates
to MWPs. Among this study’s sample of students, we found contrasting interests that
are specific to several of their task values. The baseline data and interests received
through the interviews and the participatory drawing session will be used to inform
the development of the prototype.
This research investigates a novel approach to supporting classroom learning communities
through the use of proxemic interaction and ambient visualizations. Specifically,
community knowledge is embedded within the physical space of the classroom, with the
aim of mediating opportunistic inter-group interactions, instigated through proximity
and shared artifacts. This approach entails decomposing the community knowledge-base
into a collection of independent thematic sub-stores, and then conceptually distributing
those sub-stores to mapped, demarcated locations around the classroom, called “Knowledge
Places.” This necessitates physical movement among and proximity to those places in
order for students to contribute to or otherwise access their peers’ contributions
to the emerging knowledge-base. The present research studies the materialization of
Knowledge Places over the course of ten weeks within a sixth-grade life science curriculum,
with topics of food webs and ecosystems.
Design requirements can be gathered through a variety of ways; however, engaging teen
audiences in design process can be challenging. We present a novel method for engaging
teens in design through a social robot design challenge. Groups of teens participated
in the challenge to prototype a social robot that would live in their high school
and help address stress, a persistent and pervasive problem for this age group. In
this paper, we present our methods and share preliminary findings.
Children with autism have fine-motor coordination problems, which have a significant
impact on the execution of activities of daily living. To practice their fine-motor
coordination skills, they attend occupational therapy, which involves repetitive motor
activities. However, sometimes traditional therapy can be perceived by children as
tedious and boring. On the other hand, games-based therapy has shown to be effective
and more fun. In this sense, gesture-based video games, digital games with gestural
interaction as a game controller, might have the potential to support the fine-motor
coordination skills of children with autism. In this paper, we present the design
of a gesture-based video game to support the fine-motor coordination skills of children
with autism, with the goal to contribute to the proper execution of activities of
daily living, required for achieving independent living; and the process followed
in the design.
There are a variety of fitness technologies such as activity trackers, exergames and
mobile applications available to promote physical activity. Based on our previous
research, we found that children prefer having social interaction, a narrative and
flexibility while interacting with such technologies. Other research has shown that
persuasive displays encouraged adults towards physical activity. In this research,
we present the initial results from a user study conducted on 16 children (ages 6-11)
who used the Kidfit suite, a collection of mobile applications that combine and utilize
the elements found from previous research to promote activity in children.
Children with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) are required to manage their illness to alleviate
further long-term complications. Although children are expected to engage in appropriate
self-management activities once they become older, many of the children remain passive
actors in managing their condition. Due to the lack of knowledge and skills, as well
as changes in parent-child relationships, children demonstrate low self-care adherence.
Consequently, parents also face difficulties in defining their role in long-term care.
This study, part of a larger study, comprised of three phases: mobile app development,
prototype feasibility testing, and usability testing with child-parent dyads users.
As part of the third phase, this study used qualitative interviews with 24 child-parent
dyads to understand the existing facilitators and barriers in using the app. Our findings
suggest that users found that the app reminded them to track their blood glucose (BG)
values and facilitated child-parent communication in a user-friendly manner. By capturing
the emerging themes in adopting the app from the children’s perspective, we will iteratively
refine the app to better suit the users’ requirements.
This paper explores how a co-design process can be centred around pre-schoolers’ enjoyment
of constructive play practices, so that they, rather than adults, become protagonists
in a design process. The pilot study was conducted involving 25 children from 3-6
years of age in an intuitive three-step design process that allowed the children to
self-reliantly express themselves and make their own design decisions. Generative
tools, storytelling, and a set of open-ended design tasks stimulated the pre-schoolers
to design tactile 3D shapes. Observational data provided insight in the children’s
playtime and focus during the design process. The results showed that it is possible
for pre-schoolers to (1) establish focus on construction play (environment), (2) that
their explorative playing is led through distinctive phases of a design process (activity),
and (3) that they are able to construct something specific by playing (concept).
Self-evaluation is the ability to assess one’s work, and is a key element in the psycho-pedagogical
development of children with special needs in their path towards autonomy and self-determination.
