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Studying Interest During a Pandemic: A Case Study of Evaluating Interest of Young Children Through a Tangible Learning Game



In this case study, we tracked children's interest in math during a voluntary math learning program using a constrained version of Osmo's "Math Wizard Magical Workshop's Potions" game. This game targets addition and subtraction skills taught in first through third grade. Families with children six to eight years old (N = 75) volunteered to play 15-minutes daily for two weeks. The entire learning experience was conducted remotely. We administered six surveys to measure participants' attitudes toward math at three time periods (Pre-, Mid-, and Post-experience). We then use regression to explore the relationship between interest and learning gain scores, and minutes of play. Results were mixed with mostly weak positive correlations across variables. Hand-coded responses revealed that the greatest increase of interest triggered from Mid-to Post-Experience was 'Affect' from parents. We discuss the implications of this study on future analyses with children during a pandemic. CCS CONCEPTS • Applied computing; • Education; • Interactive learning environments ; KEYWORDS case study, tangible interaction, interface design, interest development ACM Reference Format: Sherry Yi*, Yuqi Yao, and Heidy Maldonado. 2022. Studying Interest During a Pandemic:: A Case Study of Evaluating Interest of Young Children Through a Tangible Learning Game. In Interaction Design and Children (IDC ’22), June 27–30, 2022, Braga, Portugal. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages. https: //
Sherry Yi, Ph.D., Yuqi Yao, M.A., &
Heidy Maldonado, Ph.D.
Tangibles like Rods and Cubes
help children practice and
understand counting, early
addition, and subtraction
within twenty.
Our work contributes to the
interest literature on children
eight and younger in a
learning environment.
Children six to eight prefer to choose positive
emoticons from the choices given.
No child chose negative emoticons to express
their feelings about the experience.
While earlier research had found that this was the
case for older children, we've shown it applies to
this age group as well(*).
*For details see Sherry Yi, Yuqi Yao, and Heidy Maldonado. 2022. Studying interest during a pandemic: A case study
of evaluating interest of young children through a tangible learning game. In Proceedings of the 21st ACM
Interaction Design and Children Conference. June 27 - 30, 2022, Braga, Portugal. AMC Inc., New York, NY.
75 families with children six to
eight volunteered to play
Osmo's "Math Wizard Magical
Workshop Potions" game for
15 minutes each weekday
during two weeks
2 weeks, 6 surveys
Children 6-8 years of age aren't used
to small digital keyboards on mobile
They're also not used to entering text
or numbers in blank text boxes.
Use large pressable
buttons or zones.
Reduce to numbers
or letters displayed
in digital keyboard.
Questionnaires for both parent and child
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Emoji are vastly becoming an integral part of everyday communication, yet little is understood about the extent to which these are processed emotionally. Previous research shows that there is a processing advantage for emotionally-valenced words over neutral ones, therefore if emoji are indeed emotional, one could expect an equivalent processing advantage. In the Pilot Study, participants (N = 44) completed a lexical decision task to explore accuracy and response latency of word, face and emoji stimuli. This stimuli varied in emotional valence (positive vs. neutral). Main effects were found for stimuli type and valence on both accuracy and latency, although the interaction for accuracy was not significant. That is, there were processing advantages of positively-valenced stimuli over neutral ones, across all stimuli types. Also, faces and emoji were processed significantly more quickly than words, and latencies between face and emoji stimuli, irrespective of valence were largely equivalent. The Main Study recruited 33 participants to undertake a modified and extended version of the lexical decision task, which included three valence conditions (positive, negative and neutral) per stimuli type. Although no main effects were found for accuracy, there was a significant main effect found for stimuli but not for valence on latency. Namely, that word stimuli irrespective of valence were processed significantly more slowly than face or emoji stimuli. There was not a significant interaction between stimuli and valence, however. Therefore, overall although there was partial support for a processing advantage of emoji stimuli, this was not replicated across the studies reported here, suggesting additional work may be needed to corroborate further evidence.
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