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CN12: New Methods for Designing for and with the iChild: Strategies for Today’s Mobile, Social, and Internet Technologies

Quick Facts

Time: Tuesday, 13 April 2010, 14:30 to 18:00
Units: 2
Organizers: Allison Druin, Mona Leigh Guha, Jerry Alan Fails


Today’s young people are information active, socially aware, and highly mobile. Designing new technologies for the iChild necessitates new design strategies. Attendees in this course will be introduced to new co-design methods that have been specifically adapted for mobility, distributed sociability, and ubiquitous digital information, Attendees will participate in hands-on activities that use actual techniques for design. Each design method will be given a context by presenting technologies that have been developed with that method. Attendees will leave the course having been introduced to or updated on co-design techniques that can lead to new technologies for the independent, interactive, and information active iChild.


The audience for this course requires no special background. We view design as most effective when it is interdisciplinary; therefore, we welcome and encourage attendance by industry professionals, academics, and students from a wide variety of communities (e.g., design, computer science, information studies, and psychology). This course has been updated to include new information, and thus will provide new learning to participants who have taken our past courses.


At CHI 2008 and CHI 2009, an earlier version of this course was taught. In CHI 2008 the course received the highest survey ratings of any CHI course. Other courses that have lead to the development of this course were presented at Interaction Design and Children 2003; International Congress on Toys, Games, and Media 2002; Participatory Design Conference 2002; CHI 1998, CHI 1995, CHI 1994, SIGGRAPH 1993, and CHI 1990.


  • Hands-on experience using new methods in designing for children’s mobile, social, and Internet technologies.
  • Historical overview of co-designing with children
  • Examples of technologies that have been developed with children using co-design methods


  • Allison Druin is director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) and Associate Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies. Since 1998, she has led interdisciplinary, intergenerational research teams of to create new educational technologies for children. Her work has included: developing mobile technologies for storytelling, exploring social computing environments to enhance music education, and empirical work in understanding how children search on the Internet. (see http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/~allisond)
  • Mona Leigh Guha is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Human Development at the University of Maryland and is a graduate research assistant. Since 2002, she has worked with Dr. Druin in designing technology with and for children. Her doctoral research focuses on the cognitive and social benefits of the technology design processes for children as co-designers.
  • Jerry Alan Fails is an assistant professor of computer science at Montclair State University in New Jersey. His primary focus is Human-Computer Interaction, with a current focus on technologies that support children’s creativity, mobility, and collaboration. (see: http://netdrive.montclair.edu/~failsj/)