Shareable Interfaces for Learning Workshop 2008

The Shareable Interfaces for Learning workshop was held in the innovative Sussex University Creativity Zone on the 11-12 September 2008. The aim was to draw together research on the design of shareable interfaces to support learning from researchers and practitioners working in areas such as psychology, education, computing, HCI and architecture. It followed on from the highly successful workshop on shareable interfaces held in 2007 at the Open University.

Shareable interfaces are designed to support co-located collaboration. They include technologies such as interactive multi-touch whiteboards, walls and tables, tangibles, single display groupware or multiple personal devices used to interact with a shared representation. These technical innovations provide both opportunities and challenges to educators and designers who aim to design systems to support co-located collaborative learning. On the one hand, these technologies would intuitively seem to support collaborative activity better than the single user PC or the one-to-many PowerPoint presentation.

On the other hand, there are few design frameworks or systematic evaluations of shareable technologies to guide their design and deployment. Experience has shown that investment in technology in educational settings can be problematic in the absence of clear guidelines about its best use.

This workshop, sponsored by the ShareIT project drew together current themes and topics and address the potential of different sorts of shareable technologies for supporting co-located collaborative learning.

The workshop featured 3 invited talks and several activity sessions to ground discussion and provide a shared focus. The invited speakers were:

  • Edith Ackermann: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture
  • Frédéric Kaplan: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
  • Tom Moher: Department of Computer Science, University of Illinois at Chicago

Inqbate Creativity Zone
Pevensey III Building
University of Sussex
Brighton, UK

Date / Time
11 September 2008, 10 am – 12 September 2008, 3pm

Amanda Harris and Nicola Yuill (Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK)
Paul Marshall, Eva Hornecker and Yvonne Rogers (Pervasive Interaction lab, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)


Ground the Body to Unleash the Mind: Anchoring Techniques for Learners on the Go
Professor Edith Ackermann: Visiting scientist, MIT School of Architecture
Today’s children are spending more and more time, not in a specific location but on the move from one place to another. This presentation explores how the blending of mental, physical, and digital mobilities (prevailing in our culture) changes how today’s children see themselves, relate to others, use space, and treat things. We identify new developmental tasks (challenges and opportunities) that require creative solutions on part of the children. We imagine activities, artifacts, and settings that support “mobile” play and learning (distant and virtual transactions) while, at the same time, fostering a sense of grounding, and belonging, and an appreciation of people and things at hand. In Edward Casey words “who we are is where we are and when we are”. Question is: what kinds of here-and-there (places, thresholds, paths) and now-and-then (journeys, rhythms, cycles,) for learners on the go?

Shareable Interfaces for Science Inquiry: A Technologist’s Return to School
Tom Moher: Associate Professor of Computer Science, Education, and Learning Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago
What should drive the design of learning technologies? Do we begin by focusing on the presumed affordances of technology to support learning, and run the risk of developing solutions to problems that don’t exist? Or should we start by identifying learning objectives, standards, and persistent misconceptions, raising the potential for identifying technology needs that are either beyond our reach or that fail to leverage emerging technological capabilities? In this talk, I will describe the trajectory of a decade of research our group has undertaken in the development of classroom learning technologies designed to support science inquiry, and how the tension between these motivations has informed, challenged, and ultimately enriched that work.

Interpersonal Computers for Higher Education
Frédéric Kaplan: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
I will explore the design and use of interpersonal computers for higher education through the discussion of three specific examples developed and tested in our lab—a table, a lamp and a robotic display. Research in collaborative learning invites us to consider two key features for the design of computers on which several persons can interact in the same place, at the same time. Such systems should permit fluid interactions among group members and not act as an obstacle to natural collaboration but also offer means to influence ongoing interactions: augmenting the frequency of conflicts, fostering elaborated explanations, supporting mutual understanding, etc. How can the same tool be sufficiently transparent to foster natural interaction dynamics and sufficiently present to shape group processes? These two contradictory goals act as guidelines for designing efficient interpersonal computers.

Position Papers

Cognitive and Pedagogical Benefits of Multimodal Tabletop Displays
Anne Marie Piper, University of San Diego

Tangible interface technology to aid collaboration in individuals with Autism
Will Farr, University of Sussex

Facilitating social interaction and awareness of a partner in children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions using a dual control paradigm – Separate Control of Shared Space (SCoSS)
Samantha Holt, University of Sussex

Representation relationships in tangible environments: Emergent themes for collaborative interaction
Taciana Pontual Falcão, Sara Price, Jennifer Sheridan, George Roussos, London Knowledge Lab

Communicating Emotional Experiences via a Shareable Interface
Madeline Alsmeyer, University of Sussex

Facilitating Better Discussion by Thought Swapping
Margaret Dickey-Kurdziolek, Matt Schaefer, Deborah Tatar, Virgina Tech

Games, Playfulness and Creativity
Games consoles as shared interfaces: how can we investigatecollaborative learning?
Ioanna Iacovides, The Open University

Shareable Interfaces for the Promotion of Creativity in an Educational Environment
Sara Jones, City University, Bob Fields, Middlesex University

Designing of shareable interfaces to support co-located collaboration
Shiran Moser, University of Southern Denmark

Playful, Shareable and Creative – Three Examples for New Directions in User Interface Design
Tanja Döring, Paul Holleis, Albrecht Schmidt, University of Duesburg-Essen

The Augmented Knight’s Castle: A Play Environment for Simultaneous and Co-Present Interaction and Playful Learning
Steve Hinske, Raffael Bachmann, ETH Zürich

Supporting the learning of programming in a social context with multi-player micro-games
Madeline Alsmeyer, Judith Good, Katheringe Howland, Graham McAllister, Pablo Romero, Phil Watten, University of Sussex

Approaches and Pedagogies
Sharing Reflections: a collaborative exploration of place
Matt Schaefer, Deborah Tatar, Virginia Tech

Tabletop Computing as Educational Technology
Jeff Rick, Sheep Dalton, Eva Hornecker, Paul Marshall, Nadia Pantidi, Richard Morris, Yvonne Rogers, The Open University; Will Farr, Rowanne Fleck, Amanda Harris, Nicola Yuill, University of Sussex

Supporting children’s collaborative learning interactions
Nicola Yuill, Amanda Harris, Shems Marzouq, University of Sussex

Designing Collaborative Tangible Spaces to Support Seamless Learning
Marcelo Milrad, Växjö University

Kinaesthetic and Collaborative Activities to Enhance Experience and Engagement among Secondary Mathematics Students
Brock Craft, Phillip Kent, Nicolas van Labeke, London Knowledge Lab

My-E: an online visual environment to support very young students to explore and express their own personal learning experiences
Graham Hopkins, Futurelab Bristol

From Standard Computers to Shareable Interfaces? In Search of Appropriate UIs for Group Learning
Sara Streng, University of Munich

Who are you? Awareness of task identity and status in shareable learning
Anne Adams, The Open University

Sustaining Engagement at Public Shared Interfaces
Ann Morrson, Antti Salovaara, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology

Sharing 3D Spaces: A summary of motion capture case studies showing the use of 3D shared spaces in face to face interaction
Stuart Battersby, Patrick Healey, Queen Mary University of London

Tabletop computers as Assistive Technology
Jennifer George, Gilbert Cockton, University of Sunderland

Supporting Emergency Management Training with Collaborative Technology
Hannes Heller, Tommaso Piazza, Morten Fjeld, Chalmers University

Presentation Tools That Support Learning
Joel Lanir, Kellogg S. Booth, University of British Columbia

Designing Interaction for Computer Musicians
Chris Kiefer, University of Sussex