©2019 by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.


Immersive Media Design and Children is a one-day workshop to be held at the 2019 Interaction Design and Children Conference in Boise, Idaho.


This workshop will bring together a community of researchers, designers, practitioners, and other experts who are interested in the responsible design of immersive media—or augmented, virtual, mixed, and cross reality—for children, while taking into account children's developmental needs, equity, and inclusivity.


At the workshop, participants will discuss and make connections across their work, participate in hands-on activities, and begin producing a set of design guidelines for immersive media for children, grounded in their collective experiences, research, and knowledge of the field. After the workshop, we will publish these guidelines as a white paper to distribute to interested industries, developers, designers, and more to positively impact the future of childhood.


In the context of this workshop, immersive media include augmented, virtual, mixed, and cross reality:

  • Augmented reality (AR) refers to experiences in which the real, physical world is augmented, overlaid with, or supplemented by technology-generated imagery, like sound, video or graphics (e.g., Pokémon GO and Snapchat, supported by software or hardware like Google Glass).

  • Virtual reality (VR) is an experience in which technology creates an imaginary world or mirrors a real environment by producing sensory output, using headsets (e.g., Oculus Go, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive).

  • Mixed reality (MR) is similar to AR, but users can interact with technology-generated imagery in real-time (e.g., Magic Leap One, Microsoft HoloLens).

  • Cross reality (XR) involves systems that combine any hardware or software of AR, VR, and MR.

We are now in a critical time in which many immersive media systems are not yet recommended for use by children under age 13 but are becoming more commercially available and affordable for adult consumers and, in turn, will likely become more ubiquitous in children's lives in the near future.

We are organizing this workshop to bring together a community at IDC who wants to be proactive, individually and collectively, about ensuring that immersive media are safe and productive for children. At this workshop, we will focus on the responsible design of children's immersive media that takes into account children's developmental needs, equity, and inclusivity.




We want to connect and develop a group of researchers, developers, practitioners, and other experts who care about the responsible design of immersive media for children, which takes into account children's different cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical development and does so in a way that is both equitable and inclusive.


We also want to hold a productive, reflective meeting that allows participants to think about how what we do at the workshop can be incorporated into their own work and practice.


Based on participants' collective experiences, research, and knowledge of the field, we will start working toward the production of design guidelines for industry/developers for building immersive media hardware, software, and content for children. The guidelines will specifically focus on equity and inclusivity in design as well. After the workshop, we will continue to work on the guidelines and publish a white paper on them (similar to pages 42-53 of Takeuchi & Stevens' The New Coviewing: Designing for Learning through Joint Media Engagement).



We invite interested participants to submit a short position paper (2-4 pages in CHI Extended Abstract format, new or old) that includes:

  • their research/interest area,

  • why they want to participate, covering both what they believe they can add to the workshop and what they hope to get out of it, and

  • a brief personal bio.

We welcome participants who work with children and immersive media or who have knowledge about children that may apply to the design of immersive media for children, regardless of any experience with AR, VR, MR, or XR. This might include, for example, expertise in child development, the learning sciences, co-design with children, the design of collaborative technologies, social work, medicine, education, working with disenfranchised/vulnerable populations, and more.

At least one author of each accepted position paper must attend the workshop by registering for both the workshop and the main conference.

Email submissions to futureofchildhood@sesame.org by April 5, 2019.​



  • 05 April 2019: Position paper deadline

  • 22 April 2019: Participants notified of acceptance

  • 15 June 2019: Day of workshop





Kiley Sobel, PhD - Research Scientist
Lori Takeuchi, PhD - Deputy Director and Head of Research

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, or the Cooney Center, is an independent research lab whose mission is to foster innovation in children's learning through digital media. The Cooney Center catalyzes and supports research, development, and investment in digital media technologies to advance children's learning and is committed to the timely dissemination of useful research. Working closely with its fellows, national advisors, media scholars, and practitioners, the Center examines key issues in the field of digital media and learning. We are particularly interested in how children—especially those who are struggling—learn across both formal and informal environments, and whether they are interacting with media on their own or together with teachers, family members or their peers. Recently, we have been concentrating on how children are impacted by and learn with immersive media.


Lisa Castaneda, MEd - Co-founder & CEO
Samantha Bindman, PhD - Researcher

Foundry10 is a philanthropic educational research organization whose goal is to create value for kids and expand the ways in which  people think about learning. We have worked with dozens of teachers and thousands of kids over the past several years to better understand the educational applications of virtual reality (VR) in classroom settings. Initially our work focused on basic implementation, such as how teachers are effectively introducing virtual reality into classroom environments, whether it be more basic phone-based VR or more advanced computer-based headsets. From there, our work expanded to investigate the relative value of VR as a classroom activity, VR as a content and creation tool, and issues surrounding empathy, equity, and assessment.

For more information, visit our websites:



Veronica Ahumada-Newhart

Postdoctoral Fellow
UC Irvine
Institute of Clinical Translational

Science TL-1 Training Program

Through this workshop we hope to collaborate with colleagues who are also interested in the responsible design of immersive media and hybrid environments. In our work, we conduct child-centered studies that take into account children’s developmental needs as well as issues of inclusivity and equity. Through our expertise in developmental psychology, motivation, and design, we plan to contribute to on-going efforts to conduct child-centered research that provides recommendations for improved practices/guidelines for immersive media users and improved design to industry leaders. Through this workshop, we hope to dialogue and discuss if similar concepts of engagement via, or with, technology are occurring in other settings by other child populations. We are excited to participate in this workshop where we can share our experiences, learn from others, and contribute to a collective voice on conducting research that is respectful of child participants and contributes to improved design and use of immersive technologies.

Bio: Dr. Veronica Ahumada-Newhart, Ph.D., is conducting research with Distinguished Professor Dr. Jacquelynne Eccles, and Social Roboticist Dr. Jeff Krichmar. Her research interests include telepresence, child health & human development, human-computer interaction (HCI), human-robot interaction (HRI), and emerging technologies that facilitate improved health, development, and social connectedness. She is an international expert on the use of robotic avatars for social connectedness and is currently collaborating with Toyota on robot design for child populations. Her research has been featured in academic journals and media outlets including the BBC and NHK.

Website: http://www.veronicanewhart.com

Twitter: @veronicanewhart

workshop AGENDA*

June 15, 2019 ⋅ Boise State University’s Computer Science Department

9:00 - 9:15

Welcome & intro activity

9:15 - 10:15

Participant short presentations & discussion

10:15 - 10:30


10:30 - 12:00

Untangling immersive media: Differences, affordances, & limitations of AR, VR, MR, & XR for children

12:00 - 13:30


13:30 - 15:30

Producing design guidelines: Group activities & discussion

15:30 - 15:45


15:45 - 16:30

Report back

16:30 - 17:00

Closing & next steps

*The agenda may change up until the workshop date.



Questions or comments? Email us!

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