Wearable Sounds: journal paper accepted

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The paper “On the evocative power and play value of a wearable movement-to-sound interaction accessory in the free-play of schoolchildren” by Andrea Rosales, Sergio Sayago, Juan Pablo Carrascal, and Josep Blat, has been accepted for publication in the special issue of  Playful Interactions and Serious Games  in the Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments (IF=1.298, Q2). This  journal paper is part of the PhD dissertation, which is near to completion, of the first author, and the result of her investigation into strategies  to encourage free-play amongst school-aged children using digital technologies.

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Abstract: This paper discusses the evocative power and play value of the Wearable Sounds Kit (WSK), a movement-to-sound interaction accessory. Whilst movement-to-sound interaction is attracting growing research attention in HCI, very little of it has been conducted in the context of free-play with children. This paper presents a participatory design study of the WSK with 20 school-aged children (7-12 years old) in a free-play scenario, and an evaluation of the WSK in a playground at Ars Electronica Festival with over 70 school-aged children. The evaluation addressed three research questions: can school-aged children incorporate the WSK into their free-play? What free-play patterns are encouraged by the WSK? Which design features of the WSK influence the free-play experience? By conducting qualitative and quantitative data gathering methods and analyses, which include first-hand observations and video-coding, this paper shows that school-aged children can effectively incorporate the WSK into their free-play, and that the accessory encourages different types of free-play. The results also show differences in the free-play mediated by the accessory depending on the age group and sex of the player, and these differences reinforce the play value of the WSK. Some implications for designing technologically-oriented playful toys are also discussed.