Conference paper

The Benefits and Limitations of Distributing a Tangible Interface in a Classroom

We report the design and testing of TapaCarp, a CSCL environment for carpenter apprentices. From the start, we designed TapaCarp for a classroom usage. This led to an interface distributed over several components and modalities. A first user study conducted in a classroom environment and involving 24 carpenter apprentices produced mixed conclusions about the distribution of the interface. On one hand, it proved suitable in terms of classroom integration and flexibility. On the other hand, it hurt usability, both at the group level and at the classroom level. Based on these results, we discuss the relevance of distributing a learning environment interface and introduce the concept of “over-Hutchins threshold”, a point after which the distribution of the interface becomes harmful to classroom orchestration.

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