Project Overview

Youtopia is a hybrid tangible and multi-touch land use planning activity for elementary school aged children implemented on a Pixelsense Surface tabletop. Youtopia was developed to investigate issues surrounding how to design and evaluate children’s collaborative learning applications using digital tabletops. In particular we are looking at how the interface design supports in depth discussion and negotiation between pairs of children around issues in sustainable development. Youtopia was also developed around a model of behavior change called “Emergent Dialogue" that may enable children to discuss how they own values, attitudes and behaviors impact sustainable living.


  • Dr. Alissa N. Antle: Project Lead
  • Dr. Alyssa Wise [Dept Education]: Project Co-Lead

Graduate Students

  • Amanda Willis: Learning Designer
  • Min(Michelle) Fan: Usability Researcher
  • Jillian Warren: User Experience Researcher
  • Allen Bevans: Design and Technical Support
  • Aaron May: Wheels and User Experience Researcher

Undergraduate Students

  • Saba Nowroozi (SIAT Undergraduate Research Scholarship): Interaction Design
  • Perry: Program
  • Rachael Eckersley (FCAT Undergrad Fellowship): Art


  • Anna Macaranas: Project Manager


  1. Alyssa F. Wise, Alissa N. Antle and Jillian Warren. “Design strategies for collaborative learning on tangible tabletops: Positive interdependence and reflective pauses", Interacting with Computers, ACM Press, (2021) [5-yr SCI impact factor 1.171].  |  DOI
  2. Willis, Amanda, Alyssa Wise, and Alissa N. Antle. 2017. Exploring human behaviour in design education: Supporting sustainable decision-making with a tabletop activity. In DS 87-8 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) . The Design Society, 369-378  |  DOI
  3. Amanda, G., Alyssa Friend Wise, and Alissa Nicole Antle. 2015. Coordinating Tools and Talk in a Tangible Tabletop Game. In Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL’15), ISLS Press, 835-836.  | Link
  4. Wise, Alyssa Friend, Alissa Nicole Antle, Jillian Warren, Aaron May, Min Fan, and Anna Macaranas. “What kind of world do you want to live in? Positive interdependence and collaborative processes in the tangible tabletop land-use planning game Youtopia. In Proceedings of Exploring the Material Conditions of Learning: The Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Conference 2015 (CSCL 2015). International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.[ISLS], 236-243.  | Link / Postprint
  5. Amanda G. Willis. 2015. Examining tools and talk with Youtopia: Using discourse analysis to reveal design opportunities for supporting collaboration with tangibles. Master’s thesis. Simon Fraser University, Surrey, Canada.  | Link
  6. Antle, Alissa N., Theresa Jean Tanenbaum, Anna Macaranas, and John Robinson. 2014. Games for change: Looking at models of persuasion through the lens of design. In Playful User Interfaces. Springer, Singapore,163-184.  | DOI
  7. Jillian Warren. 2014. Exploring Context: Using Teacher Perspectives to Guide Tangible Multi-Touch Tabletop Design for Classrooms. Master’s thesis. Simon Fraser University, Surrey, Canada.  |  Link
  8. Alissa N. Antle, Alyssa F. Wise, Amanda Hall, Saba Nowroozi, Perry Tan, Jillian Warren, Rachael Eckersley, and Michelle Fan. 2013. Youtopia: A collaborative, tangible, multi-touch, sustainability learning activity. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC’13). ACM, 565-568.  |  DOI / Postprint
  9. Tanenbaum, Theresa Jean, Alissa N. Antle, and John Robinson. 2013. Three perspectives on behavior change for serious games. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’13). ACM, 3389-3392.  |  DOI / Postprint
  10. Kristine Nielsen. 2009. Towards Utopia: the role of ambient sound in children’s tangible interaction with a sustainability tool. Master’s thesis. Simon Fraser University, Surrey, Canada.  |  Link