In this paper, we describe an experiment that compared the use of a Tangible User Interface (physical objects augmented with digital information) and a set of Contrasting Cases as a preparation for future learning. We carried out an experiment (N = 40) with a 2 × 2 design: the first factor compared traditional instruction (“Tell & Practice”) with a constructivist activity designed using the Preparation for Future Learning framework (PFL). The second factor contrasted state-of-the-art PFL learning activity (i.e., students studying Contrasting Cases) with an interactive tabletop featuring digitally enhanced manipulatives. In agreement with prior work, we found that dyads of students who followed the PFL activity achieved significantly higher learning gains compared to their peers who followed a traditional “Tell & Practice” instruction (large effect size). A similar effect was found in favor of the interactive tabletop compared to the Contrasting Cases (small-to-moderate effect size). We discuss implications for designing socio-constructivist activities using new computer interfaces.
Schneider, B., & Blikstein, P. (2013). Tangible User Interface and Contrasting Cases as a Preparation for Future Learning. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative learning.