ICTD2010 (XI). Technology Sharing in Education

Notes from the Information and Communication Technolgies and Development — ICTD2010, held at the Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, UK, on December 13-16, 2010. More notes on this event: ictd2010.

Paper Session: Technology Sharing in Education

MetaMouse: Improving Multi-user Sharing of Existing Educational Applications
Kurtis Heimerl, Janani Vasudev, Kelly G. Buchanan, Tapan Parikh, Eric Brewer

We use to design for individual users, but in disadvantaged regions, most computers are shared by several students. This ends up with a single student e.g. controlling the mouse. And it you do not control/use the mouse, the problem is not only that you cannot participate, but that you end up not learning (and not only not learning how to use the mouse).

The solutions so far just allow for multiple mice to be used, but they have problems with most games and educational material.

MetaMouse uses multiple cursors controlled by multiple mice and based on the key idea of “location-voting”: it is assumed that users agree on a button / option on the screen if their cursors are in the same location, thus requiring all (consensus) or most (majority) users to agree.

An evaluation was made with three scenarios: single mouse, MetaMouse based on consensus, and MetaMouse based on majority. Findings show that the majority variant enables laggard students to participate much more than with the traditional mouse variant and a little bit more indeed than with consensus.

MetaMouse, though, created discussion from “come to this” to “why this”, thus making everyone more involved. On the other hand, MetaMouse actively encouraged students to teach their peers. There was less fighting, more participation or equality.


Q: What happened with gender dynamics after the experiment? A: There was no evaluation on that. Nevertheless, the experiment was participated by extremely dominant girls too, so levelling might have worked both ways.

Evaluating an Adaptive Multi-User Educational Tool for Low-Resource Environments
Emma Brunskill, Sunil Garg, Clint Tseng, Joyojeet Pal, Leah Findlater

Help teachers provide quality education.

Work on interfaces & HCI proved that it could improve interactions using multiple inputs.

With MultiLearn System each students works on a different exercise using their own numeric keypad. Students compete to be the first to answer 12 questions correctly.

How to keep everyone engaged? How to prevent one student domination the session?

MultiLearn+ personalized the problem selection, including a dynamic selection of the problems according to the (right or wrong) answers provided by the student.

3 scenarios were then compared for analysis: control (group spelling computer game), MultiLearn (non-adaptive grup math game) and MultiLearn+ (adaptive grup math game).

The adaptive condition showed that game dominance was reduced. Reducing dominance is a side benefit of a feature designed to improve educational effectiveness. on the other hand, there was no significant effect of adaptivity or math software over control condition, though there was a good correlation on student performance. In summary, adaptive, multi-user software has potential to help improve education.

Collage: A Presentation Tool for School Teachers
Saurabh Panjwani, Aakar Gupta, Navkar Samdaria, Edward Cutrell, Kentaro Toyama

ICTs alone cannot impact learning by much; engaging teachers is necessary. On the other hand, ICTs can help good teachers teach better. How can software be designed to facilitate classroom instruction via a digital projector? What’s a good presentation software for teachers?

PowerPoint and variants were never designed for teaching, but for general-purpose presentations (though it is used by +6M teachers worldwide). Document cameras are a digital substitute for overhead projectors (OHP), but they can not be programmed and they are quite costly.

Collage aims at being specifically designed for teaching in schools.

A first analysis of urban public and private schools in India showed that teachers used intensively paper and the blackboard, they had a strong desire to use PCs for teaching and, despite the desire,usage was low, especially because of lack of tools to prepare content.

Collage features: textbook page interactions (zoom, highlight, overlay), inking (through graphics pad), scratch space.

Collage has few features, but it is very easy to use and even allows real time authoring. Indeed, textbook scans proved to be highly beneficial, especially because of a better recall of visual information.

Key takeaways:

  • Using paper in digital presentations is valuable. Both teachers and students seem to benefit.
  • Teachers like to author content in real time. Collage caters to this liking.
  • Deployment of Collage still a challenges. Content assembly takes time, and using it has the associated hardware cost of the PC and the projector.


Information and Communication Technologies and Development (2010)