Table of Contents
IDC ’22: Interaction Design and ChildrenFull Citation in the ACM Digital Library
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 1.1: Children with Special Needs
Interactional synchrony, the spontaneous coordination of movements during interaction, is increasingly considered important in research on the development of non-verbal communication by autistic children. There is evidence that interventions using embodied-interaction technologies to support interactional synchrony are possible, but we do not have a shared framework in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) for designing and evaluating such systems. We discuss existing measurement and evaluation tools used in experimental psychology and consider how the prevalent approach could be adapted to naturalistic HCI study contexts, with input from domain experts. We report on an exploratory case study evaluating a full-body interactive musical system with a group of ten autistic children. We provide methodological recommendations for the evaluation of future systems focusing on interactional synchrony, highlight limitations of current measurement tools and suggest mitigations.
This paper presents a systematic review of HCI literature focusing on children with ADHD, the prevailing mental health diagnosis in children. Its aim is to (i) chart the state-of-the-art in this domain (e.g. methods used), (ii) identify the ways the HCI community has addressed the needs of children with ADHD (e.g. technologies deployed), and (iii) describe the involvement of the various stakeholders playing a role in their everyday experiences (i.e. their care ecosystem). Our findings show limited engagement of the care ecosystem in the design, development and user studies of current technologies, and shortcomings in designing for multiple ecosystem stakeholders, despite their crucial role. We also find that most HCI contributions are systems aiming to address ADHD-related symptoms. Based on our findings, we provide suggestions for further research and design considerations for future systems that empower and promote the well-being of children with ADHD, while considering their care ecosystem.
Signing-on-the-Fly: Technology Preferences to Reduce Communication Gap between Hearing Parents and Deaf Children
Over 90 percent of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) children in the United States are born to hearing parents, who have little to no command of American Sign Language (ASL). This leaves the majority of DHH children at risk of language deprivation in early childhood. This study investigates the design space of Augmented Reality (AR) and wearable technologies in supporting hearing parents to offer sign language environments for young DHH children. We conducted an online survey with 65 participants (hearing/DHH parents and teachers of DHH children aged 6 months to 5 years) to gather preferences and interests of technologies that support hearing parents to deliver ASL on-the-fly, and stay attentive to the DHH child’s visual attention during joint toy play. We found that Near-Object Projection is most preferred for real-time ASL delivery, and haptic feedback is most preferred for raising the parent’s awareness of a child’s attention. Results also show a strong interest in using the proposed technologies in interacting with and maintaining joint attention with DHH children on a daily basis. We discuss key design recommendations that inform the design of future technologies that support just-in-time and contextual-aware communication in ASL, with minimal obtrusion to face-to-face interaction.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 1.2: Learning & Design Theory
Lessons Learned and Future Considerations for Designing Remotely Facilitated Co-Design Studies with Children Focused on Socio-Emotional Experiences
The IDC community has a rich history of developing new methods for involving children in design research. However, few papers discuss developing new remotely facilitated co-design approaches. Fewer still focus on the challenges of eliciting discussion and generating design ideas around subjective experiences involving emotions, feelings, and thoughts. We argue these are of growing need in a post-Covid world. In this paper we contribute a methodological design rationale for a remotely facilitated co-design study aimed at addressing challenges related to ethically eliciting reflection on, promoting ideation around and capturing data of children and families about their personal Covid-19 experiences. To illustrate our methods, we provide exemplar cases of data collected from our participants to show the type of data that can be elicited using our methods. Lastly, we contribute considerations for future methods design based on a selection of our lessons learned.
In this paper, we explore the role of learning theory in the Child-computer interaction (CCI) community’s leading venues: the Interaction Design and Children (IDC) conference and the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction (IJCCI). Searching all publications in the IDC conference proceedings and IJCCI, 63 papers that use the word stem ‘learn*’ in title, abstract and keywords were included in the corpus. Based on an analysis of these papers, our semi-systematic literature review demonstrates that assessment of learning regarding transfer of learning and controlled groups is rare, that the main role for learning theory is application, and that four main theoretical positions on learning can be recognized: constructivism, constructionism, cognitive theories, and socio-cognitive theory. The paper further presents an overview of how and which learning theories are used, and outlines paths for future CCI research based on the results.
In this pictorial, we present an approach to using documentation as a means to enable learners and facilitators to recognize and reflect on learning. We build on an approach developed by the Reggio Emilia network of schools in Reggio Emilia, Italy. We share our iterative design and describe our approach where facilitators documented families’ experiences making and tinkering with construction kits such as Scratch and Makey Makey. Facilitators then reflected on, curated, and shared documentation with families. We illustrate this approach with documentation from three families. We conclude with reflections on what these visuals of learning afford for interaction design.
Mapping the Changing Landscape of Child-Computer Interaction Research Through Correlated Topic Modelling
As the field of child-computer interaction (CCI) develops and forms an increasingly distinct identity, there is a need for reflection upon the state of the field, and its development thus far. This paper provides an overview of the thematic structure of the CCI field in order to support such reflection, expanding upon previous reviews through implementation of a correlated topic model, an automated, inductive content analysis method, in analysing 4,771 CCI research papers published between 2003 and 2021. Prominence of research topics, and their evolution, are explored. Results portray CCI as a vibrant and varied research landscape which has evolved dynamically over time, exhibiting increasing specialisation and emergence of distinct subfields, and progressing from a technology- to needs-driven agenda. This analysis contributes an extensive empirical mapping of the CCI research landscape, facilitating reflection upon the field and its development, and revealing gaps in extant literature and opportunities for future research.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 2.1: Learning & Embodied Interactions
Grasping Derivatives: Teaching Mathematics through Embodied Interactions using Tablets and Virtual Reality
Grasping mathematics can be difficult. Often, students struggle to connect mathematical concepts with their own experiences and even believe that math has nothing to do with the real world. To create more concreteness in mathematics education, we focus on the role of the body in learning, and more specifically, embodied interactions for learning derivatives. In this project, we designed an embodied game to teach derivatives, and validated our design with a panel of experts. We then used this prototype to explore different embodied interactions in terms of usability, sense of embodiment, and learning outcomes. In particular, we evaluated different degrees of embodied interactions, and different types of embodied interactions in Virtual Reality. We conclude with insights and recommendations for mathematics education with embodied interactions.
Designing Physical Objects for Young Children’s Magnitude Understanding: A TUI Research Through Design Journey
Magnitude understanding, an understudied topic in Child-Computer Interaction, entails making nonsymbolic ‘more-less’ comparisons that influence young children’s later math and academic achievements. To support this ability, designing tangible user interfaces (TUIs) demands considering many facets, ranging from elements within the physical world to the digital design components. This multifaceted activity brings many design decisions often not reflected in research. Therefore, we present this reflection via our research through design process in developing a vital design element, the physical form. We share our (i) physical object design criteria elicitation for magnitude understanding, (ii) hands-on making process, and (iii) preliminary studies with children engaging with objects. With our insights obtained through these steps, we project how this physical object-initiated research inspires the TUI in the upcoming steps and present design takeaways for CCI researchers.
Children often perceive abstract concepts such as chemistry as difficult, and teachers struggle to convey content knowledge in these subjects. In this pictorial, we address the need to promote the interest for chemistry in children by developing a multi-layered Augmented Reality serious game that uses storytelling, character design and game mechanics to connect and engage young audiences with chemistry: the Periodic Fable an Augmented Journey. Our contribution relies on the design and development of the system to convey content knowledge about the Periodic Table while fostering the children’s interest and challenging their possible daunting perception of the domain. After designing and implementing the game, we conducted an exploratory study using a mixed-method approach engaging 21 young participants from a public school to assess the learning gains and the role of storytelling through levels of narrative transportation. The results show positive perception and learning outcome of chemistry, narrative transportation showcasing an opportunity for a unique form to approach chemistry using an edutainment format.
Balance Board Math: “Being the graph” through the sense of balance for embodied self-regulation and learning
Balance Board Math (BBM) is a new balance-based interface for math instruction. BBM integrates disparate work on embodied cognition and on sensory regulation to offer learners integrated opportunities to both self-regulate through movement and to use their sense of balance as a resource for conceptual understanding. This approach imagines beyond common views that self-initiated background activity, such as fidgeting, is unproductive for education. With a sensor-equipped balance board and dynamic real time display, BBM’s Balance Graphing activities offer users opportunities to playfully explore and embody different aspects of functions and graphs such as frequency and amplitude. We conducted an in-depth study with 6 school-aged children to examine how their movement and personal sense of balance were used for both self-regulation and to make sense of mathematical concepts through BBM. By inviting learners’ regulatory movements to serve as an interaction resource for exploring mathematical concepts, BBM offers a new genre of sensory-responsive design that could better serve instructional differentiation.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 2.2: Learning and literacy
Art education plays a central role in early childhood development, and museum outreach programs can significantly enhance art education experiences for K-2 learners in schools. Increased demand for remote learning environments where students and teachers are not co-located has forced educational contexts to adopt technology-mediated learning. However, little research has investigated how technology can integrate museum content into fully remote, K-2 school art education. We elicited design requirements for K-2 art education platforms in a needs assessment study through surveys (N = 22) and interviews (N = 4) with educators. We created a typology of existing platforms, which we evaluated against these requirements. We identified a key unmet need for students to receive feedback on their fine motor skills, and, in response, we created a prototype system with interactive scissors called Chameleon Clippers. We demonstrate its potential to provide this feedback through preliminary user tests with 4–7-year-old children (N=12).
