Researching Embodiment with Digital Technologies: Project update

As part of the project “Researching Embodiment with Digital Technologies” we recently carried out some empirical studies using  a purpose built tangible tabletop learning environment

Twenty three students aged 10-11 years from a London primary school took part in the study. They worked in pairs to explore concepts of the physics of light using the tangible tabletop interface. Sessions were video recorded to access data about how body positioning, orientation, gesture, and gaze are used when collaboratively engaging in meaning making of science concepts. During July – Sept we have undertaken analyses looking at the effect of body positioning on interaction and communication with the technology and one another specifically analysing details of the role of body position, gaze, manipulation and speech in shaping interaction. The analysis illustrates the interaction between these modes and ‘multimodal action flow’, particularly in terms of pace, rhythm and interaction structure, and the implications of this for interaction and the meaning making process.

We also explored multimodal methodological approaches in the context of tangible tabletop interaction. In particular we took a non-facilitated approach to student interaction with the interface, and examined different post interaction methodologies for reviewing interaction, using three alternative semi-structured interview approaches: straight verbal interview; verbal interview with video replay of students’ own session- video prompted recall; interview with the tangible table itself which could be used for demonstration and explanation. The comparative analysis of interview design shows how the nature of information elicited differs. Students have access to a different set of resources to recall, link to, and describe their physical embodied experience, and so the work that they are engaged in within the interviews becomes different.

Author: Sara Price

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