The IDC conference is a leading international forum for exploring childrens' and youngsters' needs in relationship to technology, i.e. exploring how to create interactive products for and with them, and investigating how technology-mediated experiences affect their life.
The following articles are from "Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children":
Marshall, Paul, Price, Sara and Rogers, Yvonne (2003): Conceptualising tangibles to support learning. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 101-109. Available online
We present a new way of conceptualising tangibles for learning. This scheme adopts Heidegger's analysis of the ways a user can treat a tool: either as 'ready-to-hand' or 'present-at-hand'. It also proposes two types of activity a learner can engage in when using a tangible: either exploratory or expressive activity. Finally, two types of models that a user can explore are proposed: theoretical and practical models. Examples from the literature are described in terms of this framework and an example is given from our own work of an attempt to use this conceptualisation in design.
Kafai, Yasmin B. (2003): Children designing software for children: what can we learn?. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 11-12. Available online
Williams, Morris, Jones, Owain and Fleuriot, Constance (2003): Wearable computing and the geographies of urban childhood: working with children to explore the potential of new technology. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 111-118. Available online
This paper describes a workshop run as part of 'A New Sense of Place?' an initiative exploring and developing the interface between children and new mobile 'wearable' ICTs. This initiative is one part of 'Mobile Bristol', a wider project developing wearable devices, their applications and understandings of their potential in social terms. 'A New Sense of Place?' is particularly interested in considering how these new technologies might integrate with childhood and how they might be applied to help children to reengage with urban spaces. The paper establishes the rationale for this work and describes a two day exploratory workshop with 10 children held in April 2002. The workshop was designed to introduce children to the technology and explore whether, from the children's point of view, the technology might hold enough potential for their use in the urban environment for the work to develop.
In this paper we describe a technique of Curriculum-Focused Design, and the aspects of our research experience on which the technique is based. Our technique is a variant of Druin's Cooperative Inquiry. Cooperative Inquiry is a well-developed design practice for children, but it has been practised largely outside the classroom. Druin's technique has also been developed in American schools, which have greater curriculum flexibility than English schools, which are highly curriculum-focused. We studied the English curriculum and identified an area that we believed could fruitfully be augmented by technology. Our design approach was novel insofar as our evaluation sessions doubled as lessons for students. Our interdisciplinary design team, including a former teacher with over 10 years' classroom experience, evaluated the interface in a classroom setting, providing strong environmental validity to the design process.
Milne, Scott, Gibson, Lorna, Gregor, Peter and Keighren, Ken (2003): Pupil consultation online: developing a web-based questionnaire system. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 127-133. Available online
The idea of consulting pupils about developments in their schools is now established in legislation and practice in schools. While many methods of performing such consultations have been employed for a number of years, a new system has been developed which can offer a consultation environment previously not available. An online pupil consultation system for use in schools throughout Fife Council is designed so that staff members can build questionnaires, allow pupils to complete them anonymously and finally analyse the results in collated form.
Read, Janet C., MacFarlane, Stuart and Casey, Chris (2003): What's going on?: discovering what children understand about handwriting recognition interfaces. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 135-140. Available online
When people use interactive technology, they construct a 'mental model' of the processes that are going on. This model assists the user in error repair and in task completion. The mental models that children have of computer systems are known to be brittle and incomplete. This paper describes how three different methods - structured interview, questionnaire, and talk back, were used with 7 and 8-year-old children to identify children's mental models of a handwriting-recognition based interface. The time taken by both the child and the researcher, the insights reported by the children, and the ease of use of each of the three methods is reported. The three methods are then compared, both in terms of cost/benefit and with relation to the influence of the researcher in the process. The paper concludes that the interview and questionnaire were both effective in this study, and that questionnaires can be surprisingly informative with children of this age.
Gilutz, Shuli, Bekker, Tilde, Druin, Allison, Fisch, Shalom and Read, Janet (2003): Children's online interfaces: is usability testing worthwhile?. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 143-145. Available online
'Designing for usability' refers to the activity of incorporating research about how people use interactive interfaces into the design process. In our specific case, it refers to designers of children's products taking into consideration how the children use different software that they encounter. Many organizations that develop new interactive environments for children do not incorporate usability studies, or they do so without a good understanding of the complexity and consequences of these issues. The end results are websites and programs that children cannot use - and therefore will not use. In some cases many of the educational benefits and creative ideas developed are never utilized, because children do not pass the interface hurdle. The participating panel members have unique views about the role and value of usability studies on the design process. With an emphasis on the design of online environments, they will discuss their personal experiences of designing for usability, and will offer their understanding of the significance of usability in the design of interactive environments for kids.
