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IDC Tables of Contents: 03040506070809101112131415

Proceedings of ACM IDC'04: Interaction Design and Children 2004-07-01

Fullname:IDC'04 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Note:Building a Community
Editors:Allison Druin
Location:Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Dates:2004-Jul-01 to 2004-Jul-03
Standard No:ISBN 1-58113-791-5; ACM DL: Table of Contents hcibib: IDC04
Links:Conference Home Page
Ambient wood: designing new forms of digital augmentation for learning outdoors BIBAFull-Text 3-10
  Y. Rogers; S. Price; G. Fitzpatrick; R. Fleck; E. Harris; H. Smith; C. Randell; H. Muller; C. O'Malley; D. Stanton; M. Thompson; M. Weal
Ubiquitous and mobile technologies provide opportunities for designing novel learning experiences that move out of the classroom. Information can be presented and interacted with in a variety of ways while exploring a physical environment. A key issue this raises is when, where, what and how much? Our research is concerned with the design, delivery and interaction of digital information when learning about ecology outdoors. We present a framework of the different forms of digital augmentation and the different processes by which they can be accessed. Using the framework, we designed an outdoors learning experience, aimed at encouraging students to carry out contextualized scientific enquiry and to reflect on their interactions. Pairs of 11-12 year olds explored a woodland and were presented at certain times with different forms of digital augmentation. Our study showed that this kind of exploration promoted interpretation and reflection at a number of levels of abstraction.
Teaching rhetorical skills with a tangible user interface BIBAFull-Text 11-18
  Mark Stringer; Eleanor F. Toye; Jennifer A. Rode; Alan F. Blackwell
We describe Webkit, an application which uses a large-screen graphical user interface and a tangible user interface to teach children important rhetorical skills. We discuss our evaluation of this application and possible future directions for computer-supported rhetorical applications.
Tangible ideas for children: materials sciences as the future of educational technology BIBAFull-Text 19-26
  Michael Eisenberg
Traditionally, the notion of "educational technology" has been equated with "educational computing". While computer technology is, and will continue to be, a central focus of educational technology, its importance is likely to be rivaled in the coming generation by developments in materials science. This paper represents an early attempt to discuss the role of novel materials in educational settings, and in children's lives more generally. We discuss a variety of fascinating new materials, all of potential importance in education; outline a number of existing and possible educational projects to make creative use of these materials; and discuss several issues likely to become prominent in educational research as materials science increasingly takes its place at the forefront of educational technology.
Wizard of Oz prototyping of computer vision based action games for children BIBAFull-Text 27-34
  Johanna Hoysniemi; Perttu Hamalainen; Laura Turkki
This paper describes the use of the Wizard of Oz (WOz) method in the design of computer vision based action games controlled with body movements. A WOz study was carried out with 34 children of ages 7 to 9 in order to find out the most intuitive movements for game controls and to evaluate the relationship between avatar and player actions. Our study extends the previous Wizard of Oz studies by showing that WOz prototyping of perceptive action games is feasible despite the delay caused by the wizard. The results also show that distinctive movement categories and gesture patterns can be found by observing the children playing games controlled by a human wizard. The approach minimizes the need for fully functional prototypes in the early stages of the design and provides video material for testing and developing computer vision algorithms, as well as guidelines for animating the game character.
Mixing ideas: a new technique for working with young children as design partners BIBAFull-Text 35-42
  Mona Leigh Guha; Allison Druin; Gene Chipman; Jerry Alan Fails; Sante Simms; Allison Farber
This paper sets forth a new technique for working with young children as design partners. Mixing ideas is presented as an additional Cooperative Inquiry design technique used to foster effective collaboration with young children (ages 4-6). The method emerged from our work with children on the Classroom of the Future project at the University of Maryland. A case study of this work is presented along with the implications of this method for future research.
Usability testing with young children BIBAFull-Text 43-48
  Afke Donker; Pieter Reitsma
This paper discusses two aspects of usability testing with children: First, the problems uncovered by children who have worked with the software for some time, experts, are compared with the problems uncovered by novices. Second, the suitability of behavioral observations and additional voluntary talk aloud is determined for usability testing with children. The usability of an educational software program that provides exercises directly related to beginning reading was tested by 70 children from Kindergarten 2 and Grade 1. The results show that the behavioral observations were especially useful to determine the presence of anticipated problems, while talk aloud provided information about the importance of these problems and about problems that were not anticipated. Novices encounter significantly more problems than experts, but the experts provided some important additional findings.
