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Setting the Stage for Interaction

Drew Harry
March 13, 2012

Setting the Stage for Interaction

We present a tablet-based system to collaboratively track discussion topics and ideas in a seminar-style discussion classroom. Each student uses his or her own tablet to share text ideas in a synchronized, visual environment. The system is designed to promote diverse participation and increase engagement. Our findings are based on observations of twelve class sessions and interviews with participating students. Instead of simply introducing an additional text-based communication channel into the classroom, we find that the system creates a new ``stage'' (in the Goffman sense) on which students could perform in ways that the main spoken stage could not support. This stage coexists with spoken communication, and augments how students attend to the material and each other. We conclude that spoken participation alone poses barriers for some participants and the addition of a non-oral, text-based stage can help establish equitable and engaging discussions in the class.

Presented at CSCW 2012 in Bellvue, WA.

Drew Harry

March 13, 2012

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  16. Ideas Topics Time Participation Presence Archival Artifacts

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  19. 19 Students 22 Hours 119 Topics 839 Ideas

  20. Attention Promotion Prioritizing Stages Tablets

  21. Intro Design Conclusion Study

  22. Intro Design Conclusion Study Attention

  23. Intro Design Conclusion Study

  24. Intro Design Conclusion Study Promotion

  25. Intro Design Conclusion Study “I feel like [the professor] would

    be a speaker for people who couldn’t speak, you know. The fact that he was really into Tin Can, so he would read something that [a student] had written and be like oh, I want to quote this or talk about it and [act] as a spokesman for people who aren’t really comfortable speaking”
  26. Intro Design Conclusion Study

  27. Intro Design Conclusion Study Prioritizing Stages

  28. Intro Design Conclusion Study “I can remember a particular ...

    presentation that he was doing a lot of PowerPoint, I think he was completely oblivious to the Tin Can conversation and [the Tin Can conversation] ended up going in a very good direction ... as a result, I do not remember anything he said, because ... the conversation on Tin Can was a little more engaging”
  29. Intro Design Conclusion Study

  30. Intro Design Conclusion Study Tablets

  31. Intro Design Conclusion Study “[I like to] organize my language

    a lot before I actually talk because I want my thoughts to be systematical and clear, I want people to get it.”
  32. Intro Design Conclusion Study “gave more people a chance to

    say things that they wouldn’t say”
  33. Intro Design Conclusion Study “something that was on my side,

    so to speak. You know what I mean? ... Like it was a resource.”
  34. Questions? Drew Harry MIT Media Lab Eric Gordon Emerson College

    Chris Schmandt MIT Media Lab tincan.it dharry@media.mit.edu @drewwww