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Collaborative surfaces point of view: It seems that we are most likely to find solutions to the complex problems of the present and the future through new combinations of competencies, roles and knowledge. Promethean Education Strategy Group Collaboration & Personalisation


Promethean Promethean Education Education Strategy Strategy Group Group

Case Study: POV on Collaborative Surfaces | v1 | 15.07.10

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision - the ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Andrew Carnegie, (1835-1919)

The Potential for Surface Technologies While ideas of 21st Century global cooperation and the ‘wikinomics’ world of mass collaboration are core to much of our modern international economy, the foundations for effective functioning in such a world are laid in our early educational experiences. Personal and social development complements academic development in the design of every education system. Those skills and experiences that see young people learning to share, work together, help each other, show respect and deal with conflict are core educational objectives which realise the need for investments with a long term, social and economic return. New ways of working together: It seems that we are most likely to find solutions to the complex problems of the present and the future through new combinations of competencies, roles and knowledge. The competencies are required to make the most of the extraordinary increase in available data and information, and to optimise our increasingly connected lives. In the past few years our lives and our work ENVIRONMENTS have become more networked. With instant anytime, anywhere connections, we can cooperate around the world to tackle problems in ways that would have been beyond comprehension only a few decades ago. Highly developed, social and practical skills of coordination are now needed to maximise both networked and co-located team working. This need has been recognised in changes to the 21st Century curriculum and through a new focus on collaboration as a key part of a modern education.


Technology supporting direct collaboration: New user interface paradigms are rapidly changing how we interact with technology in the workplace and in wider society. Gestures and multi-touch offer more efficient and natural ways to access more complex layers of data, mimicking with ever greater fidelity the physical surface of the wall, the desk and the tools and documents of the real world. If we consider how much time we spend working together directly, we can also see that new technology advances are unlocking a world of collaboration that reaches beyond impersonal networks of private screens and opens up new opportunities. Co-located team working enables the subtle but powerful social cues of gaze, pointing and discussion to support effective coordination of effort. Research into the efficacy of multi-touch, collaborative surfaces highlights how appropriately designed collaboration technology can both enhance and develop these powerful human factors. Collaboration technology helps bring the disparate skills of participants together to bear on any given problem regardless of where they are on their learning journey. From agile, emergency response planning and command and control systems to demanding geo-analysis in the oil and gas exploration arena, collaboration around multi-user surfaces maximises how teams work together analysing and responding to ever more complex layers of data and information visualisations. It is clear that multi-touch and multi-pen interfaces must challenge the idea of a computer as a single user device.


Promethean Promethean Education Education Strategy Strategy Group Group

“Promethean believes that education is the fuel that drives economic growth and social progress. Effective teaching is the key to successful, collaborative and personalised learning-which in turn creates better prepared students, more prosperous nations, more secure societies, and more engaged global citizens.” A framework for supporting co-located collaboration: Companies like Promethean are continually engaged with the necessary technological development and academic research to bring to market the new generations of co-located collaboration technologies. The design of a technology tool to support face to face collaboration requires more than transposing traditional software and applications into a multi-user space. This new class of collaboration technology needs to be able to • Recognise and support individuals in their differing activity and roles. • Provide concepts of shared and personal areas and • Offer tools to track and report on how individuals interact and perform. Research into the efficacy of multi-user surfaces conducted by Newcastle University highlights the real impact technology like this can have in teaching and learning contexts and in particular in the development and adoption of “higher order” skills of cooperation and shared reflection. “When students collaborate to solve a problem, they engage in activities such as explanation, disagreement, and mutual regulation.“1 Externalising of thinking through such dialogue is an aspect of both collective and collaborative learning that is a key to its success as a teaching and learning approach. While the higher order skills of coordination that are embodied in effective collaboration cannot usually be measured with the traditional pre and post test, they can be observed in the form of deeper and more focussed dialogue and the levels of task oriented interpersonal interaction – either directly or mediated through the shared technology.

”Digital Mysteries: Designing for Learning at the Tabletop” (A. Kharrufa, D. Leat, P. Olivier, 2010)



EdStrat_POV on Coll. Surfaces_CS_EDU 12/11 V1

Mechanisms to report on participation and contribution are necessary so that a teacher can ensure that all students are properly benefitting from the experience of working together. The ability to report and replay a collaborative activity and filter contributions and actions carried out at an individual level should be seen as a key feature of a system designed for a classroom.