Evaluating computer game concepts with children BIBAFull-Text 49-56
  Libby Hanna; Denise Neapolitan; Kirsten Risden
This paper describes exploratory research on how to evaluate concepts for new computer games with small samples of eight- and nine-year-old children. There were two phases to the research, one to validate the methodology with existing games and one to apply the methodology to new game ideas. The results found that separating game ideas (presented as brief written descriptions that were also read aloud to children) from game art (presented on computer screens) elicited the most valid reactions from the children. Rankings and discussion of rationale were more effective than ratings and open-ended questions. Conclusions are that children can effectively evaluate the appeal and potential of game concepts with appropriate methodology.
Children's narrative development through computer game authoring BIBAFull-Text 57-64
  Judy Robertson; Judith Good
Recent research into the educational applications of computer games has focused on the skills which children can develop while playing games. Various benefits of computer game playing have been recorded, such as increased motivation; development of problem solving and discussion skills; and improvement in aspects of story writing. While encouraging children to play appropriately designed computer games can be used to enhance their learning, enabling children to create their own computer games offers a further range of learning opportunities. This paper describes a workshop in which young people learned how to create their own computer role- play games for their friends and family to play. The purpose of the workshop was to give the young people an opportunity to tell stories in the medium of a computer game, and to develop narrative skills such as character creation, plot planning and interactive dialogue writing. Results from this study are used to illustrate the educational benefits of computer games authoring, and to suggest directions for future research in this area.
Designing sound tools and toys for blind and visually impaired children BIBAFull-Text 65-72
  Joanne McElligott; Lieselotte van Leeuwen
In this paper, we highlight the issue of integrating the audio and tactile sensory experience into the design process of toys and computer games. Our approach is to address and incorporate design issues for the sensory impaired at the beginning of the design process, to design for their abilities rather than compensating for their disabilities. The children are engaged as co-designers. The scenarios outlined in this paper are an example of inclusive design.
Read-It: five-to-seven-year-old children learn to read in a tabletop environment BIBAFull-Text 73-80
  R. J. W. Sluis; I. Weevers; C. H. G. J. van Schijndel; L. Kolos-Mazuryk; S. Fitrianie; J. B. O. S. Martens
Augmented tabletops can be used to create multi-modal and collaborative environments in which natural interactions with tangible objects that represent virtual (digital) information can be performed. Such environments are considered potentially interesting for many different applications. In this paper, we address the question of whether or not it makes sense to use such environments to design learning experiences for young children. More specifically, we present the "Read-It" application that we have created to illustrate how augmented tabletops can support the development of reading skills. Children of five-to-seven-years old were actively involved in designing and testing this application. A pilot experiment was conducted with a prototype of the Read-It application, in order to confirm that it does indeed meet the a priori expectations. We hope that the Read-It application will inspire the development of more tabletop applications that are targeted at specific user groups and activities.
Requirements for the design of a handwriting recognition based writing interface for children BIBAFull-Text 81-87
  Janet C. Read; Stuart MacFarlane; Peggy Gregory
This paper describes how the design of a novel writing interface for children was informed by requirements gathering. The derivation of a set of system requirements from observations of children using early prototypes of the interface and from modelling the system is described, and then two methods of gathering further requirements by surveying children are outlined. The relative advantages and disadvantages of each method are discussed. The children were not able to contribute to the full range of requirements necessary for a complete system, but they contributed fun requirements that the observational work failed to identify. A model of the child's relationship to interactive systems is used to discuss why this is the case.
Supporting sociable literacy in the international children's digital library BIBAFull-Text 89-96
  Nancy Kaplan; Yoram Chisik; Kendra Knudtzon; Rahul Kulkarni; Stuart Moulthrop; Kathryn Summers; Holly Weeks
As each generation of children grows up in a world shaped by the affordances available to them in both physical and digital environments, their expectations of tools to support changing literacy practices make new demands on technologists and designers. To ensure that digital libraries (DLs) for young people support their understandings of libraries and reading (and not just adults' conceptions), an intergenerational design team (IDT) at the University of Baltimore (UB) used contextual inquiry and participatory design to develop concepts for augmenting the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) to make it more appropriate for 10-14 year olds. Our prototype aims to support "sociable literacy," a set of practices made possible by digital storage, retrieval and use of texts.