Acquiring this skill requires explicit training and materials, and it is often cumbersome
and time-consuming. In this paper we present a study to ascertain to what extent systems
based on Augmented Reality (AR) are a suitable and less expensive alternative to help
children with cognitive disabilities to train self-evaluation skills in special education
schools. For this purpose, we have developed tablet application (BART) that offers
assistance to children with special needs to self-evaluate basic arithmetic operations.
The system was designed through the involvement of 2 educators, 2 experts on psycho-pedagogy,
and 2 software designers. The contribution of this paper is the description of BART,
an innovative system for children with special needs and a concrete plan for an empirical
study that is to be carried out on a short-term basis. Here we describe the methodology
that is to be applied to the proposed study and outline the main expectations about
the results and their implications in the issue of self-evaluation skills acquisition
for children in special education.
Participatory design practices create informed designs by bringing stakeholders into
the design process early and often. This approach is a powerful tool, especially when
the designer and the intended user are very different. This paper reports on work
in which researchers co-design pedagogical agents to support collaborative computer
science learning with elementary school students using an iterative drawing methodology.
In the open drawing phase, students drew what they believe good collaboration looked
like. Next, researchers analyzed those drawings under the requirements of the broader
project and created a drawing scaffold (similar to a coloring book page). In the scaffolded
drawing phase, students ideated within the more focused context. This process resulted
in actionable design guidelines for the appearance of pedagogical agents.
DEMONSTRATION SESSION: Demo & Art
How can computational media support young learners to collect and model measurement
data from their lived and contextualized experiences in the classroom? While Tinker
and Papert  discussed children’s use of electronic sensors in scientific inquiry
as early as the 1980s, children rarely have opportunity to create sensing devices
that interact with real-time computational models as part of the science curriculum.
I present a prototype of a heart rate system that integrates littleBits electronic
building blocks  with the NetLogo modeling platform . This is a proof-of-concept
design for what it might look like for children and K-8 teachers to have greater agency
in using sensors to collect and model perceptuomotor information that could otherwise
be difficult to measure or represent.
Effective note-taking strategies can benefit learners over a lifetime. Studies have
shown that students who take notes by hand learn more than those who take notes on
a laptop. Additionally, adding drawings to notes to represent concepts and relationships
significantly effects memory and learning. This practice of representing ideas through
diagrams and drawings in notes is referred to as visual note-taking. To engage learners
in taking handwritten visual notes, we developed VisualNote: (1) a toolkit that facilitates
purposeful practice of visual note-taking, and (2) a tangible tagging process that
allows for online storage of notes and sharing within class and amongst broader communities.
Guided by Universal Design for Learning (UDL), we took a constructivist approach to
provide alternative approaches of expression, representation, and engagement that
can be leveraged to equip learners with tools to pursue more pathways to learn and
make learning visible.
Novice music learners need to learn music theory to boost their musical self-expression,
but they are often intimidated by its abstract and symbolic representation. To harness
the musical intuition of novice learners and lower the barriers around theory, we
present Harmonious, a tangible interface where learners explore chord progressions,
reflect on their emotions, and build expressive confidence.
In this paper, we present the motivation for, and design of, City Settlers, a participatory
simulation. In City Settlers learners engage in collaborative embodied play, competition,
and sensemaking within the domains of sustainability, environmental complex systems,
and city building. Learners work in teams running separate but interconnected cities,
and need to deal with the interrelatedness of economic, ecological, and social systems
which are integral to understanding sustainable development. Competing over some shared
resources, and developing ad-hoc alliances during play — players have the ability
to optimize for different goals (industrial progress, agricultural progress, or social
longevity). Learners are also scaffolded to reflect on the ways different desired
goals lead to different individual and collective outcomes.
Twenty years ago, Carol Dweck published a seminal article showing that students with
a fixed mindset underachieve compared to students with a growth mindset. Many existing
approaches promote a growth mindset by teaching about neuroplasticity, but include
little interactivity and dynamism — two important aspects in neuroscience education.
