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Junnan Yu is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado, USA. He is a member of the Creative Communities research group working with Prof. Ricarose Roque. Residing at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Learning Sciences, and Design, his research focuses on studying and designing playful technology-mediated learning experiences for young people and investigating the roles that social context plays in supporting such learning, especially in the field of Computer Science education. Currently, he is exploring how to leverage physical play to provide active, playful, and engaging coding experiences for children, as well as working on projects that aim to understand children's learning with technologies and how parents support these learning experiences.

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Selected Projects

Computing education for children, child-computer interaction, parent-child interactions around technologies


Physical Play as a Medium for Computational Learning

We are systematically investigating how physical play can be leveraged as a learning medium to provide active, engaging, and interactive computational learning experiences for young people, including (1) how physical activities and learning are combined in existing teaching practices and educational technologies, (2) how to incorporate computational concepts and skills into physical play, and (3) designs of educational technologies and curricula that bring young people outdoors for computational learning through physical play. [In Progress]

[TEI 2020 Paper]


Parental Involvement in Children's Learning with Technologies

Parents play important roles in supporting children's learning with technologies. Through two interview studies, we explore (1) how parents mediate children's interaction with educational technologies using computational toys and kits as a casey study, and (2) how parents facilitate children's learning with technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the Creative Learning project (Roque, 2016), we are currently examining how families leverage “funds of knowledge” in creating computational projects. We will further reflect on the theoretical framings of parental involvement in children's engagement with educational media, and by extent, general media in everyday life. [In Progress]

[CHI 2021 Paper], [CSCW 2021 Paper]


Learning with Computational Toys & Kits

As more education researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have recognized the importance of helping young people cultivate computational thinking, we explore (1) the computational toys and kits designed to support young children’s computational learning in this project and (2) how parents support their children’s learning with these kits at home. Our findings reveal the commonalities across existing kits and highlights ways for designers and researchers to expand the possibilities for children to create, explore, and play with computing. In addition, we highlight the various roles parents play, their expectations, and concerns in supporting their children's learning with coding kits. [In Progress]

[IDC 2018 Paper], [IJCCI 2019 Paper], [CHI 2020 Paper]


Critical Computational Literacy

As a powerful tool for creating content, computer programming has been employed by some civic programs to engage youth in examining and challenging sociopolitical injustices. We present a case review of youth civic engagement programs based on the lens of critical computational literacy (CCL), a conceptual framework that calls for people to challenge social injustices using computational skills. We examine the program features and how participants were exposed to the computational and critical aspects of CCL. We further reflect on design implications for civic researchers, organizations, and computing educators to cultivate CCL in young people.

[ACM Inroads Paper]


[Google Scholar]

Parental Facilitation of Young Children’s Technology-based Learning Experiences from Nondominant Groups During the COVID-19 Pandemic [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu, Julisa Granados, Ronni Hayden & Ricarose Roque
In Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, CSCW2, Article 307 (October 2021), 27 pages. (CSCW '21)

Parental Mediation for Young Children’s Use of Educational Media: A Case Study with Computational Toys and Kits [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu, Andrea DeVore & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21), Yokohama, Japan. (26% Acceptance Rate)

Youth Civic Engagement Through Computing: Cases and Implications [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu, Janet Ruppert, Ricarose Roque & Ben Kirshner
In ACM Inroads. 11, 4 (2020), 42–51.

Considering Parents in Coding Kit Design: Understanding Parents’ Perspectives and Roles [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu, Chenke Bai & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20), Honolulu, HI, USA. (24.3% Acceptance Rate)

CodeAttach: Engaging Young Children in Computational Thinking Through Physical Play Activities [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu, Clement Zheng, Mariana Aki Tamashiro, Chrisopher Gonzalez-millan & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 14th ACM Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI '20), Sydney, NSW, Australia. (28% Acceptance Rate)

A Review of Computational Toys and Kits for Young Children [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, (2019) 21: 17–36.

A Survey of Computational Kits for Young Children (Child-Computer Interaction Student Best Paper Award) [LINK], [PDF]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 17th ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '18), Trondheim, Norway. (29% Acceptance Rate, Top 5%)

Usability Investigation on the Localization of Text CAPTCHAs: Take Chinese Characters as a Case Study
Junnan Yu, Xuna Ma & Han Ting
In Proceedings of the Transdisciplinary Engineering-24th ISPE Inc., International Conference (2017), Singapore.

Usability Comparison of Text CAPTCHAs Based on English and Chinese
Junnan Yu, Xuna Ma & Han Ting
In Proceedings of International Conference on Cross Cultural Design, HCI International 2016, Toronto, Canada.