Roadshow

Developed primarily as a tool to engage participants at poster sessions at conferences, Roadshow provides participants and attendees a way to more collectively engage with the ideas and discussion generated during the session, and to generate more collaborative and connected ideas for follow-up discussion among the whole session.

As an extension to the Sail Smart Space (S3) Framework, Roadshow enables users to create a pop-up social collaboration space that can be indexed to physical locations, facilitating discussion, idea exchange, and the development of a shared taxonomy (tags) within an emergent knowledge base. All of these interactions are then broadcast on an interactive aggregated screen that shows all of the contributed work within the network and filter items by location, contribution type, and tags.

In essence Roadshow can let you quickly author and deploy and set of ad-hoc social networks that aggregate information both within their individual defined social spaces and across the spaces in a shared central pool.

When an individual creates an instance of Roadshow they have several options that they can customize to help guide the interactions. The author can define the number of locations that exist within the network, give them each unique names (e.g., “Poster 1” or “Collaborative Tablet Applications Talk”); define the types of

contributions that participants can make when contributing (e.g., “Question”, “Comment” or “Critique”); and pre-seed tags that may help focus participants thinking (e.g., “Collaboration”, “Learning Goals”, “HCI Considerations”, or “Key Points”).

Roadshow was designed to allow for maximum flexibility in regards to devices that could be used – using responsive web techniques we made it possible to use Roadshow on any mobile device (except Blackberry) or laptop. This mean that users weren’t confined to specific technologies, thus reducing barriers to participation.

Once logged in users could see the contributions of every other member within the network filterable by location. Users could then add their own contributions to the collective knowledge base. Each contribution was also tagged by the user – these tags were a combination of the pre-seeded tags described above and tags organically added by users. When users added their own tags to a post that tag was propagated to every other tablet in the space in real-time helping participants made new connections between their ideas and spaces (users who came later on would also see all the emergent tags).

Finally discussion could take place using the large aggregate display as a mediator and avenue for organizing and filetering ideas. Here users (or a central mediator) could drag the different contributions around the board making “collections” of ideas in order to find themes, topics of interest, or points of conflict. The final layout of the interactive board could be saved and recalled later for future discussion or reworking.

Although Roadshow is still very much in its infancy there are several avenues that we are exploring for future iterations. Primary amongst these are creating more dynamic interactions patterns between individual contributors and their both immediate social spaces (individual locations) and the broader network (whole room), thinking about how we can get individual from one space to connect and build on the ideas of participants in others to get a greater sense of how their ideas connect and contrast towards building new opportunities for knowledge construction. Additionally, similar to other work with S3, we want to think about how the inclusion of Ambient technologies can give participants a greater sense of community belonging, and feelings of spatial relevance and embodiment; and how the inclusion of intelligent software agents can help in the spatial coordination of people in these spaces and in facilitating the productive interaction patterns described above.

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