Developing Children's Understanding of Personal Data

This project will explore children's interaction with their personal data and engage in meaningful talk about the ways in which their data can tell someone who they are, where they are and what they do.

The overarching goal of this project is to engage with children and adults to meet the challenge of developing their understanding of personal data. We will achieve this through design-based research that brings together academics and technicians from different disciplines within the university, and by engaging with communities beyond: children (at school, at the science centre) and adults (science communicators, teachers, parents, and EdTech start-up founders).

The research team will augment a large off-the-shelf soft toy with sensors that capture different forms of interaction (sound level, movement, pressure, distance).  Child-friendly visualisations of the data generated through the toy will be sent wirelessly to a nearby computer in order to demonstrate what is meant by 'data'.  The toy will be used to facilitate debate with different groups of adults and children about i) different ways of understanding what personal data is, ii) how others can use this personal data for their own purposes and iii) what this means for basic issues relating to privacy and security.

Research areas
Children & Technology
Data Society
Research team

Principal Investigator: Dr Andrew Manches, Centre for Research in Digital Education 

Co-Investigator: Professor Lydia Plowman, Centre for Research in Digital Education

Co-Investigator: Simon Chapple, Information Services

Dr Benjamin Bach, Design Informatics

Dr Bettina Nissen, Design Informatics

Dr Paul Patras, Informatics

Dr Ewa Luger, Design Informatics

Dr James Stewart, School of Social and Political Science


Glasgow Science Centre

Dynamic Earth

Education Scotland

Key contact
Professor Andrew Manches

Edinburgh Futures Institute 

Award £5000


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