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Designing tangibles for learning: An empirical investigation
EP/F018436/1, £354,407, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. This project aims to more systematically investigate and understand how different ways of linking together objects, environments and information affect the way that learners interact with and understand scientific ideas. Based on a research framework, identifying the design characteristics of tangible artefact-representation relationships (i.e., the different ways of linking information and representations of scientific phenomena to objects and actions placed upon those objects), a number of tangible artefacts and representations to support students' science learning will be developed. Data from empirical studies will analyse the impact of different design variables on interaction and cognition, and provide an explanation of how the different artefact-representation relationships support different kinds of learning. This will extend and enrich existing theoretical frameworks (e.g., external cognition) to adequately account for novel aspects of learning that arise in the context of tangible learning environments, and inform the design of such environments.
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