Rethinking Children’s Co-Creation Processes beyond the Design of Tangible User Interfaces @IDC2018

Description of the Workshop

The design of Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) has often involved children. Nowadays, the term co-creation is gaining momentum and extending the already established role of children as co-designers. In this sense children become creators of new personalized experiences not only during the design process but also when using the final interactive products. Such dynamic opens new possibilities reshaping the role and the development of tangibles by providing users “building blocks” for creative experimentations.

This workshop at IDC2018 aims at bringing together researchers and practitioners from relevant disciplines and expertise to reflect on the co-creation approach, and on the possibilities that it opens for the development of innovative tools that place the users in the centre of the creative process. Contributions to this workshop may address diverse aspects related to co-creation from different perspectives. The ultimate aim of the workshop is to discuss the research challenges and the pedagogical issues that need to be addressed when designing TUIs for co-creation.

Invited speaker: Kreg Hanning (Lifelong Kindergarten research group, MIT Media LaB)

Kreg's work centers on the development of new tools and activities to promote physical tinkering—that is, new ways to engage children in creative explorations through physical construction. As a member of the Scratch Team, Kreg has developed many Scratch extensions, enabling children to use Scratch for controlling hardware devices, accessing online data, and connecting with web services. Through Scratch extensions, Kreg hopes to provide children with new opportunities to think about, and interact with, the world around them.

Call for participation

If you are participating in IDC 2018, please contact us if you have an interest to participate in this workshop. Most welcome!  There are some seats available. 

Given the enormous potential of tangible interfaces for involving children in co-creation practices, this workshop aims at analysing and reflecting on the possibilities afforded by TUIs to support co-creation processes not only during the design phase of the technology but extending the creative process into the ‘use time’. We invite researchers working on tangible interfaces, child-computer interaction, and interaction designers to join us at the 2018 ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Conference ( to critically reflect on these aspects.

 We would like to address questions like the following:
- Which design principles help TUIs to scaffold creative practices?
- Which strategies must be considered to design for design after design, as a way to facilitate creative practices in children?
- How to design TUIs that support co-creation from children and/or facilitators (teachers, parents, tutors)?
- Which design and pedagogical challenges need to be taken into account?

Format and Schedule

The full-day workshop will give participants the opportunity to engage in different activities. Firstly, the participants will share their experiences and contributions through video, demos and presentations. This input will feed the focus group session, in which co-creation strategies will be discussed from different participants’ perspectives. Later, participants will engage in clusters in a hands-on session in which they will work together to bring a proof-of-concept prototype to raise discussion on challenges. The outcomes will be presented and discussed. Finally, time will be allocated to foster open discussions for plans to establish collaborations, create synergies and discuss possibilities for joint publications.

The detailed schedule is as follows (tentative):

9:00     Welcome & Introductions
9:10    Participant Input - Show & Tell presentations
10:00    Coffee Break
10:15    Show & Tell presentations
11:40    Invited talk by Kreg Hanning (Lifelong Kindergarten research group, MIT Media Lab)
12:15    Lunch Break
13:30    Cluster work: Hand-on session with ScratchBit
15:15    Coffee break
15:45    General discussion, Plans for collaborations, synergies, reports and publications
17:00    Workshop end

You can address your questions and your interest in participating by email. 

The next videos demonstrate the flexibility of natural interactions enabled with ScratchBit, which can directly be used from a Scratch interface:


The organizers have together a varied background on diverse relevant areas such as interaction design and learning, children-computer interaction, tangible and embodied interaction, human computer-interaction, and interactive storytelling. Join us to discuss different perspectives and make the workshop a successful event. We are looking forward to your participation!

Alejandro Catalá (a.catala at, Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, The Netherlands. Currently with the Research Centre in Information Technologies (Centro Singular de Investigacion en Tecnoloxias da Informacion, CiTIUS), University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Cristina Sylla (sylla at, Center for Child Studies/engageLab, University of Minho, Portugal.

Mariët Theune (m.theune  at, Human Media Interaction, University of Twente, The Netherlands.

Eva Brooks (eb at Department and Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.

Janet C. Read (jcread at Child Computer Interaction Resarch Group,  University of Central Lancashire,Preston, UK.

You can address your questions and your interest in participating by email.