Co-designing with children in an online environment is increasingly important due to external factors, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and the diversification and inclusion of youth participants. Many prior studies about co-design with youth focus on co-located or asynchronous online sessions. However, conducting synchronous online co-design sessions adds layers of complexity and uncertainty to collaboration. This paper introduces a model explicating factors to consider when co-designing with children synchronously in an online space. We examined ten consecutive intergenerational participatory design sessions online where children (ages 7-11) and adults designed new technologies. Along with highlighting unexpected moments and interactions, we use theories of improvisation to guide our understanding of dynamic situations that are out of the control of researchers. This work contributes to improving theoretical understanding of improvisation as a method of inquiry for co-designing with youth, and offers practical suggestions for suitable online co-design techniques and implementation.
When schools and families form a good partnership, children benefit. With the recent flourishing of communication apps, families and schools in China have shifted their primary communication channels to chat groups hosted on popular instant-messenger(IM) tools such as WeChat and QQ. With an interview study consisting of 18 parents and 9 teachers, followed by a survey study with 210 teachers, we found that IM group chat has become the most popular way that the majority of parents and teachers communicate, from among the many different channels available. While there are definite advantages to this kind of group chat, we also found a number of problematic issues, including a lack of privacy and repeated negative feedback shared by both parents and teachers. We discuss our results on how IM-based group chat could affect Chinese teachers' authoritative figures, affect Chinese teacher's work-life balance and potentially compromise Chinese students' privacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent closure of schools forced families across the globe to transition to school at home. This unprecedented context is likely to have a lasting impact on the practice of schooling and the role of online, digital platforms within school contexts. In this paper we present a contextual inquiry of an ‘emergency home school context’, detailing how nine young families in Melbourne, Australia adapted to the unexpected introduction of school to the home following the government-directed closure of schools. Through an online interview and photo-journal study, we develop an emplaced understanding of the context detailing how the relations between people and places around the home evolved over time. We present five design considerations for digital platforms to support the emergency home school context, placing focus on the fluid roles, relationships and evolving sense of place.
The COVID-19 global pandemic and resulted lockdown policies have forced education in nearly every country to switch from a traditional co-located paradigm to a pure online “distance learning from home” paradigm. Lying in the center of this learning paradigm shift is the emergence and wide adoption of distance communication tools and live streaming platforms for education. Here, we present a mixed-methods study on live streaming based education experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. We focus our analysis on Chinese higher education, carried out semi-structured interviews on 30 students, and 7 instructors from diverse colleges and disciplines, meanwhile launched a large-scale survey covering 6291 students and 1160 instructors in one leading Chinese university. Our study not only reveals important design guidelines and insights to better support current remote learning experience during the pandemic, but also provides valuable implications towards constructing future collaborative education supporting systems and experience after pandemic.
Today, preschool-aged children have an abundance of digital content to choose from, with some more desirable than others from a developmental perspective. We aim to describe and better understand the interplay of factors that influence children’s selection of media content using a year-long, multi-case ethnography of 13 diverse families in Southern California. We found that young children’s media content selection may be best understood as an ecologically situated process involving the interplay between the content, the child, their family, community, and societal spheres. Children do not make media selections on their own. Rather, these choices are supported or constrained by a range of resource, culture, and policy factors specific to family and community background. We argue that policy makers and technology designers are better served by an ecological perspective if they wish to understand how digital content is selected and used by children in sociocultural context.
Digital fabrication courses that relied on physical makerspaces were severely disrupted by COVID-19. As universities shut down in Spring 2020, instructors developed new models for digital fabrication at a distance. Through interviews with faculty and students and examination of course materials, we recount the experiences of eight remote digital fabrication courses. We found that learning with hobbyist equipment and online social networks could emulate using industrial equipment in shared workshops. Furthermore, at-home digital fabrication offered unique learning opportunities including more iteration, machine tuning, and maintenance. These opportunities depended on new forms of labor and varied based on student living situations. Our findings have implications for remote and in-person digital fabrication instruction. They indicate how access to tools was important, but not as critical as providing opportunities for iteration; they show how remote fabrication exacerbated student inequities; and they suggest strategies for evaluating trade-offs in remote fabrication models with respect to learning objectives.
This paper investigates in-class interactions in synchronous online classrooms when the choice of modality is discretionary, such that students choose when and if they turn on their cameras and microphones. Instructor interviews (N = 7) revealed that most students preferred not to share videos and verbally participate. This hindered instructors' ability to read their classrooms and make deeper connections with students. Survey results (N = 102) suggested that students felt a lacking sense of community in online vs. in-person lectures. Some students felt uncomfortable broadcasting their appearances to everyone in the class, and some were unaware of the benefits for instructors. Most students favored using the text chat to participate. Considering the needs of both instructors and students, we propose recommendations to mitigate the loss of classroom interactions by collecting and presenting less invasive social cues in an aggregated format, and incorporating opportunities for informal exchanges and individual control to spark peer bonding.