This paper briefly presents a design concept for an interactive play system and learning tool for young children. In the search for more intuitive user-interfaces appropriate for children, we have proposed a system featuring a set of physical and virtual tools, which explores the qualities of different input and output modalities. The system allows for both independent exploration and group interaction. It provides a set of tangible tools that enable children to work together in the exploration and manipulation of content in order to achieve some joint outcome. We have exemplified the concept with Ely the Explorer, an accessible and robust multi-user unit and set of tangible tools designed for the school environment. We are currently developing a working prototype of the concept.
Ovaska, Saila, Hietala, Pentti and Kangassalo, Marjatta (2003): Electronic whiteboard in kindergarten: opportunities and requirements. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 15-22. Available online
Whiteboards have proven valuable for informal note-taking and sketching. Different electronic and also interactive whiteboards are becoming available for children and their teachers at all school levels. We describe the first experiences of children at a day care centre when using an electronic whiteboard for creative letter recognition in small groups. Though the usability of the tool used in this task was not optimal for smooth drawing together, the constraints the tool posed for the children's group work were also a motive for fruitful dialogue and new learning opportunities. Based on our observations of the groups, we outline opportunities as well as requirements for interactive whiteboards to empower children's collaborative learning at the kindergarten level.
Baek, Joon Sang and Lee, Kun-Pyo (2003): Participatory design approach to information architecture design for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 150. Available online
In this paper, two participatory design toolkits for designing information architecture are introduced. They allow children to participate in the design process as design partners and build information structure that reflects their cognitive process. The toolkits were applied to find usability problems in the directory of Korean Yahooligans (kr.kids.yahoo.com). The result shows that children's information architecture differs from that of adults in depth and width, contents, and relationship between keywords; and that the toolkits can elicit users' needs effectively.
Bourguet, Marie-Luce (2003): Multimodal interaction to support multilingualism acquisition and development in young children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 151. Available online
The aim of our research is to explore new interaction paradigms for the design of multilingual educational software. In this poster, we present some early work on the use of multimodal interaction techniques to facilitate the simultaneous acquisition of more than one language during the period of primary language development. We suggest that multimodality can be used to deal with common multilingual phenomena such as language mixing and language dominance or specialization.
Furtado, Andre Wilson Brotto, Andrade, Gustavo Danzi de, Leitao, Andre R. G. do Amaral and Neto, Fernando da C. Andrade (2003): Cegadef: a collaborative educational game development framework. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 152. Available online
This poster presents an early state research regarding a proposal for a collaborative educational game development framework, Cegadef. The main purpose of Cegadef is to motivate the consolidation of an organized and structured web-based educational game development community, allowing educational games to be produced in a standardized and productive manner. The Cegadef proposal intends to enhance traditional educational game development processes by specifying roles to those involved in the course of action and by establishing well-defined goals to each one of them. It is also focused on giving educators as much of implementation abstraction as possible, setting them free to concentrate in the subject of learning.
Good, Judith and Robertson, Judy (2003): Children's contributions to new technology: the design of AdventureAuthor. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 153. Available online
Iversen, Ole Sejer and Nielsen, Christina (2003): Using digital cultural probes in design with children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 154. Available online
The poster presents digital cultural probes as a way of advising the design of children's technology.
Read, Janet C., MacFarlane, Stuart and Casey, Chris (2003): 'Good enough for what?': acceptance of handwriting recognition errors by child users. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 155. Available online
This paper describes an experiment to establish whether or not children would accept a lower rate of accuracy for handwriting recognition than the 97% reported in a study with adult users. It outlines the experimental procedure that involved the use of an automated Wizard of Oz method. Problems with the experiment are described and the results are presented.
Snape, Linda and Nicol, Tony (2003): Evaluating the effectiveness of a computer based letter formation system for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 156. Available online
A series of letter formation experiments were carried out to test the effectiveness of a computer assisted learning program which assists and monitors children forming letters. The experiment reported in this paper suggests that the rate of letter formation skill development increased for children using the computer based system.