We present Rewire, a web-based game that introduces students to neuroplasticity and
growth mindset through constructionist approaches. Learners build neural networks
using principles from neuroscience, such as Hebbian learning and myelination. In the
process, they build an intuition for how the brain changes and grows through targeted
effort and practice. In this paper, we reflect on the design mechanics that allow
students to discover neuroscience principles, and the game’s implications for future
work in teaching students about growth mindset.
A programmable battery is a tiny computer that children can use to control motors
and other devices by manipulating buttons on the board. Since it is simpler to use
than other programming and computational tools for children, no detailed instruction
is needed to start playing and designing with it. As a result, children can concentrate
on their creative activities related to the projects in the workshops. This design
also demonstrates the possibilities of computational tools as playthings for children.
Playtime is an important activity for child development as it stimulates as well as
predicts cognitive, motor, emotional and social skills. Children with autism may find
it difficult to socialize, particularly initiating and maintaining human interactions.
Consecutively, it is thought that playing with peers is often a challenge that many
children avoid by simply playing in solitary mode. We present the design of Mazi,
an e-textile sonic tangible user interface (TUI) designed with the aim of promoting
basic social skills; stimulating spontaneous, independent and collaborative play;
and providing sensory regulation opportunities. Mazi was tested in a Special Education
Needs (SEN) School based in NorthEast London, with a group of five minimally verbal
children with autism aged between 6 to 9. The results show great potentials for TUI
implementation in educational settings as a way of promoting social skills through
carefully designed playful and recreational activities.
WORKSHOP SESSION: Workshops
The Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Community has a long history of innovating
methods and techniques for the design and evaluation of technologies for children.
Many innovations have been reported in the academic literature but the uptake of methods
by industry has been slow and the community has hitherto failed to seriously consider
how best to develop, present and promote their methods beyond academia. The aim of
the workshop is to weave together IDC researchers and IDC key personnel coming from
the industry, with genuine interest in industry-academia collaboration, into a community
interested in building a coherent, high-impact collaboration channel. The goal of
the workshop is to encourage a critical discussion and debate about how IDC methods
can be further adopted, modified or even extended by the IDC related industry. This
workshop is expected to reinforce IDC industry-academia collaboration with an ultimate
goal to increase understanding and develop a community of interest that is going to
co-develop ideas and novel design approaches that can bring IDC methods closer to
the industrial practice
Today’s children spend considerable time online, searching and receiving information
from various websites and apps. While searching for information, e.g. for school or
hobbies, children use search systems to locate resources and receive site recommendations
that might be useful for them. The call for good, reliable, child-friendly systems
has been made many times and the thesis that the algorithms of “adult” information
systems are not necessarily suitable or fair for children is widely accepted. However,
there is still no clear and balanced view on what makes one search/recommendation
system for children good or better than other systems, nor on what content should
be considered “good enough to be retrieved” or recommended. The goal of this workshop
is to bring together researchers and practitioners in education, child-development,
computer science, and more who can address this questions while considering issues
related to education, algorithms, ethics, privacy, evaluation.
This one-day workshop will bring together a community of researchers, designers, practitioners,
and other experts who are interested in the responsible design of immersive media—or
augmented, virtual, mixed, and cross reality—for children, while taking into account
children’s developmental needs, equity, and inclusivity. At the workshop, participants
will discuss and make connections across their work, participate in hands-on activities,
and begin producing a set of design guidelines for immersive media for children, grounded
in their collective experiences, research, and knowledge of the field. After the workshop,
we will publish these guidelines as a white paper to distribute to interested industries,
developers, designers, and more to positively influence the thoughtful design of immersive
media for children.
Despite its inherent challenges, participatory design (PD) has unique benefits when
designing technology for children, especially children with special needs. Researchers
have developed a multitude of PD approaches to accommodate specific populations. However,
a lack of understanding of the appropriateness of existing approaches across contexts
presents a challenge for PD researchers. This workshop will provide an opportunity
for PD researchers to exchange and reflect on their experiences of designing with
children with special needs. We aim to identify, synthesize and collate PD best practices
across contexts and participant groups.
This course will cover child development frameworks from the “classics” that have
had a significant impact on interaction design, such as Piaget, Vygotsky, and Papert,
to more recent ideas, such as dynamic systems approaches. The materials presented
will include concepts such as embodiment, emergence, and plasticity. Hourcade will
examine how these frameworks can inform the design, implementation, and evaluation
of technologies for children with the goal of promoting healthy development.
