HCI design of tangible and social technologies for intergenerational language transmission and use over a distance

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Research areas

Description

Intergenerational language transmission refers to the “process involved in […] passing [a] language down to the next generation, either through informal learning or formal teaching, or a combination of both” (Borland, 2006, p. 24). Intergenerational language transmission is often embedded in particular social relations within families and communities, is entwined with family stories and memories, and can take place through everyday practices (Taylor et al. 2019). There are additional challenges to intergenerational language transmission over a distance, particularly during COVID-19 where many families are living apart. There is a body of work within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) on designing for family communication in place and over a distance through digital and tangible technologies (e.g. Brereton et al. 2015). Yet, little HCI work has specially addressed intergenerational language transmission and ongoing language use with respect to family communication, particularly as this takes place remotely.

This human-computer interaction (HCI) project involves designing, implementing, and evaluating new digital (e.g. mobile and web apps) and tangible technologies to support intergenerational language transmission over a distance, and the ongoing use of the language in people’s everyday lives and activities. The focus of this project is on language practices outside of formal education settings. Promising avenues of inquiry include augmenting everyday routine and activities for communication (e.g. Brereton et al. 2015), coupling familial communication with remote game play (Follmer et al. 2010), designing tangible interactions and experiences anchored in personal storytelling (e.g. Wallbaum et al. 2018), and co-designing personalised and placed tangibles (Taylor et al 2020). Promoting language transmission is particularly critical for maintaining and revitalising endangered languages. There may be opportunities to work with social robots, and explore applications of natural language processing (NLP) as part of this project. Students may wish to work with languages that they already know, or are in the process of learning themselves.

To submit an expression of interest for this project, please email jennyfer.taylor@anu.edu.au by Monday 8 February 2021 with the subject line “Student Project EOI: HCI design of tangible and social technologies for intergenerational language transmission and use over a distance”. Please include the following information and attachments: Academic transcript(s), CV, and a 1-2 page research plan that includes a brief statement about your interest in this project. This work has a strong HCI focus and students will be encouraged to engage with co-design approaches- please address this aspect in your proposal.

Requirements

  • Completed Human-Computer Interaction coursework (e.g. COMP3900/COMP6390) or experience in interaction and experience design, or strong motivation to upskill in this area
  • Completed coursework or other experience with programming, mobile application and/or web application development. For students interested in developing tangible user interfaces (TUIs): A background in electrical engineering and/or some familiarity with electronics
  • Interest and experience with language learning

Background Literature

  • Borland, H. (2006). Intergenerational language transmission in an established Australian migrant community: What makes the difference? International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 180, 23–41.https://doi.org/10.1515/IJSL.2006.03
  • Margot Brereton, Alessandro Soro, Kate Vaisutis, and Paul Roe. 2015. The Messaging Kettle: Prototyping Connection over a Distance between Adult Children and Older Parents. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '15). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 713–716. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/2702123.2702462
  • Min Zhen Chai, Alessandro Soro, Paul Roe, and Margot Brereton. 2017. Cooking Together at a Distance: Sustain Connectedness for Long Distance Families. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '17). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 2437–2444. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3027063.3053183
  • Sean Follmer, Hayes Raffle, Janet Go, Rafael Ballagas, and Hiroshi Ishii. 2010. Video play: playful interactions in video conferencing for long-distance families with young children. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '10). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 49–58. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/1810543.1810550
  • Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor, Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, Alessandro Soro, Paul Roe, and Margot Brereton. 2019. A Relational Approach to Designing Social Technologies that Foster Use of the Kuku Yalanji Language. In Proceedings of the 31st Australian Conference on Human-Computer-Interaction (OZCHI'19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 161–172. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3369457.3369471
  • Jennyfer Lawrence Taylor, Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council, Alessandro Soro, Michael Esteban, Andrew Vallino, Paul Roe, and Margot Brereton. 2020. Crocodile Language Friend: Tangibles to Foster Children's Language Use. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 1–14. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3334480.3383031
  • Torben Wallbaum, Andrii Matviienko, Swamy Ananthanarayan, Thomas Olsson, Wilko Heuten, and Susanne C.J. Boll. 2018. Supporting Communication between Grandparents and Grandchildren through Tangible Storytelling Systems. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Paper 550, 1–12. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3174124

Keywords

Intergenerational language transmission, active language use, language teaching and learning, tangible user interfaces, social technologies, family communication.

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