An Interactive Tablecloth for Facilitating Discussion in a Culturally Diverse Group

Wiseman, Sarah; van der Linden, Janet; Spiers, Ad and Oshodi, Maria (2015). An Interactive Tablecloth for Facilitating Discussion in a Culturally Diverse Group. In: Cultural Diversity and Technology Design Workshop at 7th International Communities and Technologies Conference, 27-30 Jun 2015, Limerick, Ireland.

URL: https://cultech2015.wordpress.com

Abstract

Group discussions are a useful tool in a number of environments: from working towards a common goal in a business setting, to gathering feedback on an exhibit in a museum for example. One issue in such sessions is that some group members can talk more loudly and confidently than others, making some group members change their mind or keep quiet, this can result in interesting differences of opinion being lost. In this paper we present a tool for facilitating such group discussions. The tool is an interactive tablecloth that is controlled with tangible interfaces, and provides a method for each group member’s voice to be heard prior to discussion, thus preserving the diversity of responses. When tested after an immersive theatre performance, the tool effectively allowed each group member to answer questions individually prior to beginning group discussion. This also allowed the facilitator to effectively coordinate the discussion in an efficient manner.

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