”What color are the fish’s scales?” Exploring parents’ and children’s natural interactions with a child-friendly virtual agent during storybook reading
With increasing integration of AI-powered agents into educational technologies available to families with young children, the landscape of how caregivers and children interact together or separately with these technologies is underexplored. Understanding the nature of these interactions could critically inform the design of educational technologies to facilitate children’s learning, research methods for use in future studies involving adult-child dyad technology use, and policy decisions regarding the use of educational technology with young children. In this study, we explored the natural interactions among parent, child, and a child-friendly virtual rabbit character named Floppy. Floppy is a virtual agent in a Smart Speaker app that models adult dialogic reading and conversational strategies for use with young children (ages 4-6 years). Over a span of four to six weeks, 18 parent-child dyads read The Rainbow Fish, a classic children’s book by Marcus Pfister, during 24 at-home, remote sessions with Floppy. Of the 189 conversations generated during this time, 125 were initiated by a prompt spoken by Floppy. Though there were some variations among the dyads, across all conversations, parent-driven interactions made up 63% of the conversations, followed by child-driven conversations at 15.3%, Floppy-driven at 14.3%, and Floppy-and-parent-driven at 7.4%. A select few parents were more comfortable having their children interact directly with Floppy, whereas the majority of the parents would direct children’s attention back to themselves or help children understand the questions by repeating or reformulating Floppy’s prompts. More than half of the parents reported that their children formed emotional connections with the virtual character. These findings point to a need to clearly define the role of virtual agents, even ones with limited AI, in this type of triadic interaction.
Supporting children’s writing activities is a primary concern in elementary-school grades. Using embodied means such as visual stimuli through pictures or motion pictures has been shown effective in supporting children’s writing. To guide children during the writing activity, contextual cues are usually provided in face-to-face classroom practice with interactive instruction from a teacher. This paper explores the design of an interactive online system for video-scaffolded writing with contextual cues. In our online study with 13 children, we explored two approaches to designing contextual cues: temporally situated and visually situated. Participants were divided into two groups, each using a web-based interface to watch an animated video and write the story guided by one of the cue designs. We analyzed the children’s writing process and outcome in both groups. Our results show that temporally situated cues support a stronger overall story structure, while visually situated cues support more descriptive and interpretive writing.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 2.3: Computational Literacy
MoDa: Designing a Tool to Interweave Computational Modeling with Real-world Data Analysis for Science Learning in Middle School
Coordinating modeling and real-world data is central to building scientific theories. This paper examines how a complementary focus on modeling and data contributed to 8th grade students’ learning of mechanisms underlying wildfire smoke spread in MoDa, a web-based environment that integrates computational modeling side-by-side with real-world data for comparison and validation. Epistemic network analysis of student responses in pre-post tests revealed a shift from primarily macro-level explanations to explanations that integrated macro and micro-level explanations of the phenomenon. Video data analysis revealed three design elements that contributed to student learning: Naming of the blocks, match between data and model visualization, and collective reflections on models. We reflect on implications for the design of environments that integrate computational modeling with real-world data analysis.
What Do You Meme? Students Communicating their Experiences, Intuitions, and Biases Surrounding Data Through Memes
Memes have become ubiquitous artifacts of contemporary digital culture that integrate visual and textual components in order to communicate about a topic. They can be used as forms of visual argumentation that draw on cultural references while facilitating critical commentary that typically results in humorous and caustic dialogue. In this paper, we investigate the meme creation tool, DataMeme where middle school students explore graphs then construct GIFs using existing Gyphy GIFs and overlay their own text onto them in order to communicate about the meaning behind the data. We explore the ways the students engaged in data reasoning and their argumentation practices as they communicate through their memes. Findings from our analysis of 56 data memes and the corresponding written explanations from the students, show that data memes allow students to evaluate data claims within their broader societal implications, while also expressing personal beliefs and attitudes about data.
Supporting Critical Data Literacy in K-9 Education: Three Principles for Enriching Pupils’ Relationship to Data
Children grow up in a data economy but grasping how their data are part of this eco-system and how data become valuable to others can be difficult. This work explores how to design tools and activities which support children’s critical data literacy for K-9 education. We bring together two strands of work; First, insights from a co-design process where teachers and researchers designed tools and activities for teaching critical data literacy which they deployed in a lower secondary education classroom. Second, insights from didactic theories from maths and computer science education about working with multiple and rich representations of complex and intangible phenomena. Based on this we contribute three principles for enriching pupils’ relationship to data in order to inform future research into how pupils can be scaffolded in forming richer relationships to the data-driven technologies in their everyday lives in order to retain agency in a data-driven world.
Prior work has broadly explored empowering children to learn to program by making video games. However, such work has rarely considered the role of families in this learning, leaving many open questions about how inter-generational collaborations might support and constrain learning. To investigate these opportunities, we conducted a family-based study of TileCode, a rule-based programming platform for video-game programming, and scaffolded a 4-week series of game programming activities with 19 children (9 to 14 years old) and 16 parents. Using a joint media engagement lens to analyze family knowledge and programming strategies, we found: 1) families demonstrated many dynamic collaboration patterns distinct from pair programming and other collaboration models, 2) parents played a unique role in scaffolding and guiding more complex designs and programming tasks, 3) families found it challenging to start their games from scratch but benefited greatly from having programming patterns for particular game behaviors. These findings suggest the need for game programming platforms to design around the unique kinds of collaboration in inter-generational domain-specific programming.
Using video analysis and learning analytics to understand programming trajectories in data science activities with Scratch
In this paper, we describe a new automated tool to analyze how students create their projects on Scratch 3.0, with the goal of understanding learning trajectories in a way that considers students’ programming processes and practices, moving beyond the analysis of computational thinking concepts as evidence of learning. Drawing on a combination of qualitative video analysis and temporal learning analytics, we also present preliminary data from a pilot study that illustrates some possibilities afforded by this type of analytical tool. We expect that our tool can help researchers to better understand learning in the context of data visualization activities with block-based programming languages by shedding light on processes that are usually invisible and, thus, better support students in their diverse learning pathways.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 2.4: Learning & Coding
CodeStruct: Design and Evaluation of an Intermediary Programming Environment for Novices to Transition from Scratch to Python
Transitioning from block-based programming environments to conventional text-based programming languages is a challenge faced by many learners as they progress in their computer science education. In this paper, we introduce CodeStruct, a new intermediary programming environment for novices designed to support children who have prior experience with block-based programming to ease the eventual transition to text-based programming. We describe the development of CodeStruct and its key design features. We then present the results from a two-week long programming class with 26 high school students (ages 12-16; M=14 years) investigating how CodeStruct supported learners in transitioning from Scratch to Python. Our findings reveal how learners used the scaffolds designed into CodeStruct to support their transition from blocks to text, and that transitioning to CodeStruct reduced completion time (1.98x) and help requests (4.63x) when compared to transitioning directly to Python. Finally, learners that used CodeStruct, performed equally well (and slightly better in 10/16 programming activities) in their final transition to fully text-based Python programming.
The role of fun in learning, and specifically in learning to code, is critical but not yet fully understood. Fun is typically measured by post session questionnaires, which are coarse-grained, evaluating activities that sometimes last an hour, a day or longer. Here we examine how fun impacts learning during a coding activity, combining continuous physiological response data from wristbands and facial expressions from facial camera videos, along with self-reported measures (i.e. knowledge test and reported fun). Data were collected from primary school students (N = 53) in a single-occasion, two-hours long coding workshop, with the BBC micro:bits. We found that a) sadness, anger and stress are negatively, and arousal is positively related to students’ relative learning gain (RLG), b) experienced fun is positively related to students’ RLG and c) RLG and fun are related to certain physiological markers derived from the physiological response data.
