The amount and quality of mathematical language in the family are positively associated with promoting children’s mathematical abilities. However, mathematical language in many families is poor. Through need-finding investigation, we developed MathKingdom, a voice-agent-based game that helps children aged 4–7 learn and use rich, accurate mathematical language (e.g., mathematical expressions related to measurement, sequence, patterns). The game has four flows, in which users can wake up, transform, decorate, and perform as their avatars, as well as practice basic mathematical vocabulary, mathematical single sentences, coherent mathematical statements, and free expression. We refined the system design through wizard-of-oz testing and then evaluated it with 18 families. The results showed that MathKingdom effectively engaged children, enhanced their mathematical language skills and mathematical abilities, and encouraged parent-child conversations about math.
In recent years, growing research has been made on supporting children to become more autonomous in the digital environment around them. However, there has been little consensus regarding the conceptualisation of digital autonomy for children in the HCI community and how best they can be supported. Through a systematic review of autonomy-supportive designs within HCI research, this paper makes three contributions: a landscape overview of the existing conceptualisation of Digital Autonomy for children within HCI; a framework of 12 distinct design mechanisms for supporting children's digital autonomy, clustered into 5 categories by their common mechanisms; and an identification of 5 critical design considerations for future support of children's digital autonomy. Our findings provide a critical understanding of current support for children's digital autonomy in HCI. We highlight the importance of considering children's digital autonomy from multi-perspectives and suggest critical factors and gaps to be considered for future autonomy-supportive designs.
Computational thinking (CT) education reaches only a fraction of young children, in part because CT learning tools often require expensive hardware or fluent literacy. Block-based programming environments address these challenges through symbolic graphical interfaces, but users often need instructor support to advance. Alternatively, voice-based tools provide direct instruction on CT concepts but can present memory and navigation challenges to users. In this work, we present Visual StoryCoder, a multimodal tablet application that combines the strengths of each of these approaches to overcome their respective weaknesses. Visual StoryCoder introduces children ages 5–8 to CT through creative storytelling, offers direct instruction via a pedagogical voice agent, and eases use through a block-like graphical interface. In a between-subjects evaluation comparing Visual StoryCoder to a leading block-based programming app for this age group (N=24), we show that Visual StoryCoder is more understandable to independent learners, leads to higher-quality code after app familiarization, and encourages personally meaningful projects.
Datafication refers to the practices through which children's online actions are pervasively recorded, tracked, aggregated, analysed, and exploited by online services in ways including behavioural engineering and monetisation. Previous research has shown that not only do children care significantly about various aspects of datafication, but they demand a chance to take action. Through 10 co-design sessions with 53 children, we examined how children in the UK want to be supported to cope with the datafication practices. Our findings provide insights for creating age-appropriate support for children's algorithmic literacy development, highlighting and unpacking the importance of no one-size-fitting-all designs to support children's coping with datafication. We contribute a first understanding of how children aged 7--14 would like to be supported with datafication and what future data-driven digital experiences should be like for them, who demand a shift of the current data ecosystem towards a more humane-by-design and autonomy-supportive future.
Siblings play a crucial and long-lasting role in family connections and relationships. However, with the older sibling transitioning out of their parental home, maintaining a close sibling relationship can be challenging, especially if siblings have a large age difference. We conducted a diary and interview study with nine families in China which have spaced siblings, to identify design opportunities for technology to better support their communication and connection needs. We contribute to the HCI community in three aspects. First, we contribute an empirical understanding of current communication patterns from distributed families with large age gap siblings in China. Second, we identify current facilitation roles, practices, and challenges regarding sibling relationships from different stakeholders' perspectives. Last but not least, we present technological opportunities for supporting the large-gap sibling relationship, informing directions for future research and design for distributed families.
HCI researchers have been investigating family dynamics with new and emerging technologies during joint media engagement (JME) experiences. However, most studies describe family dynamics from parents’ perspectives, such as their roles and mediation practices, while the roles and agency of other family members are less understood. In this paper, we examine family dynamics through the lens of negotiation between family members. Our study is located within an informal learning program called Family Creative Learning, where families from non-dominant groups were invited to participate in a series of workshops to create with a programming app called ScratchJr. Through analysis of data that included process, artifact, and reflective data, we identify negotiation practices of family members as they advocate for device and creative control. We further discuss how the lens of negotiation expands the meaning of productive JME in family contexts and highlight design considerations to facilitate engaging joint family experiences with educational technologies.