Using voice assistant skills in family life

D Beirl, Yvonne Rogers, N Yuill
in 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning - A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings, CSCL 2019, Conference paper (text), Lyon, France


© ISLS. Voice assistants are increasingly prevalent in family life, being used, for example, for listening to music, finding out information, asking jokes and playing games together. However, little research shows how such technology influences dynamic family interactions in the home over time. An in-the-wild study was conducted in six family homes over three weeks. An Alexa, with a number of skills, was set up in each home for the families to use. The findings showed differences in use over time. To begin, family cohesion behavior and family rituals were most prevalent. At the end of the study, the skills were found to motivate distinct family interaction patterns: Including more collaboration to manage Alexa and scaffolding of children's interactions with Alexa, given developmental differences in users' grasp of Alexa's capabilities and limitations. We discuss how voice assistants support different interaction patterns and potentially, offer different learning opportunities.