Reimagining and Co-designing with Youth an Hour of Code Activity for Critical Engagement with Computing
In this paper, we examine a co-design workshop in which youth redesigned a learning activity for critical engagement with computing for the Hour of Code, an annual event that offers hour-long introductory computing activities to youth. We conducted co-design workshops during summer 2021 in two cities with 12 youth of Color (ages 11-15 years), in which we employed different reflective, collaborative and making activities to investigate youths’ critical perceptions of computing and address the following research questions: (1) What are the perspectives of youth from groups historically marginalized in computing on critical issues in computing? (2) What kinds of projects do youth create in Scratch to address critical issues in computing? and (3) How do youth reflect on the learning activity and make changes to implement it with their peers? In the discussion, we address what we learned about co-designing a critical computing learning activity with youth.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 3.1: Well-being & Sustainability
Many children suffer from sleep problems which can be detrimental to their development and well-being. Treating clinicians rely on sleep diaries to assess how patients experience sleep. Currently used sleep diaries are made for adults and parents are asked to fill them in for their children. Digital sleep diaries for children could provide more reliable reports and enhance children’s involvement in their treatment. We report on the design of Snoozy, a chatbot-based sleep diary for children eight to twelve. Following an informant-based design approach, we: 1) interviewed clinicians and parents 2) involved children as co-designers (N=8), user-test participants (N=17) and field-test participants (N=5). Earlier works have examined the potential of chatbots in non-clinical personal informatics for children. Our study demonstrates how children can report on sleep-related experiences to clinicians, through a chatbot that asks clear and guided questions and communicates with kindness and empathy.
This short paper introduces Energy in Schools, an interactive platform designed to improve energy efficiency in UK schools through a combination of environmental measurement and behavioural change. Uniquely, Energy in Schools is designed to empower all the stakeholders within a school, including children, teachers and leadership groups to reduce their energy costs and carbon emissions. The paper reports on the motivation and design of the platform, a discussion on how interactive materials and educational activities were developed to raise awareness and understanding of energy and the climate emergency, how children led activities were used to instrument and analyses energy use via child friendly Internet of Things technologies. Finally, an analysis of its success in encouraging behavioural change through the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of a live deployment across 20 schools is presented. Overall, it was observed that encouraging multiple stakeholders to work together interactively can decrease energy consumption in the majority of schools by over 5%.
Designing with Feeling: How Students Constructed Embodied Participatory Simulations for Groups of Younger Learners to Understand and Care About Sustainability in Ecosystems
Technological supports for collective, embodied ideation that were only dimly envisioned by 20th century futurists are now solid fact. For instance, advances in location tracking, mixed reality, and agent-based modeling have converged, enabling groups to collectively construct and animate shared, dynamic representations in real time. Pre-existing genres of activity may support activity design here, including participatory simulations; interactive theater; embodied play; or games. However, if we want emerging tools for collective ideation to be expressive for all groups, we need to attend carefully to how participants themselves conceptualize their potential. This paper describes a project that engaged high-school students in designing embodied participatory activities for groups of younger students, about a topic they selected as important: sustainability in social-ecological systems. Students’ design work was diverse and generative. We focus here on one emergent theme: design decisions that aimed to evoke particular feelings in participants, to foster learning and reflection on actions.
“There are a LOT of moral issues with biowearables” … Teaching Design Ethics through a Critical Making Biowearable Workshop
There has been an increasing focus on teaching youth about design ethics as part of technical literacy. Biowearables are an emerging technology in which devices worn on children’s bodies are used to track, monitor and provide feedback about their biological processes. In this paper we describe an online critical making workshop designed to enable students in middle school years to develop technical literacy skills that include reflection on issues related to design ethics. We investigated if and how our workshop enabled eleven youth, aged 12-14, to reflect through processes of making their own biowearable, on potential negative impacts of biowearables on their developing senses of identity, agency, autonomy and authenticity. The workshop elements included facilitated activities using custom created biowearable-tangible kit and ethics cards. Through qualitative coding and thematic analysis of moments of reflection captured with video, chat, and design journals we gathered evidence of the feasibility of promoting critical making as a means to cultivate technical literacy in youth. Our findings suggest the potential of teaching design ethics through critical making workshops and reveal a range of ways that reflection on ethical issues can be supported during making. We interpret our empirical evidence to further explore how workshop elements supported, or failed to support, learning outcomes and generalize our interpretations to propose preliminary guidance about workshop mechanisms that might be used to support ethical reflection during making.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 3.2: Social Robots & Agents
Spatial understanding and communication are essential skills in human interaction. An adequate understanding of others’ spatial perspectives can increase the quality of the interaction, both perceptually and cognitively. In this paper, we take the first step towards understanding children’s perspective-taking abilities and their tendency to adapt their perspective to a counterpart while completing a task with a robot. The elements used for studying children’s behaviours are the frame of reference and perspective marking, which we evaluated through a task where players needed to compose instructions to guide each other to complete the task. We developed the interaction with an NAO robot and analyzed the children’s instructions and their performance throughout the game. Our initial findings demonstrated that children tend to compose their first instruction by following the principle of least collaborative effort. Children significantly changed and adapted their perspective, i.e. frame of reference and perspective marking to the robot, mainly when the robot failed to follow their instructions correctly. Additionally, results show that children tend to create a mental model of their counterparts and the robot changing that frame of reference might affect their performance or the flow of the interaction.
“Don’t let the robots walk our dogs, but it’s ok for them to do our homework”: children’s perceptions, fears, and hopes in social robots.
Children’s fears and hopes regarding technology play a crucial role in influencing its development, impact, and social acceptance. Although studies investigate children’s perceptions of social robots, there is a need to better understand how hopes and fears influence children’s views of the future. In this paper, we present the outcomes of a study in which we explored 60 children’s (aged 8-14) perceptions of social robots using ten fictional scenarios. From data analysis, we elicited four major themes that become the pillars of a model that represent children’s perception of social robots (agency, comprehension, socioemotional features, and physicality). The model shows the complex and often paradoxical nature of children’s acceptance (hope) and rejection (fear) of social robots in their lives. Our outcome provides the foundations of a new responsible approach in analyzing and designing social robots for children using hopes and fear as a lens.
Understanding Factors that Shape Children’s Long Term Engagement with an In-Home Learning Companion Robot
Social robots are emerging as learning companions for children, and research shows that they facilitate the development of interest and learning even through brief interactions. However, little is known about how such technologies might support these goals in authentic environments over long-term periods of use and interaction. We designed a learning companion robot capable of supporting children reading popular-science books by expressing social and informational commentaries. We deployed the robot in homes of 14 families with children aged 10–12 for four weeks during the summer. Our analysis revealed critical factors that affected children’s long-term engagement and adoption of the robot, including external factors such as vacations, family visits, and extracurricular activities; family/parental involvement; and children’s individual interests. We present four in-depth cases that illustrate these factors and demonstrate their impact on children’s reading experiences and discuss the implications of our findings for robot design.
Conversational agents (CAs) have gained increasing presence in learning settings. Researchers have explored perceptions of CAs among children and adults, but rarely among teenagers. Understanding how teenagers conceptualize CAs contributes to designing systems to facilitate productive learning for this population. In this study, we surveyed 73 participants in two age groups (30 participants aged 12-13; 43 participants aged 14-15) about their perceptions of a text-based agent’s competence, trustworthiness, and sociability. We asked participants to describe in writing their ideal CAs that incorporate modalities beyond text, such as sound and gesture. We found that younger participants generally viewed the prototype agent as more competent, trustworthy, and sociable. This group more frequently related the agent designs to curricular contexts, while the older group referenced experiences with virtual assistants to desire broad-domain competence. Findings illuminate considerations of experiences in designing CAs’ interactivity and narratives.
Research in child-robot interactions suggests that engaging in “care-taking” of a social robot, such as tucking the robot in at night, can strengthen relationships formed between children and robots. In this work, we aim to better understand and explore the design space of caretaking activities with 10 children, aged 8–12 from eight families, involving an exploratory design session followed by a preliminary feasibility testing of robot caretaking activities. The design sessions provided insight into children’s current caretaking tasks, how they would take care of a social robot, and how these new caretaking activities could be integrated into their daily routines. The feasibility study tested two different types of robot caretaking tasks, which we call connection and utility, and measured their short term effects on children’s perceptions of and closeness to the social robot. We discuss the themes and present interaction design guidelines of robot caretaking activities for children.
SESSION: SESSION: Paper 3.3: Computational Thinking & Makers
Child-centred design acknowledges the significance of a child’s input during collaborative design processes, allowing the potential residing in their imagination and experiences to come forth. However, when younger pre-schoolers —3–6-year-olds—are involved in participatory research, it is difficult for design researchers to connect diverse children towards collaborating on fruitful design outcomes while accepting pre-schoolers’ own-initiated play expressions. This paper argues that by incorporating enjoyment of construction play, pre-schoolers can provide distinctive insights concerning key co-design themes: participation, design activities and material exploration. This study proposes a plaything with intent methodology that scaffolds serious exploratory design process embracing the pre-schoolers’ unpredictable higgledy-piggledy behaviour. Results demonstrate that this methodology enables the empowerment of pre-schoolers as self-reliant stewards while (a) capturing their voice of self-expression effectively, and (b) achieving a self-determined specific design concept. As further outcome, a dialogue tool that enables reflexivity concerning participant experiences within participatory inquiries was produced.
