Title: Setting the stage for embodied activity: scientific discussion around a multitouch tabletop display

Authors: Anne Marie Piper; Whitney Friedman; James D. Hollan

Addresses: Distributed Cognition and Human Computer Interaction Lab, University of California, 9500 Gilman Drive #0515, La Jolla, CA 92093-0515, USA. ' Distributed Cognition and Human Computer Interaction Lab, University of California, 9500 Gilman Drive #0515, La Jolla, CA 92093-0515, USA. ' Distributed Cognition and Human Computer Interaction Lab, University of California, 9500 Gilman Drive #0515, La Jolla, CA 92093-0515, USA

Abstract: Multitouch tabletop displays are a promising technology for supporting small group discussion and learning activities. Based on a view of human activity as multimodal, distributed, and embodied, we examine the pedagogical affordances of interactive tabletop technology, how it supports small group scientific discussion, and compare it with use of traditional paper-based study materials. We analyse video data from a five-week study involving 20 students from a university neuroscience course. Our analysis illustrates subtle but important differences in how students exploit their hands, bodies, and environmental resources depending on the medium. Finally, we discuss several characteristics of multitouch tabletop displays that make them particularly well-suited for supporting embodied conceptualisations during science learning.

Keywords: diagrams; embodiment; gesture; small group study; tabletop displays; multitouch displays; learning technology; pedagogical affordances; scientific discussion; neuroscience education; higher education; science learning; touch screens.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2012.046866

International Journal of Learning Technology, 2012 Vol.7 No.1, pp.58 - 78

Published online: 05 May 2012 *

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