Diverse Stakeholders on Educational Technology Development Teams: Supporting Software Developers and Children

By Dr. Heather Birch
View profile for: Dr. Heather Birch

Many approaches have been employed in the creation of educational technologies. One of the lesser explored approaches is that of participatory design when it includes children as direct contributors. In such cases, specific strategies for supporting the effective participation of software developers and children are necessary.

This article discusses a participatory design project that was initiated to support the learning of music students, aged 11 through 17, as they practiced the piano. To design this educational technology, these students worked with a team of piano teachers, their parents, researchers, and software developers over a two-year period. This paper describes challenges that arose as the developers and students worked together to create a new application that supported student learning. The findings include practical strategies that were adopted throughout the design process for building trust, balancing power, and aligning values. Implementation of these strategies is discussed as a way to provide effective support for software developers to empower them to work successfully as part of a participatory design team that includes children. The implemented strategies and suggestions should help others to integrate children and developers as active contributors to the design of educational technologies.

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This is a peer reviewed Article

Article in Educational Technology Research and Development
Volume #: 71
Issue #: 3
Publisher: Springer
Year: 2023

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