Interactive tabletops in education

  • Pierre Dillenbourg
  • Michael Evans


Interactive tabletops are gaining increased attention from CSCL researchers. This paper analyses the relation between this technology and teaching and learning processes. At a global level, one could argue that tabletops convey a socio-constructivist flavor: they support small teams that solve problems by exploring multiple solutions. The development of tabletop applications also witnesses the growing importance of face-to-face collaboration in CSCL and acknowledges the physicality of learning. However, this global analysis is insufficient. To analyze the educational potential of tabletops in education, we present 33 points that should be taken into consideration. These points are structured on four levels: individual user-system interaction, teamwork, classroom orchestration, and socio-cultural contexts. God lies in the details.


tabletop tangible ubiquitous 



This paper introduces a special thread of papers in ijCSCL that originates from a workshop ‘Tabletops for Education’ organized by P. Dillenbourg and C. Shen at in the Second Alpine Rendez-Vous, in Garmish-Partenkirchen (Germany) in December 2009. This workshop was funded by STELLAR, a European Network of Excellence on Technology Enhanced Learning.

This article was supported, in part, by a National Science Foundation Grant (IIS 073615) awarded to Michael A. Evans.


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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EPFLLausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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