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Learning with Tangible Interfaces
MSc Post-Graduation

Technology is an active part of our lives and, without even noticing it, part of our daily activities became dependent on it. For that reason, software constructors began to pay special attention on people’s needs and interaction with both hardware and software they must deal with. Children are an emergent users’ group, as they are confronted with technology from an early stage of their development. Knowing that children see the world in a different way adults do and haven’t got yet the necessary dexterity to interact with some physical devices, special concerns arise. This happens especially if the application has an educational purpose, because they are more likely to need an extra motivation to use it than adults. Given that, a new subfield of Human-Computer Interaction appeared with special concerns related to children’s applications and how they interact with them: Child-Computer Interaction. When creating children’s technology the concept of ubiquity seems to rise almost naturally. The idea of children interacting with technology without even noticing it seems perfect. This may be achieved if the interactions are based on everyday objects and actions children are used to. The purpose of this thesis is to create a tool that enables children to build their own educational games, based on physical objects with which they interact. This idea follows a Learningby- Teaching approach in which children are given the instructor’s role. Researchers have found that the best way to create children’s software is to let them take an active part on the construction process. Bearing that in mind three design sessions were conducted with children, based on the Bluebells Method, so they could give us the insight needed to create an intuitive application. Finally, usability tests were made to the created prototype in order not only to study its’ usability but also to understand if children’s motivation to create their own game engages them into learning more about the application’s subject.

Start Date: 2008-10-01

End Date: 2009-11-03

Post-Graduation Student / Researcher / Professor:
  • Laetitia dos Reis e Silva Mendes ( Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa )

Post-Graduation Supervisor(s):

Post-Graduation Jury:
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