Topic 2: Children and Usability

Fri Oct 11

(Hervanta Campus, Konetalo, audiorium K1703)


Sumita Sharma: Technology for Children with Special Needs

Research on technology for children with special needs has already firmly established the benefits of novel and interactive applications. These include controllable input stimuli with predictable outcomes, a controlled and safe environment, the possibility of unlimited repetitions, the possibility for multi-sensory output, customization for each individual, scalability to serve several individuals, and the potential to mediate social interactions. Yet, only a few interventions are actually adopted in the long term, after the researcher has left. Further, within the accessibility community there are two opposing schools of thought – to build applications that are tailored to the requirements of a specific user group or then to make applications being used almost universally more inclusive. Based on the speakers own research expertise, this talk presents an overview of the state of the art in novel technologies for children with special needs and the possible ways forward to design and develop long-term and sustainable solutions. 


Jussi Okkonen: Minors and AI

The talk discusses youth AI driven media use focusing on trust together with media and information literacy from the perspective of youth agency. The findings are based on a two interview rounds among youth and their parents in Finland, Russia and South-Africa. The issues of confirmation bias caused by AI driven services and how people are affected to them brought about. According to informants the AI caused bias is positive in sense the content is what users’ desires, but on the other hand blocked serendipity has also the ill effects. Media has strong effect on opinions and actions and therefore the acknowledged confirmation bias affects the process on becoming empowered citizen. The trend emphasized in current empirical research is the non-participating and heavily entertained youth with superficial or extreme opinions. This has great societal effect, since those in transition seem to surrender their power and become indifferent on difficult, conflicting, or problematic issues in media and society. Moreover, the confirmation bias seems to enhance and encourage extremism especially among those who are active in digital platforms. Muting and staying in comfort zone puts also formation of citizenship into jeopardy.


Aino Ahtinen: Learning and Teaching with Social Robots

On the field of child-robot interaction (CRI), long-term field studies with users in authentic contexts are still rare. This presentation describes the findings from a 4-months field study of robot-assisted language learning (RALL). Here, we first shortly present Elias, the social and persuasive learning robot. Next, we describe our findings on the learning experiences of primary school pupils with Elias, and the experiences of the teachers while using Elias as a teaching tool. More specifically, we focus on studying user experience (UX), the robot’s tasks and role in school, and the experience of the multimodal interaction with the robot, from the perspective of persuasiveness. We also raise some ethical considerations related to robot-assisted learning, CRI and persuasive design.