Children's Understanding of and Interactions with Anthropomorphic Toys
Andrea Francis, Punya Mishra, Michigan State University, United States
EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Orlando, FL USA ISBN 978-1-880094-60-0 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC
Interactive toys for children are becoming more popular for both play and educational purposes, yet very little work has explored the social and cognitive implications of such interactions. Robotic animals exhibit both "living" and "pretend" qualities and are therefore ideal for studying children's explicit understanding and implicit behavior toward interactive toys. A total of 25 children from 3- to 8- years old, in 12 play sessions were interviewed about what makes something "real". The same children were observed while playing with three different toys with different levels of interactivity. A coding system was devised to assess both discourse and behavior towards the toys. Results indicate that children do not have the same conception of what it means to be "real" as adults do. Often the children knew that the toys were "not real," but treated the more interactive toys as if they were "real." The apparent dissonance between explicit and implicit understanding is discussed with reference to potential social and cognitive implications.
Francis, A. & Mishra, P. (2006). Children's Understanding of and Interactions with Anthropomorphic Toys. In E. Pearson & P. Bohman (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2006--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 411-416). Orlando, FL USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
© 2006 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)