Supporting children's emotional expression and exploration in online environments BIBAFull-Text 97-104
  Alissa Antle
Children are routinely exposed to adult-oriented news and current events. Outside of their families, they rarely have forums in which they can explore and express their reactions to and feelings about these events. This paper introduces OutBurst (http://archived.cbc4kids.cbcr3.com/), a networked, participatory activity where children can express and explore their intimate feelings about news and current events. Outlined in this paper are the child-centric requirements, design and evaluation practices used to create OutBurst; a discussion of questions that were raised in the design process; findings culled from a summative evaluation of the entire CBC4Kids pilot; and a description of the subsequent content analysis of child-generated submissions. Our investigations show evidence of children expressing and exploring their emotional reactions to adult-oriented news stories. However, many of our original questions about the utility of an online environment to support these aims remain outstanding and require further exploration.
What's so "new" about "new media?": comparing effective features of children's educational software, television, and magazines BIBAFull-Text 105-111
  Shalom M. Fisch
Often, researchers use data from past studies to inform the design of current products, However, whereas these "past studies" typically include prior usability tests and other formative research on interactive technology, they often do not include existing formative research in other media. The present literature review identifies some of the features that have been found to contribute to the educational effectiveness of magazines, television programs, and interactive media for children. Although each medium certainly poses its own unique issues, the review demonstrates that, in fact, many of the same features contribute to educational effectiveness across media.
A comparison of think-aloud and post-task interview for usability testing with children BIBAFull-Text 115-116
  Ester Baauw; Panos Markopoulous
We describe an experimental study of different strategies for obtaining verbalization data, when conducting a usability test with children. Two software products were evaluated by 25 children of ages 9-11, at their school, using think aloud and post-task interviews. We have found confirmatory evidence, in support of earlier tentative results, that children reported more usability problems with think aloud rather than with post-task interviews and girls reported more problems than boys. However, when we counted also the usability problems identified through observation, we found no significant difference between the two methods or between the two genders.
Force feedback and student reasoning BIBAFull-Text 117-118
  Linda Bussell
The primary purpose of this case study was to examine whether force feedback within a computer simulation had an effect on reasoning by fifth grade students about concepts of gravity, mass, force, and motion. This study used a computer-based paddleball simulation with guided inquiry as the primary stimulus. The experimental group used the simulation with visual and force feedback; the control group used the simulation with visual feedback only. Work with the simulation was found to increase students' understanding of key concepts. Those in the experimental group performed better than those in the control group, particularly with regard to the effects of increased gravitational force.
Chemation: classroom impact of a handheld chemistry modeling and animation tool BIBAFull-Text 119-120
  Hsin-Yi Chang; Lisa Ann Scott; Chris Quintana; Joseph Krajcik
This study introduces Chemation, a handheld application developed for middle school students learning chemistry concepts. We report on an initial study to examine the impact of Chemation on classroom activities and determine the added value over physical ball-and-stick models. Six teachers and their seventh grade students participated in this study. Data collected include classroom videos and observations, teacher and student interviews, and reviews of student artifacts (e.g., chemical models). The results of this study provide insight into future revisions for Chemation and the affordances and constraints of handheld tools for classroom activities.
Designing software for young children: theoretically grounded guidelines BIBAFull-Text 121-122
  Helene Gelderblom
This poster describes a research project aiming to formulate a set of guidelines for designing software for children aged five to six. The primary research method is a comprehensive literature study that will cover two research disciplines, namely development psychology and young children and technology. It focusses on the cognitive development of five to six-year-old children, including their sociocognitive development, development of play and the cultural aspects of development. With regard to young children and technology, we will cover research of the past twenty-five years. Design guidelines will be extracted from prominent theories of development such as those of Piaget and Vygotsky, as well as from existing empirical results in both fields. The validity of these guidelines will be tested empirically.
Computer games authored by children: a multi-perspective evaluation BIBAFull-Text 123-124
  Judith Good; Judy Robertson
The effects of games on learning and skill development are being examined by a number of researchers [1], although with the notable exception of Kafai [3], much research places children in the role of game consumers. In line with a constructionist approach [4], we believe that allowing children to design and implement their own games will lead to deeper learning and transferable skills.
