Short Papers


Engaging Children in Storytelling Through Tabletop Play: Exploring Construction of Story Ideas through Enactive Actions and Vocalizations
Ting Liu,  Francis Quek,  Gabriela Gomez  
This paper describes a Tabletop Imaginative Play as Enactive Storytelling (TIPES) system for children that captures their tabletop enactment and transforms them into animated cartoons in real time. In this paper, we compare children’s storytelling support using TIPES (AR condition) and the raw tabletop-play recordings without using TIPES (TR condition). We conducted a study involving 18 pairs of 7-13 year-old children. Each pair engaged in creating two stories in the AR or TR conditions, respectively. We coded for Actions and Vocalizations and grouped these action-vocalization compounds into enactment Idea units. We identified a statistically significant positive correlation between total actions and vocalizations of each story in AR but not in TR and a statistically significant negative correlation between Action complexity (actions/idea unit) and Vocal richness (vocalizations/idea unit) in TR but not in AR. It can be inferred that children manifest distinct engagement in constructing story enactment ideas by demonstrating a more balanced management of semantic loads between executing actions and uttering vocalizations in AR compared to TR. This implies varying levels of incorporating multimodality in expression across different conditions. Furthermore, qualitative analysis of interview responses highlighted greater enjoyment in utilizing TIPES.
Enhancing Computational Thinking with 3D printing: Imagining, designing, and printing 3D objects to solve real-world problems.
Marianthi Grizioti,  Chronis Kynigos,  Maria Stella Nikolaou  
Printing 3D objects is exciting and engaging for young learners. However, how this emerging technology could actually benefit the development of skills, such as Computational Thinking (CT) and Design Thinking, through a meaningful process of imagining, designing, and tinkering with objects that could be used in real-world problems? Our knowledge is still limited, due to the complexity of designing 3D printable models from scratch with the existing digital tools. This paper discusses a web-based design that enables learners to create and dynamically manipulate the behavior and properties of 3D printable models with high-level programming. This design aims to foster computational thinking, creativity, and design thinking skills as it focuses on the design process of the model, its behavior, and its usage after printing. It also presents the results of a pilot study in which secondary school students engaged in a Design Thinking project for designing and printing sustainable everyday objects using this design. The study revealed new kinds of educational potential of 3D printing including the understanding of complex mathematical and CT ideas that were too complicated before, and the connection of CT practices with real-world problems through the implementation of a Design Thinking project with digital media.
“See, Hear, Touch, Smell, and, …Eat!”: Helping Children Self-Improve Their Food Literacy and Eating Behavior through a Tangible Multi-Sensory Puzzle Game
Xueyan Cai,  Kecheng Jin,  Shang Shi,  Shichao Huang,  Ouying Huang,  Xiaodong Wang,  Jiahao Cheng,  Weijia Lin,  Jiayu Yao,  Yuqi Hu,  Chao Zhang,  Cheng Yao  
Picky eating behavior is common in preschoolers and has been linked to a lack of food literacy with support from certain research. Recent research has focused on interventions for children’s mealtime behaviors which can lead to distraction and neglect of food literacy learning. We propose Feasty Maze, a tangible and multi-sensory interactive puzzle game for young children to improve eating behavior. With the Five-color Diet Theory, our approach enables children to actively learn about food nutrition and balanced diets. To evaluate the effectiveness and acceptability of FeastyMaze, we conducted a user study with preschoolers (N = 12) who exhibited picky eating behaviors. The results showed that it effectively increased children’s familiarity and understanding of food knowledge, built positive attitudes towards previously disliked foods, and had the potential to improve their eating behavior.
Gamification Strategies for Child Protection: Best Practices for Applying Digital Gamification in Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
Gianluca Schiavo,  Eftychia Roumelioti,  Giulia Deppieri,  Annapaola Marconi  
Gamification is a widely embraced strategy in education, employed to enhance motivation and foster effective learning outcomes. However, its application to sensitive topics has been scarcely explored and remains a subject of debate. While gamification holds the potential to elevate engagement and motivation in the learning process, it also introduces certain limitations, such as the risk of trivializing the subject matter and diverting attention from the core content.  This paper delves into an investigation, supported by both a literature review and a survey conducted among professionals, focusing on the implementation of gamification mechanisms in child sexual abuse education. By examining insights gathered from prior research and engaging with experts, the paper identifies key facets of gamification mechanisms in the design of educational interventions addressing child sexual abuse and related topics. The aim is to contribute to a nuanced understanding and effective utilization of gamification when addressing sensitive topics in education, offering preliminary guidelines for practitioners.
