Multiple Screens For Multiple Uses and the Growth of HCI for Education

Multiple Screens by Siddartha ThotaThis post is about an article I recently read (really you can skip directly to the Google slideshow if you want) which really makes me feel good about a lot of the things we’ve been doing over the past four years in understanding what it means to connect students in a smart classroom across a wide variety of devices, displays, and even locations and contexts.

Our earlier work showed us that when collaborating students tended to do so more effectively using larger format displays (as huddling around small screens tended to make some students get pushed to the fringe and prevented them from taking part in the discourse). We also found that large displays were great for the teacher in seeing the work of the class at-a-glance (versus on small screens) and in discussing it with larger groups (http://goo.gl/Mnvd5).

I agree that smaller devices, increasingly tablets for their increased portability (can you believe that the iPad only debuted in late 2010!), are better suited for individual contributions – or as a “starting off point”.

This highlights a big unofficial theme of this year’s International Conference of the Learning Science (http://www.isls.org/icls2012/) was the emergence of HCI for learning – the idea that we need to understand and start seriously thinking about and researching how these new technologies (and their respective affordances) can best help us aid students to achieve new forms of learning and collaboration that were previously unachievable.

It’s an exciting time to be an educational researcher – so long as we continue to ask the tough questions about how these technologies (and how students intact with them) specifically aid in learning and not just implementing them for technology’s sake we’ll be just fine 😉

*note this is a cross published article with Google+ which has to happen this way until they get their public API in order

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