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Title: Digital tabletops and collaborative learning
Authors: Kharrufa, Ahmed Sulaiman
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: People collaborate around tables at home, school and work. Digital tabletop technology presents an opportunity to bring computer support to these traditional face-to-face collaborative settings. This thesis principally addresses the challenge of designing digital tabletop applications for small group learning in the classroom and makes contributions in two distinct, but closely related areas: (i) interaction techniques for digital tabletops; and (ii) the design and evaluation of a digital tabletop-based system for supporting collaborative learning. A review of previous literature combined with a preliminary observational study on collaboration around traditional tables indentifies a number of requirements for tabletop interaction. These include the need for fluid interaction techniques that allow control of interface object attributes when these objects are moved between tabletop territories. Attribute gates are proposed as a solution to this problem through utilizing a novel, crossing-based, interaction technique. A recognition of the territorial focus in existing interaction techniques, and their limiting assumption that users work at relatively fixed locations around the table, led to the identification of another challenge, supporting the mobility of users around the shared workspace of the table. TANGISOFT is presented as a hybrid tangible-soft keyboard designed specifically for applications that require mobile users with moderate text entry requirements. The investigation of the potential of tabletop technology to support collaborative learning was carried out through the design, development, and evaluation of Digital Mysteries. From an interaction design perspective, the design aimed to utilize the unique affordances of tabletops in terms of combining the benefits of traditional tables and digital technology. From a learning perspective, the design aimed to support higher-level thinking skills, feedback, reflection, and metacognition by focusing on activities that promote these skills and supporting effective collaboration. The evaluation of Digital Mysteries demonstrated that the design was successful in encouraging the targeted learning activities. The design process and validation of Digital Mysteries embody a significant contribution to the development of our understanding of digital tabletop technology at the application level, and collaborative learning applications in particular. This understanding is summarized in the form of general guidelines for designing collaborative learning applications for digital tabletop technology.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Computing Science

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