When Children Program Intelligent Environments: Lessons Learned from a Serious AR Game

15 Stefanidi, E., Korozi, M., Leonidis, A., Arampatzis, Antona, M., &
Papagiannakis, G. In the Proceedings of the ACM Interaction Design and Children conference 2021
(IDC 2021), on-line, 26-30 June. 2021 While the body of research focusing on Intelligent Environments (IEs) programming by adults is steadily growing, informed insights about children as programmers of such environments are limited. Previous work already established that young children can learn programming basics. Yet, there is still a need to investigate whether this capability can be transferred in the context of IEs, since encouraging children to participate in the management of their intelligent surroundings can enhance responsibility, independence, and the spirit of cooperation. We performed a user study (N=15) with children aged 7-12, using a block-based, gamified AR spatial coding prototype allowing to manipulate smart artifacts in an Intelligent Living room. Our results validated that children understand and can indeed program IEs. Based on our findings, we contribute preliminary implications regarding the use of specific technologies and paradigms (e.g. AR, trigger-action programming) to inspire future systems that enable children to create enriching experiences in IEs. https://doi.org/10.1145/3459990.3462463

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