Data Physicalization and Tangible Manipulation for Engaging Children with Data: An Example with Air Quality Data
Sander de Kreij,  Champika Ranasinghe,  Auriol Degbelo  
Data physicalizations have the potential for more natural, intuitive and embodied interactions with data that can engage people with data in a playful way compared to traditional screen and mouse-based interactions. Such interactions are useful to make data understandable and interesting to interact with, especially for special user groups such as children. In this research, we explored how direct manipulation of physical tangibles as an interaction method affects children’s engagement with data, the understanding of data and the overall child-data experience. We compared two new tangible manipulation based interaction methods: TM-E (Tangible Manipulation Emptying) and TM-F (Tangible Manipulation Filling) designed to create more natural interactions with air quality data and compared them with a slider-based interaction. A user study (N=36) with young adolescents revealed that the newly introduced interaction methods were effective in conveying and recalling air quality information and were positively received by the participants. We also observed that the interaction metaphor impacts the overall user experience. These lessons learned are relevant to the design of physicalizations fostering public awareness, for example, in the context of sustainable development.
How Readability Cues Affect Children’s Navigation of Search Engine Result Pages
Christine Pinney,  Benjamin Bettencourt,  Jerry Fails,  Casey Kennington,  Katherine Wright,  Maria Soledad Pera  
Children often interact with search engines within a classroom context to complete assignments or discover new information. To successfully identify relevant resources among those presented on a search engine results page (SERP), users must first be able to comprehend the text included in SERP snippets. While this task may be straightforward for an adult user, children may encounter obstacles in terms of readability and comprehension when attempting to navigate a SERP. Previous research has demonstrated the positive impact of including visual cues on a SERP as relevance signals to guide children towards appropriate resources. In this work, we explore the effect of supplying visual cues related to readability and text difficulty on children’s (ages 6-12) navigation of a SERP. Using quantitative data collected from user-interface interactions and qualitative data gathered from participant interviews, we analyze the impact of these visual cues on children’s selection of results on a SERP when carrying out information discovery tasks.
Sense-O-Nary: Exploring Children’s Crossmodal Metaphors Through Playful Crossmodal Interactions
Tegan Roberts-Morgan,  Brooke Morris,  Elaine Czech,  Suhan Neema,  Abigale Stangl,  Kyle Keane,  Matthew Horton,  Janet Read,  Oussama Metatla  
Metaphors enrich language by allowing us to express complex ideas through familiar concepts, enhancing both understanding and creativity in communication. Crossmodal metaphors are metaphors where one sensory modality is understood in terms of another (e.g, a sharp smell). Crossmodality is an integral part of how we make sense of and create meaning about the world. However, there is a lack of research on how children generate crossmodal metaphors and the interpretation of such metaphors. We present Sense-O-Nary, a game we designed to explore how children react when asked to create crossmodal metaphors in a novel environment. Children are presented with one sensory input and then asked to describe it using a different sense, for another team to guess what the original sensory input is. We engaged children (n=65, aged 8-10) to play this crossmodal metaphor generation game. We qualitatively analysed children’s exchange of crossmodal metaphors to define a set of crossmodal association strategies and then use this to categorise the metaphors they created. We discuss how engaging with crossmodal metaphors can enhance children’s linguistic development and how our findings can inform the design of interactions that involve multiple senses.
ChiParCo and ParChiCo: Connecting Children and Parents Remotely With Tailored Tangible Communication Tools
Anna Calmbach, Sophie Kunz, Alice Haynes, Jürgen Steimle  
Parent-child separation can detrimentally affect a child’s well-being. While digital technologies enable remote communication, they often lack effective means for young children to initiate contact, engage physically, and express emotions. Pioneering work on tangible devices for communication offer promising solutions, but current research minimally explores devices tailored to the differing needs of parents and children during separation, and fewer evaluate their designs with functional prototypes. Building on design suggestions from previous work, we implement a functional pair of prototypes for remote parent-child communication: ChiParCo, an interactive plush bunny for children, and ParChiCo, an interactive glove for parents. The pair provides three interactions: waving, hand-holding and emotion-sharing, which combine physical, synchronous and asynchronous, as well as emotive communication. In a qualitative user study with parent-child dyads (n=10), we investigate the form factors of the prototypes, participants’ perceptions of the three interactions and what design implications we can draw from their feedback.