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Young Children’s Use of Personalized Technologies: Insights From Teachers and Digital Software Designers in Japan

Kucirkova, Natalia and Toda, Yuichi and Flewitt, Rosie (2020) Young Children’s Use of Personalized Technologies: Insights From Teachers and Digital Software Designers in Japan. Technology, Knowledge and Learning. ISSN 2211-1662

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Abstract

Many smart technologies offer personalized experiences, such as the possibility for children to record their voice, add their own pictures or drawings to digital stories, customize their avatars or adjust display settings to their needs. This study examined the views of teachers and digital software designers on children’s use of smart personalized technologies in Japan. Sixteen teachers and two designers from Japan took part in semi-structured interviews on the school or company premises in Tokyo and Osaka. Thematic analysis of the transcripts yielded three themes: agency, privacy and autonomy, which we consider through the lens of socio-materiality. While there were clear concerns about the protection of children’s privacy with personalized technologies, children’s agency and autonomy in using them was perceived both as a benefit and limitation of digital personalization features. The participants’ paradoxical perceptions of the risks and benefits of personalization point to a complex socio-technological model of personalization that is embedded in children’s smart technologies and influences adults’ views on their use in early education. Our findings have implications for informing and theorising the design of personalization features in digital technologies.

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