ACM Interaction Design and Children 2016 Workshop on Embodied Cognition, Augmented Reality and K-12 Education

IDC 2016

CALL FOR PAPERS – ACM Interaction Design and Children 2016 Workshop on Embodied Cognition, Augmented Reality and K-12 Education

Held at the ACM IDC’2016 conference – June 21-24 2016, Manchester, UK
New Submission Deadline: May 25, 2016


Researchers in HCI have designed and developed Augmented Reality (AR) for over two decades. Recently, there has been increased interest in exploring an embodied perspective on interaction, where the focus is on the fundamental role played by the physical body in how we experience, interact with and understand computation in the world we live in. Interaction design for children and the learning sciences communities have also taken up this focus on embodiment in learning. However, the two areas have not been brought together. This workshop aims to enable participants to critically explore the different approaches to incorporating an embodied perspective on children’s learning in the design of augmented reality applications for classroom use. Participants will explore and develop a shared set of understandings and identification of differences, similarities and synergies between different research approaches, theories of embodied learning and augmented reality application areas for children’s learning.

There are multiple facets of embodied cognition that are relevant for children’s learning, and that can be supported, augmented, or enhanced in AR applications. Applications can be designed to encourage epistemic actions and externalization of cognition into the physical environment; to guide students in performing and internalizing gestures that are reinforcing the educational content; to engage pre-existing image schema and embodied metaphors; and, to engage the students’ whole body in order to embody or manipulate 3D educational simulations. K-12 educational settings are currently undergoing a technological revolution, creating opportunities for AR applications which leverage embodied learning. However, designing and integrating technology-based embodied learning into educational settings poses challenges on a variety of topics. This workshop aims to highlight and explore some of the difficulties encountered in bringing augmented reality experiences to educational contexts. Specifically, we provoke the audience to discuss the following areas:

– Using Embodiment Theory in AR Research

Despite the highly-embodied nature of AR experiences, there are relatively few discussions about the role of embodiment in AR learning applications. Generally, one challenge for the AR research community appears to be situating the work within theoretical frameworks. AR experiences require significant technical effort, and AR-based learning is a relatively new field, and these factors might explain why AR education studies are often technology centric rather than focused on evaluating theoretical constructs. There are multiple underlying constructs which might be causing students to learn better in AR, potentially explained by embodied cognition, spatial cognition, multimodal representation, cognitive load theory, constructivism, etc. Some of the questions addressed in this workshop will be: Which facets of embodied cognition can be designed into an AR experience? In what circumstances does an embodied AR experience offer unique learning benefits over non-AR alternatives? What curriculum topics are specifically suitable for embodied learning through AR? How can the research community encourage more application of embodied theory?

– Designing for the Classroom Environment

Embodied AR experiences for K-12 education need to consider the specific capabilities and limitations of the users, as well as the context in which students are situated. There are potential usability issues related to cognitive and physical development which must be addressed when designing for children. Furthermore, AR application designers must consider the social dynamics between students and teachers, as well as pedagogical implications. Finally, there are logistical considerations when designing for classroom settings, such as limited space, limited IT support, limited activity time, etc. The workshop will address questions such as: What age groups pose special challenges for AR design, and what platforms or interactions are suitable for those user groups? How will AR experiences disrupt classroom environments and practices? How can we support teachers as they integrate embodied AR experiences in the curriculum?

– Best Practices for Research and Design

Educators will adopt AR technology only if they understand the value of this medium, as compared to existing non-AR approaches. The design of AR experiences requires widely different expertise in order to be effective, as it is necessary to develop effective collaborations between multiple stakeholders potentially involving: technology designers, game designers, educators, psychologists, and educational researchers. Furthermore, in order for AR applications to be adopted in educational settings, research studies must show AR learning evaluated in such educational settings. Thus, some questions to be addressed during the workshop are: What are approaches and challenges when evaluating embodied AR applications in formal and informal settings? What are effective methods for involving teachers and other educational stakeholders in design? For what ages is AR appropriate, and how to design for children’s cognitive and physical development? What kinds AR development tools are, or should be, available to educators such that they can generate AR experiences that make use of embodied learning? What funding programs exist to encourage embodied cognition research and development involving AR for educational purposes?


