Action-effect mappings in tangible interaction for children with intellectual disabilities
by Taciana Pontual Falcão
International Journal of Learning Technology (IJLT), Vol. 12, No. 4, 2017

Abstract: Children with intellectual disabilities have difficulties in responding effectively to the environment and present a strong dependence on physical materials. While the debate over the effectiveness of these materials remains, tangible technologies introduce new interactional and representational possibilities for mappings between physical actions and their effects, enhancing processes of exploration and laying the basis for learning through experience. However, the benefits of the educational opportunities created by these modes of interaction and feedback need further research. Based on qualitative analysis of empirical data from children using four tangible systems, this work indicates temporal and spatial contiguity, and simple causality, as key design characteristics for supporting construction of action-effect mappings in tangible environments by children with intellectual disabilities. In conjunction with previous work, findings suggest that actions must lead to consistent effects, with a clear and single cause, and given through visual representations immediately subsequent to action, co-located in space.

Online publication date: Thu, 08-Feb-2018

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