The INIT Lab and TIDESS team are proud to report that we’ve recently published a paper in the Research in Science Education journal, entitled “Ocean Data Visualization on a Touchtable Demonstrates Group Content Learning, Science Practices Use, and Potential Embodied Cognition”. The TIDESS team has been investigating how people learn from interactive visualizations of scientific data, and this paper reports on a study we conducted on a largescreen tabletop display to understand what groups of learners talk about and how their language seems to invoke “embodied cognition”. Here is the abstract:
Conceptualizing and understanding global, physical systems like Earth’s ocean is challenging. Data visualizations on touch-based technology allow learners to explore systems and facilitate embodied experiences, promoting deeper understanding. We investigated how direct manipulation of data visualizations on a touchscreen table affords meaningful learning of science concepts and practices. Using a conceptual framework informed by embodied cognition and sociocultural theory, we analyzed the use of an application displaying global ocean temperature visualizations. Eleven adult-child groups of two to four participants used a think-aloud procedure during four tasks in a lab setting. We recorded, transcribed, and qualitatively coded resulting utterances, looking for evidence of concepts and practices, group meaning-making, and language that could point to embodied cognition. Participants discussed science content and engaged in scientific practices such as describing patterns and refining ideas. Participants used ontological, orientational, and metonymic conceptual metaphors. We discuss implications and provide suggestions for data visualizations on touch platforms.
We are excited to be able to share the results from this interdisciplinary project with an interdisciplinary audience, beyond the INIT lab’s primary venues in human-computer interaction. The paper is already available online, and the paper link from the journal site is here.