By addressing the aforementioned questions, the workshop will cover the following goals:

– Bring together researchers and practitioners interested in embodied cognition and technologies for education.

– Discuss theoretical components of embodied cognition and identify concepts that impact the effectiveness of AR in educational settings.

– Discuss applications of embodied cognition in AR for formal and informal learning.

– Identify challenges, methods and processes for developing and integrating embodied cognition into AR for formal and informal education settings.


The workshop will be a full-day event, consisting of presentations and demos from accepted submissions, individual- and group-discussions on the workshop themes (“Using Embodiment Theory in AR Research”, “Designing for the Classroom Environment”, and “Best Practices for Research and Design“), and a general discussion synthesizing the material at the end of the workshop.

We may follow the workshop with a proposal to the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction for a special issue on Embodied Learning in Augmented Reality, and we will encourage participants to participate in the call for papers.


Paper or demo submission deadline: ***EXTENDED*** May 25, 2016

Notification of acceptance: ***EXTENDED*** May 30, 2016

Workshop participants should submit one of: 4 page position paper; or, 2-4 page paper proposal and short video for a live demonstration.

Submissions should be related to author’s own experiences with workshop issues, themes and goals. In the submissions, authors should present their view of embodied cognition and how it might be applied to augmented reality educational applications, and are encouraged to list 2 or more challenges or provocations for community discussion. Participants are expected to read all other accepted submissions prior to the workshop.

Non-anonymized submissions should be emailed<>

All document submissions will appear on the workshop website. At least one author of each accepted submission must attend the workshop. Papers must be written in English and follow the ACM SIGCHI Extended Abstracts format found at:


Iulian Radu is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Iulian has extensive previous experience in research and development of children’s technology, as part of his years as a Georgia Institute of Technology doctorate student as well as his industrial experiences with organizations such as PBS Kids and Samsung Electronics. While working with PBS Kids under the Ready To Learn initiative, he has directed the design, research, and production of augmented-reality applications for education, including the augmented-reality educational game Cyberchase Shape Quest (officially featured on the iTunes store, and nominee of the Webby and iKids awards). During his current academic research, he has generated publications about the usability, psychology, and educational aspects of augmented reality for children, and has developed multiple educational AR applications, including the augmented reality extension of the popular Scratch programming environment.

Dr. Alissa Antle is a Professor in the School of Interactive Arts + Technology at Simon Fraser University, Canada. In 2015, Dr Antle was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists acknowledging her multidisciplinary contribution as one of Canada’s emerging intellectual leaders. She began her career receiving Bachelor degrees in Systems Design Engineering and Liberal Arts from the University of Waterloo and a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia. After her graduate studies, Dr. Antle spent eight years in the new media industry working as a senior designer and executive producer for children’s new media and television companies. Her academic research focuses on embodied and child human–computer interaction and proceeds through the design and evaluation of tangible and tabletop computing and interactive environments. She led the GRAND NCE research group on HCI for children, won a European DEVICE award for best design tool for vulnerable populations, and received an ACM Computing Reviews notable paper for her co-authored work on metaphor theory. In her spare time, Alissa hangs out on a remote island with her sons and Labrador Retrievers, enjoying a world without email, cell phones or traffic jams.

Brendan B. Matkin is a Master of Arts candidate in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University, Canada. His research interests include building and studying tangible interactive systems, embodied cultural values, embodied metaphors, and interaction design for children. Brendan is a designer, artist, researcher, technologist, and all around maker and tinkerer. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media from the University of Lethbridge.

Dr. Blair MacIntyre is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and directs the GVU Center’s Augmented Environments Lab.  His research focuses on developing the potential of augmented reality as a novel technology and new medium for games, entertainment, education and work.  He has published more than 100 research papers, is actively involved with industry as a consultant, and is regularly interviewed in the media about augmented reality, games and mobile technology. He received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1998, and B.Math and M.Math degrees from the University of Waterloo in 1989 and 1991. He is the recipient of an NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship and an NSF CAREER award.