Fostering Students’ Participation in Face-to-Face Interactions and Deepening Their Understanding by Integrating Personal and Shared Spaces

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In this research, we introduced CarettaKids into the social context of a classroom environment to evaluate whether integration of personal and shared spaces can help promote students’ participation in synchronous/co-located interactions in the classroom and deepen their understanding of subject matter. Analysis of videotaped interactions and pre- and posttests clarified the following three points. (1) Students who used CarettaKids presented the simulation results and rules for object arrangement they worked out individually in their respective personal space, by using CarettaKids’ function of projecting object arrangements and simulation results from a personal digital assistant onto a sensing board. (2) Many of the students who used CarettaKids examined individually generated ideas collaboratively in the shared space. The patterns of collaborative examination are: (a) Induce a rule for object arrangement from object arrangements devised in personal spaces; (b) Deduce a new object arrangement from the rules discovered in the personal spaces; and (c) Refine the rules discovered in the personal spaces through group discussion. (3) Students who used CarettaKids not only considered all of the three factors, i.e. residential area, industrial area and forest area, but also understood relations between these factors, thereby deepening their understanding of city planning that takes environmental and financial aspects into consideration. We suggest that the degree to which students deepen their understanding is affected by the presence or absence of collaborative examination of individually generated ideas in the shared space.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 5th International Conference for Interaction Design and Children in Tampere, Finland, June 2006, and the International Conferences on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning in New Brunswick, NJ, USA, July 2007. This research project has been supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) (No. 16300248) and (A) (No. 18200048).