Promoting Children's Participation in a Participatory Design Process in a Rural School: A new role needed?




Participatory Design, Children Participation, Rural Schools


In Brazil, Education of Rural Areas is a model which started with social movements and became a public policy with the aim of improving participation of people of rural areas in making decisions about the model of their education. Schools in that context need to improve access to scientific and technological knowledge, but ensuring that previous values and knowledge of the students about agroecology and sustainability are considered. Even though some studies focus on digital inclusion and teacher training to use technologies in rural schools, very few address the development of digital technologies by students themselves, in this context. Participatory Design (PD) is a method often used to develop technological artifacts that could help address this gap. Of particular interest in the context of Education of Rural Areas, PD includes a valid preoccupation with power balance between designers and target users in decision-making. However, this power balance is still hard to attain, even more when design involves vulnerable groups, like children. In this sense, models and frameworks of children's participation can give a more solid theoretical framing for PD with children. In this paper, we present a theoretical model for supporting PD with children which was drawn from theories of children's participation, and refined through its application for qualitatively analysing a design process of digital educational artifacts with children from rural schools in Brazil. We highlight children’s autonomy in the creation of artifacts  within a process managed by adults, which we interpret as a new role of children in PD which emerged from the educational context, that is children as artifact designers. The model proposed can be used for researchers and designers to plan or to analyse children's participation in PD interventions, helping them to employ methods that promote their autonomy and participation.


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How to Cite

Morais, D. C. S. de, Pontual Falcão, T., & Tedesco, P. (2024). Promoting Children’s Participation in a Participatory Design Process in a Rural School: A new role needed?. Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society, 30(1), 116–132.