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Home > iSGTW - 11 August 2010 Special Issue - Education > Video of the Week - Learning with multi-touch

Video of the week - Learning with multi-touch


Multi-touch technology has been around longer than you might think; experimental implementations have been surfacing since the early 1980s. This technology really hit the big time, however, when Apple released the first iPod Touch.

In 2008, the Renaissance Computing Institute at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill unveiled a multi-touch table that has since become an invaluable tool in the scientific visualization toolbox. At the same time, learning scientists, computer scientists, and psychologists from Virginia Tech and the University of Chicago formed itemL – interactive technologies for embodied mathematics Learning – and began investigating how young children (three to eight-years-old) interact with a multi-touch play table.

“We are collecting extensive data on the commercially available SMART Table while developing our own technology, TanTab,” explained Michael Evans, assistant professor of learning science and technologies at Virginia Tech, and the lead investigator for itemL.

The tables are ideal for teaching children the basics of mathematics through cooperative play. And by observing children as they use the table, the itemL team is gaining insight into how children learn about geometric concepts, and how multi-touch surfaces influence those processes.

Unlike the iPod Touch, or the multi-touch tables we see in visualization centers, TanTab is not touch sensitive. Instead, it uses cameras to track the users’ interactions. In this week’s featured video (above), we can see TanTab in action.

For more on how TanTab works, watch this video.

To learn about the SMART Table, watch this video.

—Miriam Boon, iSGTW

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