Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 379–389

Tangible interaction and learning: the case for a hybrid approach

  • Michael S. Horn
  • R. Jordan Crouser
  • Marina U. Bers
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00779-011-0404-2

Cite this article as:
Horn, M.S., Crouser, R.J. & Bers, M.U. Pers Ubiquit Comput (2012) 16: 379. doi:10.1007/s00779-011-0404-2


Research involving tangible interaction and children has often focused on how tangibles might support or improve learning compared to more traditional methods. In this paper, we review three of our research studies involving tangible computer programming that have addressed this question in a variety of learning environments with a diverse population of children. Through these studies, we identify situations in which tangible interaction seems to offer advantages for learning; however, we have also identify situations in which tangible interaction proves less useful and an alternative interaction style provides a more appropriate medium for learning. Thus, we advocate for a hybrid approach—one that offers teachers and learners the flexibility to select the most appropriate interaction style to meet the needs of a specific situation.


Tangible interaction TUIs Hybrid tangible interface Computer programming Education Children Robotics 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Horn
    • 1
  • R. Jordan Crouser
    • 2
  • Marina U. Bers
    • 2
  1. 1.Computer Science and the Learning SciencesNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Eliot-Pearson Department of Child DevelopmentTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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