interakcije split interactions

and learning

23 - 28 March 2009

Department of Visual
Arts Academy
University of Split

Technology-Enhanced Learning and the Rediscovery of the Physical


The most common form of Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), such as moodle or WebCT. These are accessed via a web browser and so to use them requires students to be sitting at a computer, with all the potential distractions this entails (facebook, email, IM etc). While VLEs undoubtedly suit some styles of teaching and learning, by far the lowest rate of uptake is in activity-based subjects such as art, music and drama. (UCISA, 2008)

While in the early days of the Web there was a rush towards implementing the virtual, more recently we can see the balance being tipped back towards the physical through the introduction of a tangible or physical computing approach, in which software systems move out of the screen and into our own world, where we can interact with them using the physical skills we've been developing since we were very small children. This also prevents us from being tethered to a screen and allows us more scope to interact with our environment, and with people there.

The Brief

What opportunities might there be for introducing physicality into technology-enhanced learning? Can the body be a site of learning? Can we blend the real and the virtual in new ways which overcome limitations of screen-based VLEs and similar approaches?

Topics for Investigation

  • OFF=ON -- combining real and virtual objects, blurring the boundaries
  • internet of things -- getting everyday objects onto the net so they can communicate
  • mixed reality -- blending of real with virtual worlds, creating new hybrid experiences
  • bodystorming -- role-playing/acting out the use of a physical product or device to gain insight through using the physical body. (compare 'brainstorming').


  • UCISA, 2008 Survey of Technology Enhanced Learning for higher education in the UK (PDF)
  • Scott R. Klemmer, Björn Hartmann and Leila Takayama. How Bodies Matter: Five Themes for Interaction Design. Proceedings of DIS 2006, pp140-149.
  • Bodystorming -- see Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri, Experience Prototyping. Proceedings of DIS'00, pp424-433.
  • Innovation Unit. Series of commissioned papers on tech, innovation and education. (LINK)
  • Export to World, Linda Kostowski and Sascha Pohflepp. Project copying objects from second life and fabricating them in real world using papercraft. (LINK)
  • School of Everything - connecting teachers with learners: Our goal is to do for education what YouTube has done for television, or what eBay did for retail: to open up a huge and fertile space between the professional and the amateur (LINK)
  • Method of Loci - technique used in ancient Rome to memorise speeches, based on the speaker visualising themselves being in various physical places at each stage of the talk. (LINK)
  • OFF=ON. (LINK)
  • ccLearn is a division of Creative Commons dedicated to realizing the full potential of the internet to support open learning and open educational resources. Open, but very webby. (LINK)