14 Sep 2023
2024 Expert Outlook on Home and Relationships

Are granny flats the answer to affordable housing? Can AI turn kids into heroes of their own storybooks? How can AI assistants make meaningful bonds with students? In this part of the 2024 Expert Outlook, we speak to three experts about community and the impact of tech on children’s development.

Libby Viera-Bland is the neighbourhood development project manager for Row House CDC, Project Row Houses, and PRH Preservation, where she oversees the planning and development of affordable housing across the Third Ward in Houston, Texas.

Professor Natalia Kucirkova has carried out funded research on children’s learning for national research agencies in the UK, USA, Spain, Norway, Malawi, and Japan and regularly advises international organisations about children’s digital learning. She has authored almost 100 research articles, eight books, and edited two handbooks on children’s literacy. She developed several software programmes for children, including the award-winning children’s app Our Story. She is the recipient of Future Leaders and Young Talent Awards from the UK and Norwegian governments, Emerald Global Impact Research Prize, and the Fridtjof Nansen Prize for Outstanding Research.

Laura Zimmermann is the founder and president of Tech Play Collaborative and a research fellow at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. She's a recognized expert in child development, playful learning, and learning from media, having published articles in both lay and peer-reviewed journals. Providing both formative and summative research, Zimmermann consults with organisations in the education and children’s media spaces. She conducts applied research with children and families in partnership with research organisations, children's media and toy companies, and edtech groups. Prior to founding Tech Play Collaborative, Zimmermann was a leading education expert at SRI International.

Shom Mabaquiao is a Junior Editor for APAC at Canvas8. He’s a nonfiction writer and a budding folklorist who inspects universal human behaviour through the lenses of his local folkways. Outside Canvas8, he writes astrology and personal improvement articles for self-help blogs. His personal essays have also been published in Adelaide Literary Magazine, Tint Journal, Rappahannock Review, and’s Young Blood, among others. When he’s not working, he’s busy doing stand-up comedy for his therapist.