Nurturing children’s competences needed for their digital futures and inviting them to adopt a protagonist role within design process have recently been emphasized in child-computer interaction research. For children to be able to act as design protagonists, they need design capital. We carried out a project with 13-14-year-olds and inquired under what circumstances the situated design capital of children emerged, enabling them to act as design protagonists without us deliberately steering them towards that. By employing the theoretical lens of nexus analysis, several factors were discovered that mediated children to utilize their situated design capital, including distributed agency, positive peer pressure, peer learning, and identity positioning. The findings imply that children’s situated capital emanates from interactional phenomena, within which historical trajectories of the place, children, discourses, ideas, and objects intermingle.
Design Factors Affecting the Social Use of Programmable Robots to Learn Computational Thinking in Kindergarten
Programmable robots designed for preliterate children are one of the options being explored and put into practice for teaching computational thinking skills to children in preschool and kindergarten. Classroom use of these robots may involve use by groups of children due to cost, logistical, and pedagogical reasons. To understand design factors affecting the social use of these robots, we explored the use of three programmable robots with distinctive design characteristics in a kindergarten classroom. Our findings suggest that programmable robot designs that may work well for use by individual children may cause difficulties when shared by groups of children if not all children in the group are able to easily perceive the input (program), output (robot actions), or program state. Based on these design factors we provide recommendations for the design of programmable robots, their evaluation for social use, and for addressing design limitations with support by adult facilitators.
Typical educational robotics approaches rely on imperative programming for robot navigation. However, with the increasing presence of AI in everyday life, these approaches miss an opportunity to introduce machine learning (ML) techniques grounded in an authentic and engaging learning context. Furthermore, the needs for costly specialized equipment and ample physical space are barriers that limit access to robotics experiences for all learners. We propose ARtonomous, a relatively low-cost, virtual alternative to physical, programming-only robotics kits. With ARtonomous, students employ reinforcement learning (RL) alongside code to train and customize virtual autonomous robotic vehicles. Through a study evaluating ARtonomous, we found that middle-school students developed an understanding of RL, reported high levels of engagement, and demonstrated curiosity for learning more about ML. This research demonstrates the feasibility of an approach like ARtonomous for 1) eliminating barriers to robotics education and 2) promoting student learning and interest in RL and ML.
My:Talkies is a tangible learning kit for teaching basic concepts of communication devices through expressive making with children (ages 11-14). The My:Talkies prototype comprises of a pair of two paper templates for embodying the communication entities, micro:bit boards, and paper potentiometers for analog to digital encoding. Through pilot studies with eight children and expert review sessions with ten out-of-school educators, we report the design affordances of our prototype and implications of design for future revisions. We found that the kit supported youth in learning through making with personal narratives to grasp abstract concepts such as transmitter/receiver and encoding/decoding. In the expert review, out-of-school educators positively evaluated that the kit is easy to use, good for teaching communication devices, and recommendable to others. The paper concludes with a discussion on the future work informed by observation from the pilot study and design suggestions from the educators.
SESSION: SESSION: WiP 1: Designing for Learning and Engagement
To inform the design of personally meaningful computational learning experiences for young people, it is necessary to investigate children’s perceptions of coding, such that new learning experience designs can better leverage their funds of knowledge. We conducted focus groups with 20 young children in two coding workshops to learn their perceptions of coding. The young participants mainly form their perceptions of coding based on past coding- and computer-related experiences and typically associate coding with controlling the computer, creating projects, expressing ideas, playing video games, and the language for communicating with the computer. Importantly, young children might not know the right strategies to debug code but try practices like restarting the device and deleting the whole code. Based on the findings, we highlight the pedagogical implications to design productive computational learning experiences for young people.
Design of the Participatory Learning Experience: Teachers’ new roles as designers of engaging design and maker-based learning experiences
Design and maker-based approaches in education provide opportunities for younger generations to learn many future competencies, but how these approaches and practices are introduced to students and scaffolded in classrooms is of increasing interest among researchers. This paper aims to describe key elements that were used as the design principles for the Participatory Design (PD) project designed for and implemented for lower-secondary school level students (13-14 years). The project was designed by the researcher in collaboration with the craft teacher. The overall design of the project, learning goals and pedagogical arrangements based on earlier studies, and the researcher’s experiences in craft, design, and maker education in Finland, is presented. Selected key elements are reflected based on the first look of the versatile data from the researcher’s and teacher’s perspectives. Students’ voices are briefly presented through open-ended questionnaire reflections. In future work, our aim is to evaluate in more detail which elements of the learning design supported and enabled the participation of students. These insights might be valuable for others designing PD projects for formal education.
This research explores how teenagers interacted with food-related TikTok content and how this influenced their eating behavior and practices. Using 186 surveys and five interviews, we show how teenagers think of healthy eating and what actions they took after being inspired by TikTok. We find that teenagers take inspiration from TikTok food content in different temporal stages, from immediately trying out new food items to long-term diet planning. We discuss potential design opportunities to support teenagers’ social use of TikTok food content in online and offline contexts.
Conversational agents’ ability to communicate in natural language through voice and text interfaces poses an opportunity in helping children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop their social communication skills. In this paper, we describe the design of Amy, a conversational agent that explains social situations to help guide a child in understanding when to use socially appropriate behavior. A breathing exercise feature for emotion regulation is activated when a negative emotion is detected from the child’s input. Interviews with parents and a child psychologist informed the design of Amy as well as the 12 social stories themes that Amy shares with children. Interview inputs and previous works suggested four design considerations for social-emotional learning companions to facilitate better interaction by including relevant social story themes, formulating open-domain conversation flow, incorporating appropriate and guided emotion regulation exercise, and using lively visual user interface.
Exploring changes in special education teachers’ attitudes and design belief towards pedagogical agents in co-designing with children
Special education teachers’ perception and attitudes towards technology and design play a critical role in pedagogical practices. The study aims to explore changes in special education teachers’ attitudes and design beliefs through a co-design process with children. The initial pilot study focused on preparing special education teachers for effective integration of pedagogical agents into teaching and learning. The initial pilot study followed the mixed-method design and was guided by the following research question: In what ways the co-design process influenced teachers’ attitudes and design beliefs towards pedagogical agents through the co-design process with children? The preliminary results indicated by the end of the program that teachers’ attitudes towards pedagogical agents increased significantly with moderate effect sizes, which might contribute to the co-design process and interactions with pedagogical agents. Qualitative analysis based on teacher interviews, lesson projects, and field notes also suggested that the shifts in participant’s attitudes and design beliefs are influenced by a variety of personal and contextual factors including i) The didactic use of pedagogical agents; ii) the usefulness of pedagogical agents for inclusive education; (iii) teachers’ attitudes about the role of the teacher as a designer, and (iv) leadership support to facilitate the immersive learning experience created through the interaction between the human and pedagogical agents.
In this paper, we explore how children engage with search engine result pages (SERP) generated by a popular search API in response to their online inquiries. We do so to further understand children navigation behaviour. To accomplish this goal, we examine search logs produced as a result of children (ages 6 to 12), using metrics commonly used to operationalize engagement, including: position of clicks, time spent hovering, and the sequence of navigation on a SERP. We also investigate the potential connection between the text complexity of SERP snippets and engagement. Our findings verify that children engage more frequently with SERP results in higher ranking positions, but that engagement does not decrease linearly as children navigate to lower ranking positions. They also reveal that children generally spend more time hovering on snippets with more complex readability levels (i.e., harder to read) than snippets on the lower end of the readability spectrum.
The Child in Charge: The Case of Child-participatory Design of an Environmental Sustainability Serious Game
In a technology-advanced world, it is known that children are growing up surrounded by electronic devices such as computers, mobile phones, and tablets, and eventually use them in their daily routines. Whereas the accessibility of these powerful tools is a long-standing issue, there is the need to conduct further studies including children during the design process. In this paper we explore a child-centred design approach through a serious game on sustainability. Participatory design, prototyping and evaluation are part of the process where we explore behaviour and feedback regarding the requested tasks. The preliminary results indicate that the children actively engaged with the prototypes, giving feedback and new ideas to make the serious game more engaging and easier for other children.
Exploring Failures in Child-Computer Interaction.: Shifting the paradigm from “failures need to be hidden” to “failure is a learning opportunity”.
