The evolution of a toolkit for smart-thing design with children through action research

Rosella Gennari*, Maristella Matera, Alessandra Melonio, Mehdi Rizvi, Eftychia Roumelioti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Several workshops use toolkits to engage children in the design of smart things, that is, everyday things like toys enhanced with computing devices and capabilities. In general, the toolkits focus on one design stage or another, e.g., ideation or programming. Few toolkits are created to guide children through an entire design process. This paper presents a toolkit for smart-thing design with children. It revolves around SNaP, a card-based board game for children. The toolkit serves to frame the entire design process and guide them through their exploration, ideation, programming and prototyping of their own smart things. By embracing action research, the toolkit was adopted in actions with children, namely, design workshops. Results of actions were reflected over by considering children's benefits, and they were used to make the toolkit evolve across cycles of action, reflection and development. The paper reports on the latest evolution cycles, ending with the 2020 cycle for continuing smart-thing design during COVID-19 times. The paper concludes with general reflections concerning action research and design with children, toolkits for framing smart-thing design with children, on-going and future work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100359
JournalInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
Early online date24 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Action research
  • Card
  • Child
  • Design
  • Game
  • Reflection
  • Smart thing
  • Toolkit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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