Digital Mysteries: Designing for Learning at the Tabletop

Ahmed Kharrufa David Leat Patrick Olivier

Newcastle University


We present the iterative design, implementation, and validation of a collaborative learning application for school children designed for a digital tabletop. Digital mysteries, is based on the mysteries paper-based learning technique. Our work is distinctive in that the design process, the design choices, and the implementation framework are all grounded in theories of both collaborative interaction and learning. Our hypothesis was that, if well utilized, the digital tabletopís unique affordances would allow for the creation of collaborative learning tools that were better than traditional paperor computer-based tools. The two main design goals for the digital version are supporting externalization of thinking and higher-level thinking skills. The evaluation of the final version provided evidence that use of the application increases the probability that effective learning mechanisms will occur and encourages higher-level thinking through reflection. We conclude the paper with design guidelines for tabletop collaborative learning applications.

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