   We are investigating the relationship between game creation and the development of children's narrative skills. Non-programmers can now create 3D interactive virtual reality role-playing games using toolsets that ship with certain commercial games (e.g. Neverwinter Nights). By adapting these toolsets, and the game content, to children, we could develop game creation environments which allow children to author narrative games by creating settings, characters, a plot structure, and possible dialogues for each character. Given the interactive nature of such dialogue, children would need to create multiple plot threads and associated dialogue. Other children could then play the game, and have a potentially different experience each time the game is played. We believe that these types of environments would have a beneficial effect on the development of narrative skills and overall literacy, and have carried out various pilot studies which look at the process of creating role-playing games by children [2, 5].In this paper, we look at the product of game creation, specifically at 3D interactive virtual reality games created by adolescents using the Neverwinter Nights toolset. We feel it is important to determine whether games which are considered to be good from an educational perspective are also good from the perspective of potential game players.
   To explore this question, we carried out a multi-faceted qualitative study from three perspectives: children, expert game designers, and teachers. As the basis for interaction with the three target groups, we used created by 10 young people aged 12-15 using the Neverwinter Nights toolset [5]. While examining the games, the interviewees discussed the features of successful games. Although there are clear, and expected, differences in perspective between the three groups, there are also common themes.
Using storyboards to guide virtual world design BIBAFull-Text 125-126
  Lynne Hall; Sarah Woods; Kerstin Dautenhahn; Polly Sobreperez
This poster considers the use of storyboards, in a classroom setting with children in the 8-12 age group. The storyboarding method allowed children to both generate and evaluate scenarios for a virtual world populated by synthetic characters for exploring bullying issues. This approach has assisted children in the process of visualising agent design and verbalising opinions. It has resulted in design implications that have emerged from enabling children to have a voice in the technology process.
The organization of inventing and prototyping activities with children as design partners BIBAFull-Text 127-128
  Jonathan Laughnan
One component of cooperative inquiry partners children and adults in the design of new technology. An ethnomethodological perspective will be used to analyze existing ethnographies of children as design partners. This analysis will generate questions about how inventing and prototyping activities are organized and accomplished. These questions can inform future ethnographies of children as design partners, and may also inform future partnered design activities.
Programming environments for young learners: a comparison of their characteristics and students' use BIBAFull-Text 129-130
  Loucas Louca
In this poster, I present findings from a descriptive case study investigating the use of two computer-based programming environments (CPEs), Microworlds Logo (MW) and Stagecast Creator (SC) as tools for collaborative fifth grade modeling in science. Findings include descriptions and comparisons of the ways that the students in this study used CPEs as scientific modeling tools and what particular characteristics of MW and SC were supportive or not for collaborative modeling.
   There is a longstanding interest in using models and modeling as learning tools in science (see Louca et al, 2003 for a review). The process of writing a computer program to simulate a natural system is similar to the process of developing a scientific model. This study was based on the idea that CPEs can be used by students who write programs as representations of natural phenomena.
Preschoolers' moral judgments: distinctions between realistic and cartoon-fantasy transgressions BIBAFull-Text 131-132
  Kristen M. Peters; Fran C. Blumberg
One aspect of children's moral development yet to be adequately addressed in the literature concerns how preschoolers' perceptions of fantasy-based events, particularly moral transgressions presented in televised cartoon violence, are interpreted from a moral reasoning vantage point. Children, between three and five years of age, demonstrated an understanding of the distinction between reality and fantasy, and made judgments regarding the seriousness and worthiness of punishment for moral transgressions presented in realistic and cartoon scenarios. The results of the present study provide a greater understanding of preschoolers' informational assumptions about moral transgressions and their ability to understand the reality-fantasy distinction, which has further implications in designing interactive media for educational purposes.
The diary of the future: defining a self-documentation system with child design partners BIBAFull-Text 133-134
  Shannon Tucker
This poster presents the early stages of developing a new self-documentation application for children ages 10-13.
Designing an augmented reality board game with children: the battleboard 3D experience BIBAFull-Text 137-138
  Troels L. Andersen; Sune Kristensen; Bjorn W. Nielsen; Kaj Grønbæk
This demo shows BattleBoard 3D which is an Augmented Reality (AR) based game prototype featuring the use of LEGO for the physical and digital pieces. Design concepts, the physical setting and, user interface for the game is illustrated and described. Based on qualitative studies of children playing the game we illustrate design issues for AR board games.