We investigated changes in and factors affecting American adolescents’ subjective wellbeing during the early months (April – August 2020) of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Twenty-one teens (14-19 years) participated in interviews at the start and end of the study and completed ecological momentary assessments three times per week between the interviews. There was an aggregate trend toward increased wellbeing, with considerable variation within and across participants. Teens reported greater reliance on networked technologies as their unstructured time increased during lockdown. Using multilevel growth modeling, we found that how much total time teens spent with technology had less bearing on daily fluctuations in wellbeing than the satisfaction and meaning they derived from their technology use. Ultimately, teens felt online communication could not replace face-to-face interactions. We conducted two follow-up participatory design sessions with nine teens to explore these insights in greater depth and reflect on general implications for design to support teens’ meaningful technology experiences and wellbeing during disruptive life events.
Social class contexts shape parents’ guiding principles around teens’ smartphone use. These contexts can affect how parents coach and censor their teens’ smartphone use and can create tensions in the home. Through 174 interviews (87 parent-teen dyads), we find that upper-middle-class families generally adopt an orientation toward scaffolded achievements and working-class families tend to embrace an orientation toward empowered self-sufficiency. We further find that these class-based orientations contribute to parent-teen tensions. For upper-middle-class families, tensions arise when parents insist that teens should use smartphones to get help with academic and enrichment activities and teens disagree about whether their phone-related activities align with this goal. In contrast, we find that conflict can occur in working-class families when teens use their smartphones to get assistance and parents interpret such activity as teens being lazy or not self-sufficient. These findings highlight the role of social class contexts in shaping families’ orientations toward teens’ smartphone use and phone-related tensions.
Researchers and designers have incorporated social media affordances into learning technologies to engage young people and support personally relevant learning, but youth may reject these attempts because they do not meet user expectations. Through in-depth case studies, we explore the sociotechnical ecosystems of six teens (ages 15-18) working at a science center that had recently introduced a digital badge system to track and recognize their learning. By analyzing interviews, observations, ecological momentary assessments, and system data, we examined tensions in how badges as connected learning technologies operate in teens' sociotechnical ecosystems. We found that, due to issues of unwanted context collapse and incongruent identity representations, youth only used certain affordances of the system and did so sporadically. Additionally, we noted that some features seemed to prioritize values of adult stakeholders over youth. Using badges as a lens, we reveal critical tensions and offer design recommendations for networked learning technologies.
“Study with me” videos contain footages of people studying for hours, in which social components like conversations or informational content like instructions are absent. Recently, they became increasingly popular on video-sharing platforms. This paper provides the first broad look into what “study with me” videos are and how people use them. We analyzed 30 “study with me” videos and conducted 12 interviews with their viewers to understand their motivation and viewing practices. We identified a three-factor model that explains the mechanism for shaping a satisfactory studying experience in general. One of the factors, a well-suited ambience, was difficult to create because of two common challenges: external conditions that prevent studying in study-friendly places and extra cost needed to create a personally desired ambience. We found that the viewers used “study with me” videos to create a personalized ambience at a lower cost, to find controllable peer pressure, and to get emotional support. These findings suggest that the viewers self-regulate their learning through watching “study with me” videos to improve efficiency even when studying alone at home.
Personal informatics (PI) technologies allow users to collect data about aspects of their lifestyle like mood or step count. Though teens increasingly encounter and use such technologies, little is known about how they ascribe meaning to their own PI activities. We report a qualitative study of the PI experiences of eighteen teens (aged 14 – 17). Following a learning phase focused on interpreting PI data, participants chose a personal goal that interested them and a PI tool to track it for 4-8 weeks in everyday contexts. Participants proved to be competent, flexible users of PI tools, tracking a range of meaningful life factors, from ‘worries’ to ‘exercise’; they valued learning about ‘natural patterns’ in their lives and were motivated to manage their emotions and evaluate whether they were doing the right thing. Our findings contribute to understanding how young people can engage in appropriation and interpretation of PI data – suggesting opportunities for educational interventions and design.
Bullying is a challenge concerning us all, and particularly our children. This has already been acknowledged by CHI, among others. Despite the interest, there is a lack of comprehensive understanding of the state of the art – a critical review is needed, addressing bullying in the lives of children, in the context of and/or by the means of design and technology, covering CHI as well as related computing fields, being inspired by the strong body of knowledge within human sciences. We report on a comprehensive literature review on the topic, with the aim to understand what and how has been done so far to handle this troublesome and widespread phenomenon as well as to indicate how to move the field forward. We report how the topic has been examined and with what kind of means tackled, revealing interesting underlying assumptions about design, technology and human agency.