Media Innovation Circle #3
June 25@2pm-3pm (Lisbon Time)
Designing for play with physical and digital media: from tools and methods to approach and mindset
Speaker: Eva Brooks, professor of Digital Media at University of Aalborg, Denmark
Moderation: Mónica Aresta, University of Aveiro

Eva Brooks is Professor in IT-based Design, Learning and Innovation at the Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Denmark. She is the Director of the research laboratory Xlab – Design, Learning, Innovation. Her research has a design focus on social interaction, and the use and development of digital technology and their implications for play and learning. Her research also includes an innovation dimension, where she applies a design-oriented approach to co-creative processes with children. She has been involved in several research projects concerning children’s participation, play, and learning in state-of-the-art technology settings; for example, related to computational thinking, digital play, and digital game-based interactions. Currently, her research also has a focus on teachers’ professional digital competence grounded in creative workshops where the learning is participative, collaborative and peer oriented.


The presentation focuses on the question of how collaborative explorations as a method and mindset can inform the design of media technology to reinforce innovative play and learning. The research laboratory Xlab – design, learning, innovation will be introduced addressing its work on enhancing children’s participation and collaboration through exploration, with aims of achieving pedagogical innovation and change. At the same time, the intent is to support researchers and practitioners to find new problems and understandings of educational practices for exploration and pedagogical innovations as a foundation for design of media technology. This work, which relies upon insights gained during empirical work with children for several decades, has resulted in a workshop methodology that combines principles and approaches from co-design and playful learning. The methodology reinforces children’s creativity, imagination, and social interaction with peers during collaborative tasks and represents a new approach to involve children in the design of media innovations. Thus, the presentation recommends guidelines for designing interactions that include media technology to foster creative expressions in children, highlighting the role of collaborative explorations combining digital tools and a ‘making’ mindset where children can act as protagonists.