ZooDesign: Methods for Understanding and Facilitating Children's Education at Zoos

Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, Stuart Gray, Roosa Piitulainen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

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Zoos have been consistently popular with young visitors, helping educate children in animal conservation. However, zoos' typical strategies employ interactive signs and videos, which children largely ignore. In pursuit of new engagement methods, children were invited to design for animals via ZooDesign, a gamified imaginative design approach centred on an educational card and role-playing game, ZooDesign assists children in envisaging how animals can use technologies, by exploring their welfare needs and humans' involvement. Many children designed with the animals' well-being in mind. Analysis of their creations and role-play interviews revealed that the method constitutes a good process but not all designs were appropriate for use with animals. Furthermore, few designs included the children themselves; most emphasised zookeeper and researcher roles instead. Building on child-computer interaction methods for zoo-based education contexts, the research raises key questions involved in educating children about animals.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2021
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384520
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Interaction Design and Children - Virtual, Online, Greece
Duration: 24 Jun 202130 Jun 2021


ConferenceInternational Conference on Interaction Design and Children
Abbreviated titleIDC
CityVirtual, Online
Internet address


  • Animal-Computer Interaction
  • Child-Computer Interaction
  • Education
  • Zoo


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