Year in Review 2022

University of the Witwatersrand

CERES support has enabled us to conduct a project to co-design a sociotechnical platform to be used at community level to assess social emotional development and mental health in young children (3-6 years) from low-income, South African settings. This platform is intended for use by community health workers (CHWs) affiliated with the Department of Health or other health organisations, as well as CHWs, home visitors, ‘mentor mothers’, or any other community-based workers affiliated to community-based organisations (CBOs). The project will be conducted in two phases: 1) development of the initial prototype tools including Focus Groups and Co-Design sessions, analysis of interview data and design artifacts, and initial design of the tool, and 2) obtaining feedback on the platform prototype from CBOs in a diverse range of settings.

In Phase 1, we will work with CBOs in Cape Town, Western Cape Province, to develop an understanding of CBO needs and collaboratively design an initial prototype with these community stakeholders. These CBOs have experience in low-income urban and peri-urban settings, and work to promote early childhood development (ECD) in these settings. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the social emotional component of the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA, developed by Save the Children) will form the basis of the initial tool. In Phase 2, we will work with CBOs and CHW programmes who are working to promote ECD in other parts of South Africa, including both urban and rural areas. The purpose of this phase will be to obtain further feedback on the platform prototype, so that the platform can be appropriate across a range of low-income settings. These CBOs and CHWs will be located in the following provinces: Gauteng (urban and peri-urban), Limpopo (rural) and KwaZulu-Natal (rural).

University of Western Ontario

CERES has already had a big impact on my research and training activities. I have begun to consider how I can study the effects of ed-tech in mathematics and other domains of learning. I have strategically recruited new students (and potentially a new post-doc) to work with me on CERES related research

University of Cambridge

CERES allowed me to extend my research in many different ways. Through CERES I have begun scoping how digital phenotyping and data donation can be used in my work on how to build well-being enhancing technologies for young people. This has been a cross-cutting collaboration across the CERES network, which will provide an exciting springboard for further innovation.

Further, CERES has boosted my work’s focus on the Global South. The funding has allowed me to support my graduate student who is investigating the impact of digital access and devices in diverse Global South populations. Further, the CERES scholars programme has been a great benefit to both of my participating students.

Lastly, CERES has allowed me to begin developing open science training resources targeted at the EdTech space. It has raised interesting issues in terms of Conflict of Interests at companies, data sharing and open access that I aim to continue developing in Year 2.

Carnegie Mellon University

CERES support has enabled a 1st year PhD student, Wesley Deng, to define his own PhD research project with the working title “CivicTechKit”, which he is now beginning. Wesley’s research, supported through CERES, focuses on helping children and families learn about algorithmic systems that impact their lives (e.g., public algorithms, public interest technologies, or “smart city” innovations), and preparing them to actively participate in shaping how emerging technologies will impact their local communities.

As an initial step, we have recently conducted several community workshops and a survey of more than 1,500 Pittsburgh residents. We found a striking lack of public awareness of the ways algorithms are being used to make day-to-day decisions that impact Pittsburgh residents. Despite this, as community members learn more, they express interest in providing feedback on community-facing technologies that impact their lives.

Leibniz Institute for Research and Information

First of all, CERES funding has allowed me to hire an additional postdoc for my lab who supports our PROMPT project. In PROMPT, we design an app that supports children’s self-regulated learning in digital environments. The postdoc, Chimezie Amaefule, brings in unique expertise on usability research and will apply this to the app, with a view to better understand and improve child—computer interaction. In addition, he will explore possibilities for bringing the app to Western Africa and for conducting research on our app there.

Moreover, two students in my lab (a graduate student and a postdoc) have joined CERES as scholars. They took part in various online seminars, which dealt with topics that are of high relevance for the group but do not form part of training activities that are provided by (German) research institutions (e.g., collaborating/data sharing with industry).


  • In early June 2022, we launched the prototype of our PROMT app (which supports children’s self-regulated learning in digital environments) in the App Store and Google Play Store (e.g.,
  • The PROMPT app was officially presented/introduced at the DIDACTA education fair in Cologne on June 9th, 2022

Presentations at Scientific Conferences:
Nobbe, L., Breitwieser, J., Biedermann, D., & Brod, G. (2022) PROMPT: Entwicklung einer App zur Unterstützung des selbstgesteuerten Lernens von Schulkindern, 2022 Conference of the Leibniz Educational Research Network, 30.3.2022
Breitwieser, J., & Brod, G. (2022) Prompts zur Förderung der Selbstregulation in digitalen Lernumgebungen: Kurzfristige Schwankungen und langfristige Effekte. 9th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Empirical Educational Research, 09.-11.03.2022.
Nobbe, L., Biedermann, D., Brod, G., & Breitwieser, J. (2022) Entwicklung einer evidenzbasierten Lernplaner-App zur Unterstützung der Selbstregulation von Kindern in digitalen Lernumgebungen. 9th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Empirical Educational Research, 09.-11.03.2022.

Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education

Through the activities organized by the CERES network we have identified the following goals:
1) Identify synergies and align the research projects and goals we have in CICESE to be presented in a way that might be relevant to the rest of the CERES partners and trainees. From an HCI/Ubicomp perspective, we have identified three major lines of inquiry: i) Replicate in Mexico, USA and/or Europe the pilot-studies we have conducted to deepen our understanding of the use of innovative technology at a collective level involving at least two countries; ii) Create a database of grounthruth data from children interactions that can be used to train and test machine learning models; iii) Design and develop innovative technology to augment the commercial technology that is currently being used and adjusted for a different purpose; iv) Adjust the prototypes we have developed in CICESE to target a different but related problem. From a domain perspective, we identified two potential problems where our work can be of importance: i) the screening and treatment of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders; and/or ii) the alteration of the self perception of individuals with mental disorders.

2) Pinpoint training opportunities for CICESE’s trainees majorly devoted towards running large scale randomized control trials; and improving CICESE’s writing and verbal skills to present their work in a way that is truly engaging to different audiences.

Full report

University of California, Berkeley

PhD Candidate Elizabeth Resor has identified and is interviewing potential participants for the CERES network in East and West Africa. Based on her interviews, she is also in the planning stages of a fieldwork trip to take place in the fall (pending post-election political stability in Ethiopia and global health concerns) for fieldwork with key participants in the edu-tech startup world in Nairobi and beyond. The CERES grant has been instrumental in enabling Elizabeth to undertake this research project. She has also enjoyed getting to know the CERES scholars network and looks forward to future professionalization opportunities with them.

PI Morgan Ames has been mentoring Elizabeth in this work and cultivating other possible CERES projects with other UC Berkeley I School graduate students. She is excited about several opportunities that would fit the CERES mission very well and would also be a huge benefit to the students in the coming years. Even if they are not directly funded by CERES, she plans to nominate them to be CERES scholars and participate in networking and professionalization activities.

University of Washington

Three UW PhD students, including Akeiylah DeWitt and Calvin Liang in HCDE and Ahn Le in the Information School, were selected as CERES scholars, which helped them connect to a broader community of researchers interested in youth and stretch their research interests beyond their own scope of their initial research areas.

The support also allowed for the team to lay the groundwork for admitting three new PhD students in Autumn 2022, including Adrian Rodriguez, with a strong interest in accessibility and education, and Aayushi Dangol, a former teacher with a strong interest in designing educational technology, and Ziyue Irene Le in the Information School that will be funded by CERES in the coming years. We also are in the process of recruiting a new postdoc to be supported by CERES, which will allow for more cross-collaborative work within the UW team and with other institutions (e.g., Kientz is starting a new collaboration with Petr Slovak’s team at King’s College London on family informatics and mental health).

CERES support also expanded our work on understanding families’ use of technology during remote learning in the COVID-19 pandemic, led by Professor Julie Kientz, and on designing conversational agents to support children’s socioemotional development, led by Professor Alexis Hiniker. We used CERES support to create a joint research assistantship opportunity for PhD student, Rebecca Michelson, who contributed to a project to design a conversational system that coaches children in practicing compassion for self and others. The formative work for this project was published in the IMWUT journal in 2022 and will be presented at the 2022 Ubiquitous Computing (“UbiComp”) conference. We are currently pilot testing a working version of the system to be evaluated this summer in a field deployment with families. Finally, CERES support has also helped Anh Le, working with Professor Jason Yip, for research in online search and brokering in Vietnamese families and youth.

-Michelson, R., DeWitt, A., Nagar, R., Munson, S.A., Yip, J.C., Hiniker, A., & Kientz, J.A. Designing Methods Towards Resilience: A Critical Reflection on Co-Designing Technology with Families During Early COVID-19. Submitted to DIS 2022, resubmission preparing for ToCHI 2022.
-DeWitt, A., Liljenquist, K., Coker, T., & Kientz, J.A. mHealth technology design and evaluation for early childhood health promotion: A systematic literature review. JMIR 2022 to appear (accept with minor revisions).
-Fu, Y., Michelson, R., Lin, Y., Nguyen., L, Tayebi, T., Hiniker, A. (2022, to appear) “Social Emotional Learning with Conversational Agents Reviewing: Current Designs and Probing Parents’ Ideas for Future Ones” The Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies (IMWUT) Journal. New York, NY
-Le, Ahn, Yip, J.C. et al. – Paper on online search and brokering for CHI /CSCW