What we Learn When Designing with Marginalised Children

IDC 2020 Workshop 12: What we Learn When Designing with Marginalised Children

June 2020, online event

So much child computer interaction (CCI) research has focused on the process of how to involve children and technology artifact production, especially when there’s a ‘problem’ to be ‘fixed’. These insights have been hugely important, but to allow for design work with marginalised children to mature and grow in pace with the concerns of the broader CCI community we propose that there’s a need to be clear about what is learned from past experiences.

Can we learn from these encounters?

What can we learn?

What are some of the challenges?

What forms of transferable knowledge does this take?

Really pleased that we were able to carry out this workshop at the ACM Interaction Design and Children conference in June 2020, in Virtual-London 😉

To read about the discussions that this workshop generated, please visit the Inclusive education technologies website. A very big thanks to the workshop participants and co-organisers for being part of it.

A focus on values

silos of lego

 

 

Over recent years, child computer interaction (CCI) research has pushed the agenda for interaction design, embedding the contributions of children throughout the design process. Researchers are teasing out and critiquing the roles that children are proposed to play and the impact this has on their contributions (see for example Alison Druin’s work on the hierarchy of roles, 1999). What is less clear, particularly for children who have neurodiverse profiles, is how their contributions actually impact on design decisions in practice. This leads me to side-step and explore what we are actually expecting from kids in research.

 

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that we as adults cannot begin to assume what children might want from their technologies without asking them, which pretty much just repeats and reinforces the direction of recent qualitative CCI research. What I have struggled to gauge is how we begin to describe children’s meaningful contributions in terms of reflecting what is important to them and what we call this.

 

I’ve noted that some researchers, particularly those working in the fields of co-design (or related) are exploring the notion of values. It is increasingly becoming apparent that defining the term ‘values’ is a tricky task as any variation on its definition consequently impacts on its exploration.  But how can we investigate it if we can’t define it? Surely there’s some synergy to be had!

 

This post isn’t intended to be a review of the literature so I won’t be defining and cross-referencing here (but look out for that soon).  This post is intended to shine a light on adult expectations for what we think children will want to share (overtly or indirectly) then challenge this so that we can once again reflect on all the things that actually reflect meaningful life experiences for children that we miss – because we define in narrow terms.

 

Confused, right?  Well, yes.  It’s a muddy topic that has silos of mind-blowing advancements which are just that; self contained and not quite applicable for real-life cases that challenge predefined scenarios.

 

More on this topic to follow in later posts.

 

.silos of lego

Interaction Design and Children 2016: pre-conference workshop ‘Roles & Values’

IDC 2016

IDC 2016

Today I was fortunate to participate in the IDC 2016 pre-conference workshop which explored Roles and Values of Children in Design.
‘Role Workshop’ organisers: Monica Landoni, Elisa Rubegni, Emma Nicol, Janet C Read

‘Value Workshop’ organisers: Helle Skovbjerg, Tilde Bekker, Wolmet Barendregt

The course organisers carefully orchestrated discussions on how participants of this interdisciplinary group reflected on the multitude of assumptions and positions we take in striving to involve children in positive and meaningful ways.

For me, the main take-home messages focused on:

  • how multi-stakeholders approach this with different design and research goals which ultimately influence the roles we may already pre-conceive for children
  • Fostering a dialogic learning process for all
  • negotiations with different stakeholders; whether this be academia, industry or families around the child, and
  • tools for helping to promote reflexivity.

The organisers introduced a card based tool to support in questioning designer / researcher assumptions about a ‘type of child’ that technologies might be intended for; which allowed again, for reflecting on and questioning a specific persona one may have in mind for specific technologies.  The group also presented the Clothes Line approach for supporting the design process whilst working through, ‘sorting’ and ‘airing’ ideas.

A really interesting day packed full of many fruitful mini discussions!