In my continued campaign to alienate colleagues and generally stir up trouble, here is our journal paper which was just accepted in Journal of Child Computer Interaction. The main point is that IDC is old enough now to be doing respectable, replicable longitudinal research in ecologically valid settings.We need to get away from the emphasis on cute technology innovation. If you want to try embedding your research in a real world classroom setting, in a sustainable way, give our Train the Teacher Method a go!
Robertson, J., Macvean, A. and Howland, K. (2013) Robust evaluation for a maturing field: the train the teacher method. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcci.2013.05.001 Download CCIPaperForWeb (close to final version)
This paper highlights the importance of evaluating educational technology for children in naturalistic classroom contexts. We present the Train the Teacher Method (TTM) which formalizes a method for IDC researchers to use when deploying and validating an educational system. Our key findings indicate the need to work in partnership with classroom teachers, providing both initial training and continued support. This will both result in more valuable research data, and address a gap in teachers’ continued professional development. The TTM aims to ensure that teachers, students and researchers can benefit from innovative educational systems deployed in real classroom contexts. We believe that the TTM could be adapted to other domains of study within IDC.
The paper goes on to argue the more general point that the interaction design and children community should shift emphasis away from technology innovation and towards reporting replicable longitudinal research findings from real world settings. We discuss possible approaches to achieving this, for example through changes to reviewing criteria and by actively supporting data and source code sharing.