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I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Residing at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Learning Sciences, and Design, my research focuses on studying and designing playful technology-mediated learning experiences for young people, investigating the roles that social context plays in supporting such learning, and innovating design research in educational contexts. Before joining PolyU Design, I was a Temporary Research Faculty in the Creative Communities research group at the University of Colorado Boulder and once a research intern in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. I earned my Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Colorado Boulder, Master's degree in Design from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design from Zhejiang University.

I am looking for Ph.D. students and research assistants who are interested in interactive learning technologies, CS/AI education for children, and parent-child interaction around technologies. Feel free to reach out at junnan(dot)yu(at)polyu(dot)edu(dot)hk.

PolyU Design Page Google Scholar

Selected Projects


Physical Play as a Medium for Computational Learning

We are systematically investigating how physical play can be leveraged to provide active, social, and playful computational learning experiences for young people, including (1) how physical activities, learning, and technologies can be combined to support learning purposes for young people, (2) how computational thinking concepts and skills can be incorporated into physical play, and (3) designs of educational technologies and curricula that bring young people outdoors for computational learning through physically active ways. Taken together, this work lays a solid foundation for future educational research, pedagogical innovations, and learning technology designs that leverage physical play in CS education for young people. [In Progress]

[TEI 2020 Paper]


Parental Involvement in Children's Learning with Technologies

Parents play essential roles in supporting children's learning with technologies. Through two interview studies, we explored how parents mediate children's interaction with educational technologies using computational toys and kits as a case study and how parents facilitated children's learning with technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on the Family Creative Learning project (Roque, 2016) where families co-create with computing, we further examine how families leverage “funds of knowledge” in creating computational projects and 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 2020 Paper], [CHI 2021 Paper], [CSCW 2021 Paper]


Computational Toys & Kits for Young Children

As more education researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have recognized the importance of helping young people cultivate computational thinking, we explored how computational toys and kits are designed to support young children’s computational learning and 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 reveal 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], [IDC 2022 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]


Young Children's Perceptions of Coding and Implications [LINK]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2022 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '22), Braga, Portugal.

Parental Facilitation of Young Children’s Technology-based Learning Experiences from Nondominant Groups During the COVID-19 Pandemic [LINK]
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]
Junnan Yu, Andrea DeVore & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '21), Yokohama, Japan.

Youth Civic Engagement Through Computing: Cases and Implications [LINK]
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]
Junnan Yu, Chenke Bai & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20), Honolulu, HI, USA.

CodeAttach: Engaging Young Children in Computational Thinking Through Physical Play Activities [LINK]
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.

A Review of Computational Toys and Kits for Young Children [LINK]
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]
Junnan Yu & Ricarose Roque
In Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC '18), Trondheim, Norway.

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.