Snape, Linda, Nicol, Tony and MacFarlane, Stuart (2003): Phonics for young children: a computer based approach. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 157. Available online
The National Literacy Strategy was introduced in 1990 by the British Government into UK schools advocating a combination of the whole word and phonics approaches to teaching literacy to young children . Research  supports the importance of developing phonic awareness in young children and a need for computer applications to support this area. The logical structure of the phonics code and the need for low teacher:student ratio required to effectively teach the fundamental phonic awareness skills of blending and segmenting has led to the development of a computer based teaching system. Characteristics of user interaction will be recorded by the system in order to analyse a child's progress and automatically predict learning difficulties. The first phase of testing has been carried out within a classroom environment and work on the user profile is in progress.
Stockhaus, Anna (2003): Construction of the child as a user. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 158. Available online
We describe thoughts on three different parties, the child, the designer and the researcher, involved in child computer interaction and how they perceive the child as a user. Their perception is part of their construction of the child. The project's goal is to study how these constructions relate to and affect each other.
Xu, Dongjie and Nicholson, Isobel (2003): Multimedia software to motivate ethnic minority children to learn about their culture and language of origin. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 159. Available online
The goal of this research is to analyse how multimedia can help ethnic children to understand their culture of origin and to identify the problems encountered in teaching ethnic languages. British born Chinese children were chosen as the group to study, as the researcher is Chinese. This poster describes an exploratory study at a Chinese school in UK. The school serves families from many different Chinese cultures who use different versions of Chinese language. Teaching materials and motivation were also problem areas.
Fernaeus, Ylva and Tholander, Jakob (2003): Games to explore programming. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 163. Available online
Hoysniemi, Johanna and Hamalainen, Perttu (2003): Who is afraid of spiders?: two perceptive computer games for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 164. Available online
In this paper, we present two game tasks (flying game and spider game) in QuiQui's Giant Bounce, a computer game based on computer vision and hearing technology. The game consists of several game tasks with different themes of movement. The tasks presented here have been designed and tested with children  and experts in the fields of children's physical, social and cognitive development.
Nicol, Tony and Snape, Linda (2003): A computer based letter formation system for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 165. Available online
Learning to write requires letters to be formed using a particular sequence of pen strokes. Teachers are unable to continually monitor large numbers of children to ensure that they are using the correct sequence. A computer application has been developed to monitor the child's progress and provide appropriate feedback when required. This paper discusses the computer application which will be demonstrated to the conference delegates.
Santamaria, Maria (2003): Web navigation recorder eyetracking software application demo. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 166. Available online
User testing is probably the most effective technique for evaluating the usability of interactive products. The Eyetracking Software application Demo shows two examples of web navigations. The recordings consist of an eight-year-old kids playing a quiz during 15 minutes: where do the children fix their eyes, what they click, how they express themselves. In brief, it will be shown as a movie the whole behaviour of a kid face to machine.
Southern, Matt and Turner, Jim (2003): Creating a collaborative learning environment for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. p. 167. Available online
This paper reports on a project to create a networked 3D play environment that aids collaborative learning. The specific user group the project is aimed at is secondary school children. The project explores the educational possibilities offered within the dynamics of massively multi-player online games (MMOG) and other commercial computer game genres.
Gibson, Lorna, Newall, Fay and Gregor, Peter (2003): Developing a web authoring tool that promotes accessibility in children's designs. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 23-30. Available online
This paper describes the development, with full involvement by children, of a web development tool which reflects truly how children view the World Wide Web. The tool was designed in such a way that it promoted the understanding and implementation of accessibility principles to the users.
Dix, Alan J. (2003): Being playful: learning from children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 3-9. Available online
This paper explores children's understanding as a resource and inspiration for interface design and beyond. From children we can understand innate intelligences and skills, including a sense of number and the nature of play. Play is possibly one of the origins of imagination, which in turn is essential for our own creative thought. Surprisingly few adults engage in creative play, but it is when adult-like rationality and child-like imagination meet that we can best produce effective and innovative solutions. Even writing a paper has aspects of playfulness, such as the puzzle of phrasing an abstract in exactly one hundred words... or so.
