The participation of children in the design of new technology
Existing participative approaches draw on several rationales. Many researchers argue that children learn best when engaged in authentic activities that matter to them in their everyday lives rather than abstract conceptual tasks. Authentic learning can only occur if we work with children on what is authentic to them. Additionally, a great deal of participative design is based on constructivist models of learning, in which schools are viewed less as environments for assimilating data, and more as environments of active inquiry, investigation and constructing new understandings.
Other researchers are more interested in the forms of democratic participation promoted by the involvement of children in design. The democratic ideal, they suggest, is one in which children's voices are heard and have an impact on their education. It has been argued that much new technology designed without the participation of users is constrictive, only offering opportunities for reactive interactivity rather than the elasticity to stretch students' potential for innovation and creativity.
The most democratic forms of participative design involve children in long-term design partnerships, but such approaches remain to date largely university-based and difficult to implement both commercially and in schools. An iterative 'informant design' methodology, which brings children and teachers together with researchers and designers in a staged process, is described, with recommendations for practitioners in education and the commercial sector in developing approaches to including children in new technology design.
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|J. P. Gee, Jean Lave, Seymour Papert, Jean Piaget, Marc Prensky, Etienne Wenger|
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|Computerspielecomputer game, Kinderchildren, Lernenlearning|
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