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Pass the iPad: Collaborative Creating and Sharing in Family Groups‬‬



In this post, Charlotte Humma shares insight on how technology can be used creatively and innovatively to support social-cognitive development in children and family groups.

When my 5 year old told me that she had been playing games on an iPad at after school club, I was both surprised and intrigued. My schooling was computer-free, and whilst Pac Man exists somewhere on the Narnia side of the wardrobe of my memory, up to now the extent of my computer gaming doesn’t go beyond playing Tetris on my phone. 

Given my limited experience of computer games, I wanted to know what ‘games’ my child had been playing and whether she liked it, but I was also slightly apprehensive about what effect these games may have on a child. 

Dr Nicola Yuill conducts research into how technology can be used creatively and innovatively to support social-cognitive development.  In collaboration with others, Nicola’s EPSRC-funded ShareIT project investigates whether tablets support creative co-located group work in families and how such creative work differs from the same task on paper.

For one such project, Nicola and colleagues designed and evaluated an app requiring individual and group co-creation in families. 262 family groups visiting a science fair played a collaborative drawing game on paper and iPads.

You can watch the video about this project:

The group creations were rated significantly more original and cohesive on iPads than paper. Detailed video analysis of seven family groups also showed how tablets support embodiment and use of digital traces, and how the different media sustain individual and shared actions at different stages in the creative process.

This is excellent news. Nicola’s research shows that working in groups with an iPad may enhance our children’s creativity, and that tablets have the potential to support multi-user work. The lab is now looking at ways to use iPads to support communication in families with a child with autism, for which financial support is required.

Whilst IT continues to develop and our children with it, Dr Nicola Yuill and colleagues’ work is gaining recognition. Their full paper on ‘The collaborative use of iPads’ has been accepted for the prestigious CHI 2013 conference.

The data for this research project was collected at the Brighton Science Festival and in the ChaTLab, which is headed by Dr Nicola Yuill. Nicola will be performing at the festival again this year, as part of the Myths Morphs and Memes collective: .

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Yuill, N., Rogers, Y., & Rick, J. (2013). Pass the iPad: Collaborative creating and sharing in family groups. To appear in Proceedings of CHI 2013. ACM Press