Oct 1, 2010

Child-Computer Interaction: A Featured Community at the Upcoming CHI 2011 Conference!

Last year, I attended CHI 2010 and participated in a workshop about the next generation of HCI and education.  It was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas with people from all over the world who are interested in emerging technologies, kids, and education.  I plan to attend CHI 2011 in Vancouver, Canada next May 7-11, and even though the conference is months away, I can barely wait.  The good news it that the Child-Computer Interaction community will have an important presence at the 2011 ACM CHI conference.  I wanted to share a little bit about this development on this blog. 

During CHI 2010, I signed up for the  "Designing for the iChild" course.  In one afternoon, I learned more than I had expected, especially the technique called "Layered Elaboration", a collaborative design strategy that involves inter-generational teams of children and adults.  
One of the leaders of this course was Allison Druin, Associate Professor and director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland.  Dr. Druin's focus is in the area of child-computer interaction and how children can be meaningfully involved as partners in the design process.  

The quote below, found on the HCIL Children as Design Partners website, explains why this is so important:

"We have a chance to change technology, but more importantly we have a chance to change the life of a child. Every time a new technology enables a child to do something they never dreamed of, there are new possibilities for the future."  -Allison Druin

In my work as a school psychologist, I use technology with students quite often, especially when I'm at Wolfe, a program for students who have more complex disabilities, including severe autism.  I have been fortunate to have a new SMARTBoard at my fingertips, and access to the school's SMARTtable.  I learn from my students every day.

I believe that we are only at the "tip of the iceberg" with this sort of technology- and related applications such as the iPad and similar devices.   In my experience, well designed technologies and applications can open up a meaningful window to the world for children, teens, and others with disabilities.

Most of the information below was taking from the CHI 2011 conference website:

About the Child-Computer Interaction (CCI) community:

"At CHI, the CCI community will want to attract papers and contributions that represent real advances in the understanding of, or development and refinement of methods for, child computer interaction. It will also seek to unearth groundbreaking innovations addressing the needs, capabilities and preferences of children that have the potential to become reference works for developments in this field."

"By its very nature, The CCI community will have to be divergent in its thinking at CHI; it must also be about two of the mainstream CHI communities – engineering and design, but will potentially also be concerned with many of the communities of technologies (Smart devices, surfaces, mobile), of experiences (Play, Learning, Communication) and of methods (participatory design, evaluation)." ....

"Child Computer Interaction is a new community for CHI. It is a place for contributions where a method or a design is proposed that is especially suited to children and that could not sensibly be easily adapted for adults.  

We are keen to have contributions to all the usual CHI tracks but are also offering four special tracks for our own extra special community. These are:

Child Partnership Projects (CPP): A design competition for teams that include children.
Participatory Papers: Scholarly publications that are disseminated for children readers. (i.e. written in a different way)
Lessons from the Trenches: Targeting industrial cases and experiences. A lively venue where experiences can be exchanged, and researchers can be exposed to the realities of industrial practice in this domain.
Theatre pieces: High quality video contributions, available in a library after the conference, of methods that can be re used and learned from."

Child-Computer Interaction Chairs:
Janet C. Read
University of Central Lancashire
Panos Markopoulos
Eindhoven University of Techology
Allison Druin
University of Maryland

Walsh, G., Druin, A., Guha, ML, Foss, B., Golub, E., Hatley, L (2009)  [PDF] Layered Elaboration: A New Technique for Co-Design with Children.  ACM CHI 2009 

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