EPartner for Kids: Computer Assistants for Children with Behavioral Problems

Olivier Blanson Henkemans* Olivier Blanson Henkemans*, TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, Netherlands
Sharon Stellaard, Oke op School, Almere, Netherlands

Track: Practice
Presentation Topic: Youth and Digital Learning
Presentation Type: Oral presentation
Submission Type: Single Presentation

Building: MECC
Room: 0.8 Rome
Date: 2010-11-29 03:00 PM – 04:30 PM
Last modified: 2010-09-21

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In the Netherlands, approximately 5.6% of the youth (13-18) experiences behavioral problems and suffers from impulsivity, restlessness, emotional instability and negative attitude. Training can help children to deal with their own behavior at a younger age and prevent (or at least limit) these difficulties. Oké op school (Okay at school) is an organization in Almere, which provides such training and teaches children new skills (e.g., learning, social abilities, dealing with fear of failure and impulse control). One of the key aspects is helping children to put their newly learned skills to practice outside the training, at home, school and on the street.
During the ePartner for Kids project, TNO and Oké op school are developing a personal computer assistant, called ePartner. It supports children (between 10 and 12), their trainers and parents throughout the training. It offers online education, coaching, self-reflection (through a multimodal diary) and continuation of support after closing of the training. Moreover, it can help trainers monitor the child and improve parent empowerment, by guiding them in their bringing up of the children.
During the project, we apply the Cognitive Engineering (CE) approach, which iteratively goes through domain analysis, design specification, prototyping and evaluation. The ePartner will become available through internet and (smart) phone. Accordingly, the children can solicit for support when required. For example, they can ask for coaching when faced with a challenging moment, while playing with friends in the street.
Following the CE approach, we will conduct interviews with children, trainers and parents and observe training situations. Subsequently, we set requirements for the ePartner, which are translated to a prototype. Then, the ePartner is tested during three month trainings at Oké op school. Finally, the results of this study will be used for refinement and augmentation of the design specifications.
We aim for an ePartner that meets with the needs of involved children, trainers and parents. Also, it should help trainers and parents to improving the children’s behavior in a sustainable way. Most importantly, it needs to help children have control of their behavior, which contributes to their own quality of life and that of their environment.

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