Final Exam - Face-to-Face Collaboration Technology for Children

July 7, 2020 - 9:30am
This exam will be held remotely.

PhD Candidate: Kyle Diederich


Face-to-face communication and collaboration are important aspects of young children’s healthy development. One of the most successful approaches to support this development, Tools of the Mind (ToM), a Vygotskyan approach to early childhood education with an emphasis on sociodramatic play, involves extensive training and support to implement. I worked together with 3-4-year-old children over 39 design sessions to co-design a system of technology supports, called StoryCarnival, that lowers the barriers to employing ToM-style play. Working with a new group of 3-year-old and a new group of 4-5-year-old children, I compared implementing ToM-style play both with and without StoryCarnival technology supports. I found that StoryCarnival helped children stay on-task, that the activities (with or without technology supports) fit better with 3-year-olds, that different types of stories motivated different types of sociodramatic play, and that group size and style of researcher support impacted the quality of the play. Based on my results following the comparison between StoryCarnival and ToM without technology supports, I designed a Free Text with Suggestions interface to support single person control of a voice agent. This interface significantly decreased adult facilitators’ frustration and physical demand while increasing feelings of success.

Advisor: Juan Pablo Hourcade

Please contact Kyle for further details, if you wish to join his final exam.