I am delighted to present our paper on designing conversational agents for young language learners at CHI2021. In this paper, we carried out a critical content analysis on over 100 children’s voice-based apps and looked at the ways these apps initiate dialogue and respond to children. Overall, we found that, despite the fact that the current apps support a variety of language activities, most fail to carry out open-ended dialogue and provide extended back-and-forth opportunities, thus limiting their ability to encourage children’s language output and increase children’s language exposure. We discuss four design implications for developing VUIs that initiate dialogue and provide feedback in ways that better facilitate children’s language learning.

Ying Xu, Stacy Branham, Xinwei Deng, Penelope Collins, and Mark Warschauer. 2021. Are Current Voice Interfaces Designed to Support Children’s Language Development? In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘21).

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