This blog post talks about a recently accepted journal article that the TIDESS project has been working on related to designing touch interactive science learning exhibits. The TIDESS project team is a group of researchers at UF from the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (IFAS) and the Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). We’re moving our blog from an external site to this IFAS blog, so you will see more posts from us in this feed going forward. You can also check out our archives to learn more about our project overall.
Our journal paper entitled “Affording Embodied Cognition through Touchscreen and Above-the-Surface Gestures During Collaborative Tabletop Science Learning”, has been accepted to the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (IJCSCL)! This paper leverages the theory of embodied cognition to analyze the nature of both touchscreen gestures and above-the-surface gestures that groups of learners use around multi-touch tabletops. We previously reported in our CSCL’19 conference paper the nature of touchscreen gestural interactions that help facilitate collaborative science learning around tabletop displays. In this IJCSCL’21 journal paper, we are introducing two new findings that contribute a novel understanding of the nature of above-the-surface gestural interactions that also help in facilitating collaborative learning from science data visualizations around multi-touch tabletops. Additionally, this journal article also discusses the user-centered design approach adopted by our team to design our multi-touch tabletop prototype for group learning. The abstract of the paper is as follows:
“This paper draws upon the theory of embodied cognition to provide a robust account of how gestural interactions with and around multi-touch tabletops can play an important role in facilitating collaborative meaning-making, particularly in the context of science data visualizations. Embodied cognition is a theory of learning that implies that thinking and perception are shaped by interactions with the physical environment. Previous research has used embodied cognition as a theoretical framework to inform the design of large touchscreen learning applications such as for multi-touch tabletops. However, this prior work has primarily assumed that learning is occurring during any motion or interaction, without considering how specific interactions may be linked to particular instances of collaborative learning supported by embodiment. We investigate this question in the context of collaborative learning from data visualizations of global phenomena such as ocean temperatures. We followed a user-centered, iterative design approach to build a tabletop prototype that facilitated collaborative meaning-making and used this prototype as a testbed in a laboratory study with 11 family groups. We qualitatively analyzed learner groups’ cooccurring utterances and gestures to identify the nature of gestural interactions groups used when their utterances signaled the occurrence of embodiment during collaborative meaning-making. Our findings present an analysis of both touchscreen and above-the-surface gestural interactions that were associated with instances of embodied cognition. We identified four types of gestural interactions that promote scientific discussion and collaborative meaning-making through embodied cognition: (T1) gestures for orienting the group; (T2) cooperative gestures for facilitating group meaning-making; (T3) individual intentional gestures for facilitating group meaning-making; and (T4) gestures for articulating conceptual understanding to the group. Our work illustrates interaction design opportunities for affording embodied cognition and will inform the design of future interactive tabletop experiences in the domain of science learning.”
I am very excited since this is my first first-author journal publication! Working closely under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Lisa Anthony, and Dr. Kathryn A. Stofer has really taught me how to approach the process involved in writing journal papers that stand at the juncture of learning sciences and human-computer interaction communities. More specifically in this process, I learned that it is important to highlight the rationale behind interface design choices while discussing how different design aspects of technology tie to the process of learning. Here is the paper link from the IJCSCL’s website.