Failures are not reported enough in the literature as the pressure of publishing successful stories has moved us away from considering that even unsuccessful stories can be equally relevant to increase knowledge in research. Analyzing failures can be a great learning opportunity for the community of researchers. In this paper, we present the outcomes of a research that investigated the challenges experienced when designing and running studies with children. The study began with a literature review which led to an inquiry focused on exploring failures within the Child-Computer Interaction community by interviewing 14 researchers. Interviews were analyzed in the vein of the thematic analysis approach. We deliver three themes (unpredictability, technology targeted at adults, children willing to achieve the goal), three action points (the context, the technology, and the activity) and a paradigm shift from “failures need to be hidden” to “failure is a learning opportunity”.
In this paper we explore children’s perception of technology by looking at the drawings and descriptive texts submitted to the Design and Research Challenge run for the International Conference on Interaction Design and Children 2022 by 166 children from US, Japan, Portugal and Switzerland aged 7 to 11 years old. We cluster and analyse drawings as a means to elicit the perception, understanding and expectations children have of the role technology can play in supporting connectedness, the theme of the conference. We report differences and similarities across countries, age and gender, as well as discuss the dichotomy between magic and realistic proposals, as it provides an important dimension of the CCI design space. Therefore, we start by looking at the use of drawings for better understanding children’s needs and wishes and move on to explore the children’s sense of technology, to finally reflect on its implications on design.
Research on bridging sports and computer science education tends to center computing as primary, and sports as secondary. In contrast, this project aims to center sports as primary while introducing technology and computing as avenues to engage with sports more deeply. We collaborated with basketball coaches to design and implement campamento:bit, a summer program with a basketball team of Latinx students in Puerto Rico. This program integrated computing artifacts in a traditional basketball camp. We present insights from our experience testing this program with 11 participants over 5 days. We present select case studies of participant experiences and developing understandings using a qualitative-methods approach. These analyses present different shifts in athletes’ perceptions of computing and instantiated students’ interests in future possibilities involving computing. Furthermore, the analyses suggest strategies for organizing such technology-integrated experiences for youth in sports contexts.
In this paper, we outline a Distributed Participatory Design (DPD) research protocol. The protocol is presented through the lens of the World’s Largest DPD Project with children, a hypothetical project in which children address the issue of climate change. The DPD research protocol is based on the protocol template recommended by WHO’s Research Ethics Review Committee (ERC) and on the data from two conference workshops with a total of 45 participants. The contribution of this paper is two-fold: 1) an initial version of a generic DPD research protocol; 2) an exemplification of how to appropriate this protocol for a specific project. We expect this protocol will be iteratively refined and will serve as inspiration for future research practices in Child-Computer Interaction (CCI).
It is widely understood within the field of HCI that participation in research and design activities, especially by children, requires careful planning and execution. Whilst the HCI community, and related groups like IDC, have gone some way to ensure aspects such as the selection and participation of children in research and design work is considered carefully, there has not yet been careful consideration, or reporting, of how children get to find out what has happened to the research that they have contributed to. In this paper we describe how we worked with children in overseas contexts and actively reported back to them the outcomes from the work they contributed to. We describe how our desire to report back influenced the planning the analysis of the data to ensure the results could be packaged in a child friendly way. We offer a simple to use checklist for practitioners and researchers to follow and a challenge for the IDC community to incorporate planned or actual feedback into the reporting of studies.
Children’s online activities are routinely tracked, aggregated, and exploited by online services, to manipulate children’s online behaviour or monetise. This contributes to the so-called datafied childhood. Unfortunately, such datafication remains largely invisible behind the services and is practically impossible to avoid. Existing approaches largely focus on direct online harms, and provide limited support to raise children’s awareness or understanding of how their data may be processed, transmitted across platforms, and used to affect their best interests. Through co-design workshops, we identified key barriers for children and families to cope with this type of data privacy risk. Our contribution is that instead of regarding children as passive users and needing protection, we draw on critical digital literacy theories and design a KOALA Hero app, which is aimed to enhance children’s cognitive, situated and critical thinking of datafication and online data privacy risks. KOALA Hero represents our first step towards facilitating children’s understanding of the invisible data privacy risks. We hope future empirical evaluations will further inform us regarding how our design approaches may affect the thinking process and behaviours of children and families.
SESSION: SESSION: WiP 2: Physical Computing and Inclusion
From an early age, children begin developing critical motor skills, such as fine motor control, that contribute significantly to reading, writing, drawing, and more, all of which are important for communication and school readiness. Pediatricians can evaluate a child’s motor skills using activities and questionnaires. Sometimes these involve adults drawing with their child, but it can be difficult to fully evaluate a child’s drawings through a handful of sketches from limited direct assessments. We propose creating a sketching system that will collect free-form drawing data from parents and children that can then automatically differentiate a child’s sketch from an adult’s using only the pen strokes of their drawing. In this paper, we describe our study that collected sketches from 14 children aged 2 to 5 and 25 adults over 18. We contribute a machine learning classifier based on sketch recognition features from free-hand drawings capable of distinguishing children’s sketches from those made by adults with an F-measure of 0.906. These results indicate the potential of creating sketch-based applications for assessing children’s fine motor development.
Designing Tangible Robot Mediated Co-located Games to Enhance Social Inclusion for Neurodivergent Children
Neurodivergent children with cognitive and communicative difficulties often experience a lower level of social integration in comparison to neurotypical children. Therefore it is crucial to understand social inclusion challenges and address exclusion. Since previous work shows that gamified robotic activities have a high potential to enable inclusive and collaborative environments we propose using robot-mediated games for enhancing social inclusion. In this work, we present the design of a multiplayer tangible Pacman game with three different inter-player interaction modalities: semi-dependent collaborative, dependent collaborative, and competitive. The initial usability evaluation and the observations of the experiments show the benefits of the game for creating collaborative and cooperative practices for the players and thus also potential for social interaction and social inclusion. Importantly, we observe that inter-player interaction design affects the communication between the players and their physical interaction with the game.
Eliciting parents’ insights into products for supporting and tracking children’s fine motor development
Early development of fine motor skills is a critical milestone for children, which also helps the formation and maturation of other developmental areas like language development. While toys and daily artefacts could support children’s fine motor skills, parents play a profound role in monitoring their developmental progress. Although there are several products to support fine motor development and help parents monitor their children’s progress, the literature lacks a source that might inform the design of such products. As the first step of a bigger research project, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 parents to gather their insights into and expectations of such supportive products. We designed a sensor-embedded toy concept, ANIMO, aimed at supporting the fine motor development of 7 to 24-month-old children and assisting parents in tracking their children’s developmental progress via a mobile app. We showed this concept to parents during interviews to facilitate the insight elicitation process. We present ANIMO, three themes summarizing parents’ insights and expectations into products supporting fine motor development along with implications for their design.
Friendships are a fundamental source of support during challenging times, especially among pre-adolescents. The current pandemic situation makes it even harder to rely on support from their peers or strengthen friendships. To accompany and support pre-adolescents outside of school at a moment where most interactions happen online, we propose the HUB, a novel online interactive social space. The HUB is a safeguarded and monitored social space which seeks to improve social well-being and positive reinforcement practices between peers by design. This paper’s key contributions derived from designing the HUB are threefold: an online social space which follows an iterative user-centered design approach; it is grounded on a theoretical model of friendship development to scaffold interactions of dyadic relationships that occur on the HUB; and it employs a set of gamification strategies, such as quests, achievements and rewards to keep pre-adolescents motivated, and, particularly, an acknowledgement system that encourages peers to work on, and acknowledge, character strengths and social skills in others, which are fundamental for their development as individuals.
Technology is increasingly widespread in schools, but it does not always find an application that fits the needs of teachers and students. A reason for that is that stakeholders are often not sufficiently involved in the design process. This paper focuses on multisensory technologies for education and on the initial stages of a design process that involved teachers and researchers with background including computer engineering, cognitive science, and digital humanities. We asked teachers to participate in brainstorming and iterative design sessions aimed at designing educational activities for kindergarten and primary school children. These include activities for a more active attitude of children during roll call, for understanding circularity of time as well as for learning mathematical topics. Questionnaires and structured interviews were used for an initial evaluation. Results are encouraging and the next step will consist in developing the mock-ups realized into applications for use and evaluation in the classroom.
Small Leans into Big Steps: A Mixed-Reality Environment to Support Embodied, Ensembled Mathematics Learning
In this work in progress, I showcase a classroom-based motion capture system which draws on theories of goal-oriented, constraints-based pedagogy. Through augmented reality marker-based detection and position reconstruction, the system uses senses locations of participants in a room and plots them on a Desmos graph. While considering the limitations of cost in public K-12 schools in the United States, the technology is designed to be an adaptable tool for mathematics educators to design their own activities. I share one example of two students in my classroom attempting to enact meaningful action to create the equation of a given parabola in a high school math class. This project contributes to the knowledge base of how students construct meaning about mathematical concepts through embodiment in mixed-reality spaces.