CODACHROME: a system for creating interactive electronic jewelry for children BIBAFull-Text 139-140
  Margarita Dekoli; Bakhtiar Mikhak
CodaChrome is an interactive system for children to design and create their own electronic jewelry using both digital and traditional craft materials. Specifically, it describes the software and hardware components used for the jewelry design activity, and the two design sessions where children used the CodaChrome system to create their electronic jewelry out of a collection of beads and stones, and out of electronic materials like circuit boards, LEDs and wires. They programmed the animated color sequences (color patterns) using a custom made software environment that provides graphical tools (i.e. color palettes) and widgets like a timeline to facilitate the task.
The child-engineering of arithmetic in ToonTalk BIBAFull-Text 141-142
  Ken Kahn
Providing a child-appropriate interface to an arithmetic package with large numbers and exact fractions is surprisingly challenging. We discuss solutions to problems ranging from how to present fractions such as 1/3 to how to deal with numbers with tens of thousands of digits. As with other objects in ToonTalk, we strive to make the enhanced numbers work in a concrete and playful manner.
Towards a new kind of computational manipulative: children learning math and designing quilts with manipulatives that afford both BIBAFull-Text 143-144
  K. K. Lamberty; Janet L. Kolodner
DigiQuilt is a software system intended to allow children to design patchwork quilt blocks in the context of learning about symmetry and fractions. It combines the benefits of virtual manipulatives and learning through design. In the following pages, we describe a new kind of manipulative environment with explicit support for design and math.
Chemation: a handheld chemistry modeling and animation tool BIBAFull-Text 145-146
  Lisa Ann Scott; Robert Zimmerman; Hsin-Yi Chang; Mary Heitzman; Joseph Krajcik; Kate Lynch McNeill; Chris Quintana; Elliot Soloway
Chemation, a simple 2-D modeling and animation tool for handhelds (e.g., PalmOS computers), was developed to help teach important chemistry concepts, such as chemical reaction, conservation of mass, and the particulate nature of matter (as specified in national standards). Users build 2-D molecular models of substances and then, through a process of copying and modifying the model, create flipbook-style animations to illustrate various processes. Chemation is currently being piloted by teachers using a standards-based, inquiry-oriented 7th grade chemistry curriculum. The tool is intended to be an alternative or a supplement to current hands-on activities in which students build physical (ball-and-stick) models to represent various chemical phenomena. In this demonstration, we will show the basic functions of Chemation highlighting its important features -- modeling and animation of chemical processes on a handheld tool. We will also show example student models of various chemical processes.
The Icicle programming environment BIBAFull-Text 147-148
  Robert Sheehan
Icicle is a programming environment that allows children to produce games and simulations. It features programmable objects that have more realistic behaviour than those in similar systems and uses a parallel production system approach to programming.
3D augmented reality comic book and notes for children using mobile phones BIBAFull-Text 149-150
  Siddharth Singh; Adrian David Cheok; Guo Loong Ng; Farzam Farbiz
In this paper we describe two Augmented Reality (AR) applications for children using mobile phones as the user interface. We make use of standard mobile phones readily available in the consumer market without making any hardware modifications to them. The first AR application we describe is the AR Comic Book which allows children to view their favorite cartoon characters in full 3D appearing on books or magazines (or any paper). These 3D virtual characters are rendered into the actual scene captured by the mobile phone's camera. The second AR application is the AR Post-It, which combines the speed of traditional electronic messaging with the tangibility of paper based messages. The key concept of the AR Post-It system is that the messages are displayed only when the intended receiver is within the relevant spatial context. For both these applications a server is used to do the image processing tasks and the phone connects to the server using Bluetooth.
The informal informing the formal to form new models of learning BIBAFull-Text 151-152
  Carol Strohecker; Deirdre Butler
Media Lab Europe's Everyday Learning group and initiatives associated with the Empowering Minds project are developing new strategies for broad access to technologies and appropriation of the ideas they engender. Here we include examples of sensor-equipped portable devices for registering environmental conditions, a form and forum for developing public opinion, materials enabling personal engagement with computational ideas, and a model of professional development that sustains Constructionist uses of technologies in schools.
