Actions speak loudly with words: unpacking collaboration around the table

Fleck, Rowanne; Rogers, Yvonne; Yuill, Nicola; Marshall, Paul; Carr, Amanda; Rick, Jochen and Bonnett, Victoria (2009). Actions speak loudly with words: unpacking collaboration around the table. In: ITS '09: International Conference On Interactive Tabletops And Surfaces, 23-25 Nov 2009, Banff, Alberta, Canada, pp. 189–196.



The potential of tabletops to enable groups of people to simultaneously touch and manipulate a shared tabletop interface provides new possibilities for supporting collaborative learning. However, findings from the few studies carried out to date have tended to show small or insignificant effects compared with other technologies. We present the Collaborative Learning Mechanisms framework used to examine the coupling of verbal interactions and physical actions in collaboration around the tabletop and reveal subtle mechanisms at play. Analysis in this way revealed that what might be considered undesirable or harmful interactions and intrusions in general collaborative settings, might be beneficial for collaborative learning. We discuss the implications of these findings for how tabletops may be used to support children's collaboration, and the value of considering verbal and physical aspects of interaction together in this way.

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