A few years back while I got a glimpse or better written I was remembered how the younger versions of us see the world we deal with. At the time I had to conduct a series of usability tests with kinds from 4 to 12 preceding the launch of the SAPO KIDS, the younger version of the portuguese portal SAPO. At the time I remember being genially surprise with how kids perceived the interface, how they segmented themselves in terms of ages and how we had to rethink the whole interface to become more playful. From those learnings I ended up putting a presentation on Playful Interfaces… this was back in 2008.

Today I came across the Robots @ School, a study conducted by Latitude in collaboration with LEGO Learning Institute & Project Synthesis. Together they interview 348 kids across globe (Australia, France, Germany, South Africa, UK and US), their objective to understand kid’s social, creative and learning aspirations using robots as a proxy instead of engaging directly with them as adults.

The findings are remarkably interesting and I strongly advise to anyone interesting in reopening that long forgotten door to read the entirety of the report they produced here.

I was particular keen on been remembered that for kids:

  • Smart = Social
  • being Smart is a key for social success
  • technology empowers them
  • technology encourages and allows them to take risks, make mistakes without the not always so positive feedback from adults.
  • intermingling creating and learning is the rule of business, two sides of one same coin
  • when learning becomes fun play becomes knowledge

for each of the insights above the report does a pretty good job of explaining what and how each of them is sustained, so I’ll skip repeating it here, what I will mention is how this study once again shows me that the direction that we technologists take in our doings must be more human, it must assist, generate and foster a richer type of relation, a relation as close to “human” as possible, where sensing and personalization must become a crucial part of our future developments.