Children’s Impressions of Early Spelling Assessment through Handwriting on Tablets vs. Paper-based Method
Traditional paper-based children’s spelling assessments were hampered due to Covid-19 because existing technologies did not provide strategic signals to teachers, such as the child’s handwriting direction and how they read what they write. Our project emerged as a novel method to assess children’s spelling by touchscreens in this context. Hence, this paper aims to extend community knowledge concerning children’s experience and perception of handwriting spelling on tablet devices. The experiment consisted in presenting three handwriting methods (paper and pencil, finger and pen writing) and was conducted with eight Brazilian children between 4.5 and 7 years old. In addition to observation, in our experimental protocol we adopted the Fun Sorter, Again-Again Table, and the Smileyometer as evaluation tools. Our results show children were excited about handwriting using a touch pen on the tablet. Most of them even revealed they prefer the pen tablet mode to the traditional paper and pencil mode. However, the majority of children did not feel comfortable writing by finger, and it required more time than other methods. Furthermore, we observed child’s handwriting using finger looks different when compared to paper and pencil, while the tracing using a touch pen is similar to the registration produced on paper.
Tangible technology provides opportunities to design collaborative interactions which allow children to engage in highly collaborative activities. Unfortunately, there are few guidelines on structuring children’s interdependent collaboration with tangible technologies. In this study, we designed and developed a tangible game named MemorINO to “force” children to collaborate. We conducted a classroom study with 23 children and 3 kindergarten teachers. Our investigation revealed two main findings: (1) We could design interactive constraints with tangible technologies to “force” children to attend collaborative activities naturally and interdependently; (2) Tangible environments could help children have good engagements, especially for similar-age group children. Our findings could provide practical guidance on designing tangible interfaces to help children learn to collaborate.
Tekniverse: Towards a connected future for sensors, education, and action: Fostering Environmental Literacy with IoT and Physical Computing
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an innovation that is rapidly transforming industries from agriculture to medicine, enabling advances such as real-time data monitoring and remote control. However, IoT’s infiltration into education has been much slower, and educational tools that embody these features are few and far between. Together with the Chugach School District in Alaska, we investigated methods to teach middle-school aged students how to use IoT to drive change in their communities and collaborate in a digital world, tied to real time environmental data. The objective of this work is to provide rural, K-12 Alaskan students and teachers with opportunities that will help build an understanding of what is happening in their local environments, increase overall scientific and climate literacy, and contribute to community resilience and connectedness. Rural Alaskan students live in some of the most vulnerable regions of the planet, regions that are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. In this work-in-progress paper, we first discuss the design and adaptation of Tekniverse, a hardware and software ecosystem that provides a gateway for students to code and connect hardware projects and data. We then discuss the finding of our initial study of Tekniverse as a learning tool for computational thinking, data analysis, and social responsibility in rural and remote areas with students in Alaska. Lastly, we propose future directions for this research and computational collaborative tools.
PE++: Exploring Opportunities for Connecting Computer Science and Physical Education in Elementary School
Around the world, many K-12 school systems are seeking ways to provide youth with computer science (CS) learning experiences. Often organizations aim to develop these opportunities by building capacity among science, technology, engineering, and mathematics teachers. In other instances, school may engage with language arts, history, and library teachers to teach computer science content. Seldom, however, do schools leverage the rich opportunities for integrating computer science with physical education (PE). This paper explores an on-going partnership among university researchers, and elementary school coding and PE teachers. During spring of 2021, the group designed and tested coding and physical movement related activities for students to complete across their PE and coding classes. The team iterated on those activities throughout 2021 and 2022. This paper highlights the utility of this unique collaboration and describes some of the initial designs that emerged. The paper also touches on preliminary evaluation of the activities, and notes some of the project team’s plans for future iterations. Broadly speaking, the activities piqued student interest and helped advance new perspectives of themselves, CS, and their teachers.
Through an exploratory study of a 6-year-old child and his parents, we explored the complexities of children’s affective learning experience with tangible programming games, specifically focusing on the impact of scaffolding dialogues and social-emotional support. The social dialogues from this exploratory study demonstrate the interactive reasoning process in computational thinking (CT) education and reveal that dialogic learning has the potential to promote learning emotions and CT skills development in CT education. This study thus points to the future Child-Computer Interaction (CCI) research agenda that considers social dialogues in CT education with tangible play. A new understanding of social dialogues in CT toys and CT education can provide educators and CCI researchers with socio-technical insights into the future educational practices and design of CT games and technology for young children.
Studying Interest During a Pandemic:: A Case Study of Evaluating Interest of Young Children Through a Tangible Learning Game
In this case study, we tracked children’s interest in math during a voluntary math learning program using a constrained version of Osmo’s “Math Wizard Magical Workshop’s Potions” game. This game targets addition and subtraction skills taught in first through third grade. Families with children six to eight years old (N = 75) volunteered to play 15-minutes daily for two weeks. The entire learning experience was conducted remotely. We administered six surveys to measure participants’ attitudes toward math at three time periods (Pre-, Mid-, and Post-experience). We then use regression to explore the relationship between interest and learning gain scores, and minutes of play. Results were mixed with mostly weak positive correlations across variables. Hand-coded responses revealed that the greatest increase of interest triggered from Mid- to Post-Experience was ‘Affect’ from parents. We discuss the implications of this study on future analyses with children during a pandemic.
Gender stereotypes can harm children well being, impact on their career path an also led to discrimination behaviour. Our research aims at challenging children’s gender stereotypes and exploring how a Digital StoryTelling tool can be be designed to detect these at early age. Based on the literature review we have developed a prototype named Genderalize that aims at stimulating children’s reflection on their stereotypes. The tool was developed in a co-design process involving nine experts in children-computer interaction. The final version was tested by nine the adults stakeholders (e.g. guardians, parents, teachers). The outcomes provide thoughtful considerations on how Genderalize helped the detection of gender stereotypes by the means of a contextualised narrative and the reflective exercises. Results’ impact was limited due to the small sample, but the outcomes were very useful to move on to the next step of the project and inspire new developments.
SESSION: SESSION: Demos & Art
We present M&M, a digitally enhanced narrative environment for children that resulted from the collaborative projects Monnom and Mobeybou. M&M aims at offering children open-ended interaction scenarios to collaboratively create narratives through their bodily movements, voices, and the use of physical objects in space. M&M consists of sensors that collect data from the physical environment, an operating system that transforms the collected data into digital visualisations, and a projection that displays the output of the narration. In the physical environment, children can use objects and move with them to interact with the digital narrative elements. By interacting with the story elements, children connect with different cultures and environments, in an intercultural embodied storytelling experience.
Mobile robots can provide unique and engaging experiences for child-robot gameplay, but are often overlooked due to challenges of setup, navigation, and space limitations. To combat these challenges, we designed “Sapling and the Travelling Forest,” a small mobile robot that uses a table-top game platform to play games with children. The system was designed as a low-cost and travel friendly alternative to larger mobile robot setups, and can be used in any location with a power outlet. The robot, “Sapling,” is an interactive agent that moves through the “Travelling Forest” platform which frames the system and contains the robot to the forest play area. The system currently offers three games focused on collaborative, spatial play. Radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled games allow Sapling to meaningfully interact with both the game elements and a child. In this paper, we present the technical design of the robot and its small, table-top platform, as well as the game design process for the three board games. The presented system is a convenient way to conduct single or multi-session child-robot interaction studies with mobile robots.
Interactive soft toys to support social engagement through sensory-motor plays in early intervention of kids with special needs
Transitional Wearable Companion (TWC) is a novel design concept, implemented as an interactive, smart, soft toy, which aims to stimulate curiosity and encourage social engagement in kids with special needs, during play activities with their caregivers. We propose the TWC as a potential support tool for neurodevelopmental therapists, during early intervention in disorders characterised by impairment in the social area, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The TWC might be helpful to set up sensory-motor games, conceived for encouraging and reinforcing critical social competences, pivotal for cognitive development, such as eye-contact, imitation, joint-attention and turn-taking. In this work, we present two working prototypes of TWC called PlusMe and X-8, currently used in pilot experiments with children diagnosed with ASD.
“Track-track: Let’s follow the cat!” Reflecting on children’s biometric data processing through a micro puppet show
Track-track: Let’s follow the cat! is a micro puppet show for children where the spectator’s biometric data animates elements of the scenography. While seeing the show inside a box through a peephole, the spectator activates sensors that take the data to make the stars shine, blow the wind, and move the waves. Taking the format of the Brasilian Lambe Lambe theater – a peep box – this project reflects on children’s new digital environment and the concerns around biometric data processing and the notion of privacy. This interactive puppet show explores how children can recognize themselves as a data source and perceive their own digital data as a resource.
