Call for Participation: Immersive Media and Child Development Workshop at IDC 2019

by Kiley Sobel, PhD
February 19, 2019

On June 15, 2019, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center and foundry10 will host the 2019 Interaction Design & Children conference workshop on Immersive Media and Child Development. The aim of this workshop is to bring together a community of researchers, designers, practitioners, and other experts who are interested in the responsible design of immersive media for children, while taking into account children’s developmental needs, equity, and inclusivity.

Immersive media in this context includes augmented, virtual, cross, and mixed reality. More than and different from other media, immersive media have the potential to affect children’s imagination, empathy, and experiential, embodied learning. We also believe there are possibilities for these media to create more inclusive, equitable lives for children or exclusive, inequitable ones; to close or widen digital divides; and to empower or disempower children. This is not only because immersive media impart the feeling of really “being there,” blurring the lines between what is real and what is not, but also because young children have difficulty developmentally in distinguishing truth from fiction. Therefore, these media may be powerfully harmful or beneficial, depending on how systems and their messages are deployed.

Our workshop comes at a critical time when many immersive media systems are not yet approved to be used by children under age 13, but, at the same time, are becoming more commercially available and affordable for adult consumers. Before these media become pervasive in children’s lives, we want to be proactive in ensuring that immersive media hardware, software, and content are designed with children’s development, equity, and inclusivity in mind.

Together, at the workshop, we will discuss and make connections across our work, participate in hands-on activities, and begin producing a set of design guidelines for immersive media for children, grounded in our collective experience, research, and knowledge of the field. We will publish these guidelines as a white paper after the workshop to distribute them to interested industries, developers, designers, and more to positively impact the future of childhood.

Now, we invite interested participants to submit a short position paper that includes their research/interest area, what they hope to get out of the workshop, and a brief personal bio (2-4 pages in CHI Extended Abstract format, new or old). We welcome participants who work with children and immersive media or who have knowledge about children that may apply to the design of immersive media for children, regardless of any experience with these systems.  At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop by registering for both the workshop and the main conference. Email submissions to futureofchildhood [at] sesame.org by April 5, 2019.

For more information, visit the workshop website: https://imdc-workshop.wixsite.com/idc2019.