Have you ever experienced a degree of frustration when trying to collaborate with others while using a single laptop and data projector? While it is possible for all to view the information being displayed on the screen it is much more difficult for all to interact with it. Typically, one person is in control of the computer, via a single mouse and keyboard, while the others look on. How might more equitable participation and less awkward ways of taking over control be facilitated in small groups where there is a need to interact with and create digital information?
The interdisciplinary ShareIT project, funded by the UK’s EPSRC (2007–2010), investigated how a new generation of shareable technologies, that are designed specifically for more than one person to use at a time, can enable groups to collaborate more effectively—be it learning maths, planning seating allocation, conducting financial forecasting or socialising. The technologies included gesture-based wall displays, multi-touch tabletops and interactive tangibles.