Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1471–1483 | Cite as

Designing smarter touch-based interfaces for educational contexts

  • Lisa AnthonyEmail author
  • Quincy Brown
  • Berthel Tate
  • Jaye Nias
  • Robin Brewer
  • Germaine Irwin
Original Article


In next-generation classrooms and educational environments, interactive technologies such as surface computing, natural gesture interfaces, and mobile devices will enable new means of motivating and engaging students in active learning. Our foundational studies provide a corpus of over 10,000 touch interactions and nearly 7,000 gestures collected from nearly 70 adults and children aged 7 years and above, which can help us understand the characteristics of children’s interactions in these modalities and how they differ from adults. Based on these data, we identify key design and implementation challenges of supporting children’s touch and gesture interactions, and we suggest ways to address them. For example, we find children have more trouble successfully acquiring onscreen targets and having their gestures recognized than do adults, especially the youngest age group (7–10 years old). The contributions of this work provide a foundation that will enable touch-based interactive educational apps that increase student success.


Touch interaction Gesture interaction Child–computer interaction Mobile devices Gesture recognition $N $P Educational technology 



We would like to thank Chiamaka Okorohoa, Thaddeus Brown, Monique Ogburn, and Shreya Mohan for their support of this research. This work was partially supported by Department of Education HBGI Grant Award #P031B090207-11 and National Science Foundation Grant Awards #IIS-1218395/IIS-1218664. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect these agencies’ views.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Anthony
    • 1
    Email author
  • Quincy Brown
    • 2
  • Berthel Tate
    • 2
  • Jaye Nias
    • 2
  • Robin Brewer
    • 1
  • Germaine Irwin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Maryland Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Bowie State UniversityBowieUSA

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