This course will introduce quantitative methods for use in research on child-computer
interaction. We will discuss the types of research questions that can be answered
with quantitative methods. Experiment design, data logging, data analysis, and simple
statistical techniques will be covered. We will also cover important considerations
for conductive quantitative work with young children, especially attentional issues
that may affect data quality.
Digital technology is radically changing people’s lives and work in industry, finance,
services, media and commerce, and this requires a change in the education and training
arena as well. However, changes in educational practices are taking a long time to
reflect the increasingly pervasive use digital technologies in our 21st century society.
In this course I will draw from the experiences of introducing digital fabrication
and making to formal and informal education contexts using a solid craft- and project-based
pedagogical approach deployed within five interconnected stages: ideation, planning,
creating, programming and sharing. The course covers the use of making technologies
in education, detailing this design thinking and inquiry-based pedagogical methodology
as well as technological platforms that support the deployment of digital fabrication
and making tools within learning ecosystems. The course is carried out as a three-hours
practical session, including hands-on group work to develop a physical computer-supported
SESSION: Doctoral Consortium
Children with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) are at high risk of depression and
anxiety, which can be caused by loneliness and lack of friends. Friends becomes even
more important for young adolescents because of the value they place on peer acceptance.
Difficulty in social interactions makes developing meaningful relationships with peers
challenging for children on the spectrum. Researchers encourage the integration of
children with ASC into mainstream schools. But are these schools ready to be more
inclusive? How can we create an environment that can support friendship between children
with ASC and Typically Developing (TD) children? What role can technology play in
scaffolding peers interactions? The primary aim of this research is to answer these
questions and bridge the gap in the current literature by a) studying how children
with ASC can be supported in developing and maintaining higher quality friendships
and b) exploring the role of technology in creating such supportive environments.
The majority of teenagers experience high levels of stress and technology can help
increase access and engagement for mental health support. While it is important to
incorporate teens’ input in designing for their mental health, it is challenging to
involve teens in design research due to constraints in access and time burden on teens.
Researchers have feasibly used the method of Asynchronous Remote Communities (ARC)
to involve adults in design research on private online groups. In my dissertation,
I aim to use the ARC method to (1) understand the design needs of teens and clinicians
to support stress management and (2) develop and evaluate technology probes based
on evidence-based support for stress management. My work will contribute to the research
and design of future technologies to scaffold teens in learning healthy coping strategies
for their mental wellbeing.
Stories are powerful tools to share life, culture, and experiences with others while
promoting learning and engagement in the storyteller. Working with a group of high
school Alaska Native youth, this project will guide students through the process of
designing and creating digital stories to promote Indigenous voices and encourage
reflection. Twenty Southeast Alaska Native youth will create digital stories sharing
their experiences with culture and language revitalization on an immersion trip. The
final products and materials used for designing will be analyzed to identify the affordances
of digital storytelling tools the youth use, the level of reflection present within
their final products, and the cultural connections the youth make.
Face-to-face communication and collaboration are important aspects of children’s healthy
development. With technology becoming ubiquitous in children’s lives, we need to better
understand how to best support face-to-face activities when they use technology. My
dissertation research will support social physical activities for young children through
interactive technologies, where the technology does not distract or impede the social
and physical aspects of play. To obtain lessons from existing research, I conducted
a content analysis of research design trends relating to face-to-face collaboration
systems for children presented in publications between 1991 and 2017. I completed
the initial stages of a system to classify collaborative technologies, and I created
a system, StoryCarnival, which utilizes Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) to support high-quality,
creative social play. My contributions are the design, development, and evaluation
of technologies that best support social, collaboration activities through interactive
technologies for children under five.
Computer-Based Assessment (CBA), i.e., the use of computers instead of paper & pencil
for testing purposes is now increasingly used, both in education and in the workforce.
