Monday 22 November 14:00-15:30 Ballroom


As the fable of the Emperor’s new clothes aptly captures, children are often recognised for their audacious innocence. How can we tap into their way of thinking and seeing so as to help redress issues common to us all? In what way can young people be a contributing force in helping us shape the information society? Given that contributions from children cannot always be treated in traditional ways, how can this be done in way that is meaningful to both children and the adults involved?

The session is not just about children and IT, which is a very broad topic. Rather, it tries to go beyond that to see how can we make a 'better IT world' by listening to children's 'voices' about this subject. How to do this is a specific topic with many open questions. A number of speakers will touch on topics such as:

  • Listening to the unheard voices of children.
  • Tapping into creativity: children’s contribution to design and designers.
  • Ways in which young people can influence TV and new media production.
  • Kids’ summits and what can be learnt from these.
  • Children as co-creators in the development of new IT-based tools .

Speakers will illustrate these topics with material drawn from practical experience. Following individual presentations, a panel discussion will explore specific ways in which young people could help us shape the information society.


Introduction by: Simon Bensasson, Head of Unit, Future and Emerging Technologies, European Commission, Information Society Directorate General

Moderator: Walter Van de Welde (B), Starlab Research Laboratories, Belgium.

  • Alison Druin (USA), University of Maryland, part-time visiting professor at KTH, Stockholm.
    Ms Druin has a lot of experience in "co-designing" new IT learning tools with children. Her recent book is called ‘The Design of Children’s Technology’.
  • Carla Rinaldi (I), Reggio Emiglia Schools.
    At the Reggio Emiglia schools the 'unheard voices of children' and teaching material and methods based on these experiences are being adapted. C. Rinaldi is now involved in a project with LEGO to see how their next generation of toys might be influenced.
  • Anna Home (UK), Director of the Childrens' Film and Television Foundation.
    She was previously based at BBC Childrens’ Television, where she organised two world summits for slightly older children. The aim of these was to directly influence TV production of children's programmes.
  • Justine Cassell (US), MIT Media Lab, director of the ‘Junior Summit’.
    The ‘Junior Summit’ gathered children from around the world so as to offer them a platform from which to influence the new digital culture. Ms Cassell is also interested in designing technology that listens to children’s storytelling.
    (.doc, 22kb)


Jakub Wejchert (Jakub.Wejchert@cec.eu.int)

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