Explorations in theoretical computer science for kids (using paper toys) BIBAFull-Text 153-154
  Andrea Valente
The computational card (c-cards for short) project is a study and realization of an educational tool based on playing cards. C-cards are an educational tool to introduce children 8 to 10 (or older) to the concept of computation, seen as manipulation of symbols. The game provides teachers and learners with a physical, tangible metaphor for exploring core concepts of computer science, such as deterministic and probabilistic state machines, frequencies and probability distributions, and the central elements of Shannon's information theory, like information, communication, errors and error detection. Our idea is implemented both with paper cards and by an editor/simulator software (a prototype realized in javascript). We also designed the structure of a course in (theoretical) computer science, based on c-cards, and we will test it this summer.
An interactive 3D exploration narrative interface for storytelling BIBAFull-Text 155-156
  ZhiYing Zhou; Adrian David Cheok; JiunHorng Pan; Yu Li
Storytelling is an effective and important educational means for children. With the augmented reality (AR) technology, storytelling becomes more and more interactive and intuitive in the sense of human computer interaction. Although AR technology is not new, it's potential in education is just beginning to be explored. In this paper, we present a 3D mixed media story cube which uses a foldable cube as the tangible and interactive storytelling interface. Here, we embed both the concept of AR and the concept of tangible interaction. Multiple modalities including speech, 3D audio, 3D graphics and touch are used to provide the user (especially children) with multi-sensory experiences in the process of storytelling. Our research explores a new interface for children education.
Hands-on modeling and simulation of systems BIBAFull-Text 157-158
  Oren Zuckerman; Mitchel Resnick
We present the latest prototype of System Blocks, a new interactive learning environment that facilitates hands-on modeling and simulation of systems concepts. System Blocks, by making processes visible and manipulable, can help students learn about the core concepts of systems at a younger age. K-12 schools rarely introduce students to core concepts of systems such as interconnectedness, positive and negative feedback, stocks and flows, or time delay. These concepts are considered "too hard" for pre-college students. Using System Blocks, 5th grade students with no prior instruction in systems were able to model and simulate systems, to interact with concepts such as net-flow dynamics and positive feedback, and to successfully connect the simulations to real-life examples.
A child-centric interface: Graffiti or not Graffiti BIBAFull-Text 161-162
  Kevin Brunner
This paper describes a usability analysis performed to determine if Graffiti is a child-centric interface. The experiment will involve children at the second and fifth grade levels. Results will be evaluated using an age-appropriate researcher created survey and direct observations of children using four different interfaces.
Encapsulating streams of consciousness into the international children's digital library BIBAFull-Text 163-164
  Yoram Chisik
Digital libraries provide a great deal of flexibility by allowing users to explore and annotate their collections. The majority of digital libraries and research in the field have concentrated on the needs and habits of adult users; little is known about the habits and specific needs of children using digital libraries. This paper introduces Alph, a prototype interface specifically designed with a child annotator in mind.
Sustaining student engagement with a constructionist design tool for craft and math BIBAFull-Text 165-166
  K. K. Lamberty
This paper provides a description of a research project with goals related to understanding more about how to get and keep children engaged with constructionist design tools.
Examining young learners' activity within interactive virtual environments BIBAFull-Text 167-168
  Maria Roussou
This research sets out to explore children's interaction in immersive Virtual Environments (VEs), focusing on the role and the effect of interactivity on learning and conceptual change. The intention is to examine how interaction and conceptual learning are related in the context of virtual environments developed primarily for informal educational settings. In order to study this, a set of exploratory studies was carried out with children aged 7-12. The children were asked to complete tasks, such as the assembly of ancient columns from parts, which were designed to promote constructivist learning. Their interaction in the VE was analyzed using an Activity Theory framework [3]. The result of this analysis has informed the design of the main studies, which is currently underway.
An engaging multimedia design model BIBAFull-Text 169-172
  Norma S. Said
Multimedia has enormous potential but nobody is quite sure what works and what does not for children. A preliminary scoping study has shown that children do realise the potential but do not like the design of the applications given to them. The experimental programme of the research was focused on features that engage children. A review identified five main factors: simulation interactivity, construct interactivity, immediacy, feedback and goals. The popular game 'The Sims' had these properties and was used as a vehicle for investigation. A number of experimental studies were conducted with children (9 to 14 years old). As a result a 6-component theory of engagement has been formulated as An Engaging Multimedia Design Model for children.