Anthropogenic activities damage nature in several ways. In the context of Madeira archipelago, we want to raise teenagers’ awareness about the impact that anthropogenic activities have caused on the species Monachus Monachus (Mediterranean Monk Seal). To raise awareness of the Monk Seal ecosystem among the teenage population this work proposes the design of a Visual Novel enriched with collaborative and gamification elements, called SeaStory. The main goal is to provide educational content in a more attractive and engaging format. Through the realization of a functional prototype, for the android operating system, we want to study how the use of collaborative features in interactive narratives influences the user experience and the delivery of educational content. This work presents a novel approach by adding collaborative elements in a Visual Novel providing in this way a contribution in the design of interactive media with the goal of providing awareness about endangered species and ecosystems among a teenage audience.
The Secret Communication Panel: A Constructionist Communications Device for Developing Computational Thinking Skills in School-Age Children
Computational thinking skills have been shown to have a unique cross-curricular relevance. Developing these skills in children using constructionist design to deliver personally meaningful computational experiences could lead to improved dispositions and attitudes towards other forms of STEM learning. The Secret Communication Panel is a constructionist toy in the form of a secret communications device that allows children to create their own highly personalized forms of communication in a computational environment.
SESSION: SESSION: Research and Design Challenge
Children begin to draw within their early development years and then continue to draw in their life. Drawing can be seen as a unifying creative activity for children all around the world. Moreover, the differences between children are not visible in this activity because children with disabilities (e.g. blindness, deafness, autism) can draw. In this context, making pictures unites them in the world of imagination. So, my design concept puts this perspective at the center and arises from many drawings of children in the booklet of Interaction Design and Children (IDC) 2022 research and design challenge with the theme of connectedness. In this booklet, communication can be seen as one of the common ideas that should be possible despite all the obstacles such as distance and language differences over the world, and this factor has been inspiring for the design. Thus, I present an interactive web page concept that aims to support communication through drawings. This design concept contains maps, memojies of children, and a virtual world that is formed from actual drawings of children who live in different places. Besides, this virtual world, the appearance of overlapping pictures of children, can be seen as an extensive collaborative art from this perspective. On this platform, children will be able to discover other people who have contrasts and similarities with them. The interaction and communication between them will establish via their shared pictures because their drawings reflect their intentions, memories, social life, etc. The purpose of this design is to promote imagination, curiosity, awareness, and their connectedness with each other despite how they are far and different. It aims to allow them to feel part of a whole in this way.
Having a healthy social life is an important part of our mental health, especially when it comes to children. Kids need to feel a connection between the environments in which they both live and play. In the last two years, COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives both personally and professionally. Because of the pandemic, meeting people in physical locations has been problematic. This situation has only amplified the need to foster connections. Technology plays a crucial role in helping children stay connected, however, we have found that children are more accepting of this when they are allowed to be able to take more active role in developing these platforms. Creating virtual environments, for example, has been shown to increase the interest of children in reaching out to their friends and family, and connecting with others across time zones, languages, and cultures. The children’s Idea Booklet, from the 2022 ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Research & Design Challenge identified significant interest in children using VR headset technology to connect with friends and family. Our research team, KidsTeam, built on these ideas to design KidConnect VR. KidConnect VR allows kids to connect with others via a virtual environment. This environment can be built to look like their surrounding area. In the virtual world, children can play, chat, and even study with friends.
SESSION: SESSION: Doctoral Consortium
In this submission, I discuss my participatory design research on mapping and data visualization of childcare access in King County of Washington in the United States. Through a co-design process with a childcare business coalition, I investigate the affordances of a data-driven website for advocacy and social change. As grassroots coalitions begin to build economic and operational capacity from self-organizing, they break down silos within a fragmented childcare ecosystem. This proposed dissertation work aims to provide a means for an effective collaboration between public-sector and academic HCI partners in the iterative development of an online tool for structural changes to childcare access in King County.
Hospitalization and intensive treatment procedures in childhood can increase the risk of long-term negative psychosocial consequences for survivors of childhood critical illness. This risk applies especially to the two congenital colorectal defects: Hirschsprung’s disease and Anorectal malformations, identified as the target group. Based on research indicating that information technology could provide beneficial psychosocial outcomes to survivors of critical illness, this PhD project aims to explore designing solutions for digital psychosocial follow-up of survivors of childhood critical illness. The PhD project uses a design science research approach to investigate existing solutions and needs to design a specific solution for the target group. Furthermore, the findings from testing this solution will be used to create design principles regarding digital psychosocial follow-up of survivors of childhood critical illness in general.
Designing an e-learning ecosystem to support people with autism spectrum disorders. A digital transformation in special education
COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exposed the inequalities in the access and use of Information and Communication Technologies and exposed also existing challenges in assistive technologies. Schools closure and the switch to online education revealed limitations in the education system, particularly, in the case of special education needs. This PhD research intends to analyse the challenges of remote learning and to provide applicable solutions to build an e-learning platform for people with autism that can enhance and enable special education in a collaborative setting for professionals, relatives, and students, considering also the cases when face-to-face interactions are not possible.
In addition to this analysis, some more contributions are provided such as the themes where COVID-19 impacted autistic people the most and their relationship with technology, a mapping of technological categories that define the working areas specifically aimed to cover the their needs, the challenges faced in special education along the pandemic and their possible solutions.
Language Learning with Mobile Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Augmented Reality has gained popularity among special needs communities. The flexibility and the advanced capabilities of this technology, empowered with AI, are opening new opportunities for further research in the area of digitally-aided language interventions for children with ASD. The goal of this research is to investigate and develop new knowledge tools to support language learning in children with ASD. The research methodology would be both qualitative and quantitative, using interviews, participatory design, and observations. Initially, this project will define the theoretical and existing applications of adaptive AR interventions for children with autism. A preliminary investigation has been conducted, suggesting promising results that can shed a light on the opportunities offered by AR and AI for language learning. In the next phase, we will design and develop a novel adaptive mobile AR application based on activities like workshops and participatory design, followed by systematic empirical evaluations of the proposed solution.
The research conducted in this doctoral study will consider how digital technologies can be used in the design of interactive environments that enable open-ended play for children. The practicalities of interactive technology may be interpreted as at odds with the ambiguity necessary to facilitate open-ended play. However, I argue that this remains underexplored and that the lived experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, profoundly blurring the limits of the digital and non-digital, offers an opportunity to explore how technologies may be used in the design of playful spaces where children participate in the creation of the meaning of their interactions. Future work will follow an iterative methodological structure that combines qualitative observational approaches with Research through Design (RtD) methods to answer the defined research questions while designing and deploying workable prototypes of playful interactive environments for children.
The widespread adoption of home-schooling around the world precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic has brought afloat the inequalities in household environment and parental support to early childhood education and care (ECEC) that, according to research, much contribute to uneven childhood education and future social mobility opportunities. With new trends of remote work emerging and predictively prevailing beyond the compulsory confinements, and extended learning delays to recover by children, it is expected that increasingly flexible childcare arrangements are to be demanded by society to fit this new reality – addressing simultaneously long-time concerns from academia and society about the importance of parental involvement and individualized, and child-led, informal learning practices in ECEC.
It is proposed the study, co-design and early impact assessment of (1) a nursery- and primary- school-home digital communication platform to facilitate the reveal and setup of relevant informal education activities based on children’s own formal education goals and their household’s resources – human, spatial and material –, and (2) a serious game, mounted on top of this platform, to motivate and empower young children to be the drivers of their own informal education programs, by leveraging storytelling and role-play over an interface that is accessible and intelligible to them.
Improving the digital well-being of neurotypical & neurodivergent children considering their care ecosystem
This extended research abstract for the Doctoral Consortium at IDC 2022 describes my PhD project, started in August 2020. My research focus lies on exploring ways to improve the digital well-being of both neurotypical and neurodivergent children, considering their care ecosystem. Neurodiversity refers to a divergence from the norms that usually define individuals as neurotypical, expressing a variety in the human brain activity. The care ecosystems includes all stakeholders who play a part in the lives and everyday experiences of children, from parents, siblings and extended family, to peers, teachers, and potential therapists. In the context of my PhD, I explore the following key aspects with the goal to promote the digital well-being of children and their care ecosystem: i) building understanding, ii) facilitating empowerment, and iii) fostering connectedness.
Real-time Feedback based on Emotion Recognition for Improving Children’s Metacognitive Monitoring Skill
In this extended abstract, we outline a PhD project which investigates the relationship between emotion and metacognition in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in order to design and develop an automatic Machine Learning based tool with real-time feedback to support metacognitive process of both Typically Developing (TD) children and children with ASD.
