Designing visible engineering: Supporting tinkering performances in museums

Leilah Lyons, Michael Tissenbaum, Matthew Berland, Rebecca Eydt, Lauren Wielgus, Adam Mechtley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Interactive technologies like multi-touch tables enable museum exhibit designers to support visitors' learning with a wide range of resources (from multimedia to dynamic feedback to the presence of other visitors). Designers must decide, though, how best to align the affordances of these resources with the learning activities they are trying to support [23]. This work examines a multi-touch table exhibit designed to support an activity, tinkering, which has been identified as a form of interaction that may offer special benefits to novices learning about engineering [e.g., 4]. When a learner is tinkering, he or she is engaged in a process of iterative adjustment to a constructed artifact, making use of "just in time" resources and feedback to guide the next steps in their exploration of the problem space. The exhibit studied in this work provided several resources for supporting tinkering, and this paper presents a detailed case showing how these different resources (some technical, some social, and some sociotechnical) were or were not used by learners. A key design goal we identified was the need to transform the tacit engineering practices of visitors into visible engineering performances, such that those performances could serve as "cultural tools" [35] for mediating the learning of other visitors. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of IDC 2015
Subtitle of host publicationThe 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages49-58
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450335904
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 21 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2015 - Boston, United States
Duration: Jun 21 2015Jun 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of IDC 2015: The 14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children

Other

Other14th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2015
CountryUnited States
CityBoston
Period6/21/156/24/15

Keywords

  • Engineering education
  • Exhibit design
  • Informal learning
  • Multi-touch tabletops
  • Museums

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Software

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