Digital mysteries: Designing for learning at the tabletop

Ahmed Kharrufa, David Leat, Patrick Olivier

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    We present the iterative design, implementation, and validation of a collaborative learning application for school children designed for a digital tabletop. Digital mysteries, is based on the mysteries paper-based learning technique. Our work is distinctive in that the design process, the design choices, and the implementation framework are all grounded in theories of both collaborative interaction and learning. Our hypothesis was that, if well utilized, the digital table-top's unique affordances would allow for the creation of collaborative learning tools that were better than traditional paper-or computer-based tools. The two main design goals for the digital version are supporting externalization of thinking and higher-level thinking skills. The evaluation of the final version provided evidence that use of the application increases the probability that effective learning mechanisms will occur and encourages higher-level thinking through reflection. We conclude the paper with design guidelines for tabletop collaborative learning applications.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces, ITS 2010
    Number of pages10
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010
    EventACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference 2010 - Saarbrücken, Germany
    Duration: 7 Nov 201010 Nov 2010
    Conference number: 5th


    ConferenceACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference 2010
    Abbreviated titleITS 2010
    Internet address


    • Collaborative learning
    • CSCL
    • CSCW
    • Digital tabletops
    • Distributed cognition
    • Externalization
    • Reflection

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