New digital technologies give rise to many concerns and debates in primary education, as educational institutions and practitioners are challenged by multiple developments, ranging from the transformation of media environments to calls for transversal media education from early on. Educational research can expand the available repertoire of teachers to design learning arrangements, contribute in the user-centred design and development of tools in authentic educational settings and explore new applications of established educational theories. To assess potentials and challenges for learning based on narrative thinking and interactive storytelling, “MEKIDS” (Media Education with Kids through Interactive Digital Storytelling) explores the use of interactive narratives as a way for teachers to introduce thematically complex subjects in learning settings with young children (8-11 years). In specific, a hypertextual interactive tool (’Fantastinomio’) is developed to facilitate creative storytelling with young children about subjects that can be curated by educators. The study follows a design-based research approach, also known as educational design research  and is carried out with various research methods in field studies across the stages of exploration, design and evaluation. Preliminary findings show that the ability to customize educational technology to didactic needs has multiple benefits, for example through the establishment of connections between intended learning outcomes and the life worlds of children through the use of children-made story elements.
American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities are disproportionately experiencing the life-threatening and negative health impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As youth represent a large percentage of the AIAN population, we must consider how we can effectively reach them with essential health communication during a time when social distancing has caused significant disruption to their lives, including with their schooling, access to healthcare and community connections. We know that a high percentage of AIAN youth are regularly using social media and accessing health information through these platforms, yet we know relatively little about the health communication that has been created for their benefit along with their experiences accessing and engaging with it. Through an approach rooted in Indigenous research methodologies and ethics, I will consider how AIAN communities are leveraging social media for COVID-19 health communication. Additionally, through co-design sessions centered on Indigenous values, I will examine how AIAN youth are engaging with and experiencing this critical health information. With a focus on strength, resilience, and Indigenous lived experiences, I will seek to support the development of effective Indigenous COVID-19 health communication on social media that provides immediate and future benefits to Indigenous communities and youth.
Exploring the Child-Robot Interaction with the Programming in Mind: Bridging Physical and Virtual Programming for Young Children
My research is focused on the VEX 123, a robot and accompanying set of programming tools designed for children (ages 5-8). VEX 123 supports programming via three distinct methods designed to support young learners at various points along the conceptual and developmental programming trajectory. The goal of my work is to design a programming curriculum continuum from physical blocks to virtual blocks, to Switch mode (writing Python inside a block), and finally to text-based programming. My planned study employs a mixed method comparison to examine students’ attitudes and learning outcomes across the various programming approaches. Through my research, I seek to better understand ways to support children learning programming with an easy to use robotics.
Exploring Caregiver Support for and Conceptualizations of Their Children’s Entrepreneurship in Interactive Online Spaces
As the role of interactive digital media continues to grow in our ever-connected lives, so too do the expectations of the caregivers and parents of today’s young people, particularly in scaffolding and brokering their experiences with online interactive media. Consequently, there are more and more ways for young people to socialize, learn, and create online. While these new forms of connection and access to information lead to many positive outcomes, some bring more challenging and complicated implications. In particular, young people are increasingly able to earn money and make a profit online from the fruits of their computational learning. This study seeks to better understand the complex landscape of young people’s experiences engaging with paid online work through detailed qualitative studies. I seek to explore the tensions around youth creation online and caregiver’s abilities to scaffold these experiences, with a particular emphasis on how caregivers conceptualize their children creating and become developers in online spaces.
Teaching computational thinking for children has reached ample dimensions along the last decade, and has culminated in the creation of various products, programs and projects that aim to democratize the access to this body of knowledge. However, cognitive, motor and affective factors have appeared as particular challenges when we are teaching computational thinking to children in the literacy phase, where the stories are a particularly relevant part of the learning process and children’s development. Thus this study has aimed to articulate the inclusion of storytelling in experiences of teaching computational thinking to young children, analyzing this possibility considering the proposition of an artifact based on transmedia storytelling for teaching computational thinking and seeks to understand what are the implications of child-computer interaction in this artifact.
Conversational agents (CAs) such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or website chatbots are becoming very popular in some countries, and despite their adult-centered design, these devices are becoming part of children’s lives, creating the need for children-centric and trustworthy systems. This thesis aims to study CAs, with a special focus on children and trustworthiness, in order to identify the main aspects and criteria for their evaluation and improvement, and creating methodologies contributing to the design of trustworthy, child-centred CAs.
SESSION: SESSION: Workshops
The role that technology plays in supporting children at school and at home is more prominent than ever before due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. This has prompted us to focus the 6th International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Children & Recommender and Information Retrieval Systems (KidRec) workshop on what the lasting changes will be to the design and development of child information retrieval systems. After two years, are information retrieval systems used more in and out of the classroom? Are they more interactive, more or less personalized? What is the impact on the research and business community? Are there long-term and unexpected changes on the design, ethics, and algorithms? The primary goal of our workshop continues to be to build community by bringing together researchers, practitioners, and other stakeholders from various backgrounds and disciplines to understand and advance information retrieval systems for children.
In this workshop, we invite researchers, practitioners and designers to reflect on ethical issues arising from Distributed Participatory Design (DPD) research with children. As participatory design research practices require rethinking and innovative adaptation in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed, asynchronous and online (D)PD approaches may provide solutions to participation barriers. However, in light of this adaptation, additional ethical complexities may arise. Ongoing collaborative discussion is required to identify and address the different types of ethical issues which may arise when planning and conducting DPD projects with children. This workshop builds on previous workshops held at IDC 2021 and 2020, which provided insights into developing a protocol for a world-wide DPD project with children.
After the Study Ends: Developing Heuristics To Design for Sustainable Use of Learning Technologies in Classrooms
A central challenge of developing learning technologies for K-12 classrooms is designing for sustainable use – ensuring that the technology has a lifespan in the classroom beyond the term of a research project or implementation period. This half-day workshop aims to bring together designers, researchers, and educators creating K-12 learning technologies to share and reflect on the challenges and opportunities of designing for sustainable use in classrooms. In the workshop, we seek to develop a set of heuristics to guide designers and provide a context for designing for sustainable use. By sharing the outcomes of this workshop we hope to develop a common language, design goals, and examples of successes and challenges in designing for sustainable use.
Whilst digital education is becoming a reality for schools there is a role for CCI research to move beyond researcher-led school engagements to other types of research that support schools and their staff to lead on the appropriation of digital technologies. One way to advance our understanding of this issue is to examine and consolidate reflections from cases of school technology appropriation. This half-day workshop seeks to capture the enabling practices as well as those that posed barriers within the school. The work will be oriented to further identify necessary changes at different levels: e.g., the organizational level (school), the level of the practitioners (teachers) the level the school community. The mind-set of all the involved actors will also be explored aiming to identify the structures and mechanisms that can support a culture of participation and of collective responsibility by including also students and their families in the process of technology integration and appropriation.
Note: This workshop is offered in conjunction with “For the Long Run: Promoting Sustainable Use of Learning Technologies in Schools” to form a full day workshop exploring both the technical characteristics and the contextual factors of sustainable integration of learning technologies in schools.
Within the Child-Computer Interaction community fun and learning have been a prominent, recurring theme. However, despite the general interest, fun is often handled as a commonsense notion, without a commonly accepted definition, underlying theoretical framework and ways of measurements. Without these, both researching, designing for, implementing, and evaluating fun elements in learning activities are challenging, and can result in contradicting findings. This workshop aims to address these issues by bringing together participants from different disciplines with various backgrounds who has an interest and experience in the topic of fun in learning.
Child Computer Interaction has become a field in its own right but it relies on its parent disciplines, HCI, CS, IxD, to train its academics. Research practice in CCI borrows heavily from HCI with an emphasis on the participation of users in research. Training academics to work with children is essential within CCI but this is seldom talked about and in many cases, students are left to learn from mistakes, especially if they are working in groups where there is little expertise in working with children. In this workshop we aim to look at what can go wrong when working with children in a range of contexts including design, evaluation, and research, in schools, homes and other venues, on many different types of projects. We will ‘create’ scenarios of working with participants and seek to identify potential problems and solutions with the aim of building a resource for CCI academics that helps minimize failure and maximise success.
In this half-day workshop, we will explore how to co-design technology in inclusive classrooms where children have diverse sensory, motor, cognitive or behavioral abilities. We will discuss barriers and opportunities in co-designing for inclusion, exploring techniques and tools to support learning in a collaborative environment. We encourage researchers, educators, parents, and other stakeholders to participate and provide their expertise and know-how in improving these environments, with an aim to support both inclusion and collaboration; and children’s exploration of their own interests and approaches to learning. We seek to better understand research experiences in these environments, co-design techniques that were successfully used, and what they can teach the broader field of interaction design for children.