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Multiple Mice for Computers in Education RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • A distinct feature observed in computer use in

    schools or rural kiosks in developing countries is the high studentto-

    computer ratio. It is not unusual to see more than five children

    crowding around a single display, as schools are rarely funded to

    afford one PC per child in a classroom. One child controls the

    mouse, while others are passive onlookers, without operational

    control of the computer. Learning benefits appear to accrue

    primarily to the child with the mouse, with the other children

    missing out.

    The obvious technical solution is to provide each child with a

    mouse and cursor on screen, thus effectively multiplying the

    amount of interaction per student per PC for the cost of a few

    extra mice. To our surprise, both the concept and the

    implementation appear to be unique to date, for the specific

    application to computers in education in resource-strapped

    communities, with previous work restricting studies to two mice,

    or for largely non-educational applications.

    We have developed software that allows multiple coloured

    cursors to co-exist on the monitor, along with two sample games

    with some educational content. Initial trials with both singlemouse

    and multiple-mice scenarios suggest that children are more

    engaged when in control of a mouse, and that more mice increases

    overall engagement. Our results suggest new areas of research in

    pedagogy for computers in education.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 4:26 AM