Along with this trend, several issues regarding the usage of computers in assessment
can be raised. With respect to CBA, test validity and acceptance appear at stake during
interacting with a complex assessment system. For instance, individual differences
in computer literacy (i.e. ability to handle technology) might cause different outcomes
that are not related to the problem-solving task. Prior investigation has shown that
there is a scarcity of research on the User Experience (UX) in the context of CBA,
also due to a focus on adult users. This doctoral thesis aims to adapt and develop
new evaluation methods from the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) field, applied in
the context of CBA. The contributions will result in the development of best practices
guidelines for both research and practitioners by adopting design and evaluation methods
drawn from the field of Child-computer Interaction (CCI).
Can Haptic Feedback Improve STEM Learning for Young Children?: Lessons from an Experiment and Teacher Focus Groups
The purpose of this dissertation is to evaluate whether young children playing a digital
STEM application (app) designed to explore the concepts of weight and balance learn
better from this experience when it is presented on a haptic tablet vs. the traditional
medium (Study 1). I also explore how early childhood educators might consider using
these haptic devices in their classroom to support STEM learning (Study 2). Results
from these studies will contribute to the literature on the effectiveness of haptic
feedback for preschool STEM learning and present the contexts in which educators think
these devices could be most useful in the classroom to support this important area
With the widespread infusion of technology into society, children (ages 5-11) not
only interact with technology but are also required to create and use credentials
in order to authenticate and use various platforms. My primary goal with this research
is to investigate children’s understanding and practices in terms of creating and
using credentials — across the globe. I describe an initial study conducted via semi-structured
interviews with children and an online survey with adults (parents and teachers),
that help us to understand the adult’s understanding of authentication and the role
they play in children’s credential creation and usage. Results shows that children
have limited knowledge and understanding of credential creation and usage and that
there is also a gap in adult’s theoretical knowledge and practical implementations.
This PhD project is multidisciplinary, at the intersection of Early Childhood Education,
Design, and Human-Computer Interaction. The PhD goal aim at developing new approaches
for early childhood education focusing on the role of body in the learning process.
We leverage digital tangible and interactive technologies to develop specific scenarios
that are evaluated in preschools. Our work proposes novel paradigms and uses of digital
technologies currently not found in typical preschool environments.
SESSION: Research & Design Competition
Digipack Pro is a backpack that facilitates youngsters’ social interactions and promotes
playful activities during social encounters. It combines wearables technologies with
universal design practices to transform an everyday item into a tool that supports
social inclusion and well-being. Here we present our contextualisation of the Digipack
Pro from several ideas of children around the world on issues of health, gaming and
EmotoTent is an interactive socio-emotional learning system developed in response
to escalating levels of violence, inequality and marginalization in schools seen in
the early 21st Century. The system is inspired by advances in biosensing wearables,
tattoo displays, brain sensors, robotic agents, artificial intelligence (AI), gestural
interaction and 3D holographic displays. By 2030, technological advances will enable
us to prototype and investigate questions related to experiential and embodied emotional
learning; emotion-based human-computer interaction, affective biosensing, empathetic
AI agents, and 3D interactive holographic environments. We envision EmotoTent as a
modular, emotion-sensing Holodeck. In the EmotoTent program children learn and practice
emotion regulation and empathy with peers, pets and a robotic dog agent in ways that
are experiential, embodied and playful. We propose EmotoTent as a core element of
a K-6 socio-emotional learning curriculum designed to improve school culture through
the enhancement of children’s ability to regulate emotions and interact with human
and non-human species with empathy and compassion. Enhancing these qualities has been
shown to lead to reductions in violence and bullying, racism, gender inequality and
other forms of marginalization. We predict that the EmotoTent socio-emotional learning
program will improve school cultures and create a foundation for children’s lifelong
Obesity in children is a growing cause of concern as it affects more than 18% of children
in the United States. Sedentary behaviour is one of the contributors to childhood
obesity. Technological interventions like activity trackers and fitness games have
been introduced to motivate both children and adults to be physically active. Most
of these technologies encourage activity by making them aware of their activity levels.
While awareness of current activity levels may help motivating adults, it can be difficult
for children to understand their activity levels in terms of number of steps (the
most common method used by adults). Instead children should be made aware of their
activity levels via simpler and easier to understand technology. Within this context,
we present KidLED — an LED activity display that represents user’s activity via a
simple color display rather than numbers — designed to simplify activity tracking