15 Apr

Interaction Design and Children 2013 – New York City, NY


I am excited to go to my first Interaction Design and Children Conference in New York City, NY. Since my work focuses on children designing technologies and learning environments, this is the place to be. I will be presenting four papers I either lead or co-authored.

Full paper

Yip, J.C., Clegg, T., Bonsignore, E., Gelderblom, H., Rhodes, E., & Druin, A. (in press). Brownies or Bags-of-Stuff? Domain expertise in Cooperative Inquiry with children. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’13).
[PDF – Full paper]


Researchers often utilize the method of Participatory Design to work together with users to enhance technology. In particular, Cooperative Inquiry is a method of Participatory Design with children that involves full partnership between researchers and children. One important challenge designers face in creating learning technologies is that these technologies are often situated in specific activities and contexts. While children involved in these activities may have subject expertise (e.g., science inquiry process), they may not have design expertise (e.g., design aesthetics, usability). In contrast, children with design expertise may be familiar with how to design with researchers, but may not have subject expertise. Little is known about the distinction between child design and subject experts in Cooperative Inquiry. In this paper, we examine two cases – involving children with design expertise and those with subject expertise – to better understand the design process for both groups of children. The data from this study suggests that similarities do exist between the two cases, but that design and subject knowledge does play a significant role in how children co-design learning technologies.

Short paper

Yip, J.C., Foss, E., Bonsignore, E., Guha, M.L., Norooz, L., Rhodes, E., McNally, B., Papadatos, P., Golub, E., & Druin, A. (2013). Children initiating and leading Cooperative Inquiry sessions. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’13).
[PDF – Short paper]


Cooperative Inquiry is a Participatory Design method that involves children (typically 7-11 years old) as full partners with adults in the design of technologies intended for use by children. For many years, child designers have worked together with adults in Cooperative Inquiry approaches. However, in the past children have not typically initiated the design problems tackled by the intergenerational team, nor have they acted in leadership roles by conducting design sessions– until now. In this paper, we detail three case studies of Cooperative Inquiry in which children led the process of design, from initial problem formulation through one iteration of design review and elaboration. We frame our analysis from three perspectives on the design process: behaviors exhibited by child leaders and their fellow co-designers; supports required for child leaders; and views expressed by child leaders and their co-design cohort about the sessions that they led.

Short paper

Ahn, J., Gubbels, M., Yip, J.C., Bonsignore, E., & Clegg, T.L. (2013). Using social media and learning analytics to understand how children engage in scientific inquiry. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’13).
[PDF – Short Paper]


Children are increasingly using social media tools in their lives. In addition, there is great interest in understanding how to design and evaluate social technologies to aid in children’s learning and development. We describe two research endeavors that begin to address these issues. First, we introduce SINQ, a social media application that encourages children to practice Scientific INQuiry skills through collaborative participation. Second, we conducted a case study of SINQ with six children, ages 8-11, and collected log data of their interactions in the app. We applied learning analytics on this log data using a visual analytic tool called LifeFlow. The event-sequence visualizations showed how children engaged with scientific inquiry within the SINQ app, and most importantly illuminated how inquiry is not a linear process with a defined start and end. The children in our study traversed the inquiry process via diverse pathways, all of which were supported by the SINQ app.

Demo paper

Ahn, J., Yip, J.C., & Gubbels, M. (in press). SINQ: Designing social media to foster everyday scientific inquiry for children. Demo paper in Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’13).
[PDF – Demo paper]


In this paper, we describe a mobile, social media app called SINQ that was the product of a 15-month co-design process with a child design team. The goal of SINQ is to utilize social media design features in ways that help children conceptualize Scientific INQuiry practices through intuitive sharing of media and ideas from their everyday lives. We describe how SINQ builds from prior work in software for science learning and mobile technology for children. We also highlight how SINQ is a distinct evolution of technology for scientific inquiry learning. We argue that by taking seriously, the affordances of social media applications, new opportunities and design challenges arise for interaction design for learning technologies.