In recent years, educational technologists and designers have begun to explore a variety of ways in which physical and computational media can be integrated -- for instance, through the design of "intelligent toys" for children. This paper describes our ongoing efforts at exploring a different sort of physical-computational integration, focusing on children's design activities, output devices, and the notion of "printing out" more generally. We describe several representative systems under development in our group; each of these systems highlights particular possibilities for exploring and experimenting with output devices for children's crafts. We also present a set of design heuristis -- useful techniques for those educational designers interested in expanding the range and expressiveness of craft activities for children.
Kesteren, Ilse E. H. van, Bekker, Tilde, Vermeeren, Arnold P. O. S. and Lloyd, Peter A. (2003): Assessing usability evaluation methods on their effectiveness to elicit verbal comments from children subjects. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 41-49. Available online
An exploratory study is described looking at children's ability to provide verbal comments in usability evaluation sessions. Six evaluation methods were applied to test an interactive toy by children aged 6 and 7. The results show that most verbal comments were gathered during Active Intervention sessions, by asking children questions during tasks. Unexpectedly, the Co-Discovery sessions were less successful, because children did not collaborate very well. Children also provided useful comments in the Thinking Aloud, Retrospection, and Peer Tutoring sessions. They could reflect on their actions at the end of Retrospection sessions, and were able to teach other children how to interact with the toy in Peer Tutoring sessions.
This paper presents a case study of the first three months of a new intergenerational design team with children ages 10-13. It discusses the research and design methods used for working with children of this age group, the challenges and opportunities of starting a new team, and the lessons learned.
Antle, Alissa (2003): Case study: the design of CBC4Kids' StoryBuilder. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 59-68. Available online
This paper describes the design of an online collaborative storytelling environment for children aged 8-10. The project balances children's needs to have flexible creative environments  with the desire of a public broadcaster to publish quality user-generated content that showcases Canadian stories. This paper outlines five key practices that contributed to the successful design of StoryBuilder. Ninety-five children were involved in the project using a combination of informant-based and user-centred iterative design techniques. Examination and observation of oral storytelling activities and behaviors, technology-based creativity tools and storytelling styles formed the basis for the remaining design practices.
Jones, Claire, McIver, Louise, Gibson, Lorna and Gregor, Peter (2003): Experiences obtained from designing with children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 69-74. Available online
This paper describes the experiences and insights obtained while using children-centred design during two software development projects. The authors describe critical difficulties experienced and how measures had to be taken to adapt the children-centred design methodologies to allow full involvement of children in the project design.
Sheehan, Robert (2003): Children's perception of computer programming as an aid to designing programming environments. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 75-83. Available online
Primary school pupils of two different age groups were asked to draw pictures of people programming computers and then asked questions to reveal their understanding of computer programming. As was expected neither group showed great understanding of how computer programs are produced. Programming was seen as the productions of visual and audio effects. The older children recognised that programming was something to do with controlling the computer. These understandings are used to produce a list of four recommendations for the design of programming environments for children.
Robertson, Judy and Good, Judith (2003): Ghostwriter: a narrative virtual environment for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 85-91. Available online
Children find computer games extremely motivating and are often prepared to devote large amounts of leisure time to playing them. UK educational policy makers and practitioners have recently started to explore the educational potential of computer games and to consider how their motivational features can be harnessed within the curriculum. This paper describes a fully implemented virtual role-playing environment, Ghostwriter, designed for educational drama development and writing instruction. Ghostwriter was developed using the commercial game engine Unreal and therefore has the same high quality graphics and audio which children are accustomed to playing with at home. Two separate field studies with Ghostwriter have shown the educational value of the system and have confirmed that children are extremely motivated by it.
Wyeth, Peta and Purchase, Helen C. (2003): Using developmental theories to inform the design of technology for children. In: Proceedings of ACM IDC03: Interaction Design and Children 2003. pp. 93-100. Available online
Electronic Blocks are a new programming environment, designed specifically for children aged between three and eight years. As such, the design of the Electronic Block environment is firmly based on principles of developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood education. The Electronic Blocks are physical, stackable blocks that include sensor blocks, action blocks and logic blocks. Evaluation of the Electronic Blocks with both preschool and primary school children shows that the blocks' ease of use and power of engagement have created a compelling tool for the introduction of meaningful technology education in an early childhood setting. The key to the effectiveness of the Electronic Blocks lies in an adherence to theories of development and learning throughout the Electronic Blocks design process.
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