Process Pad: learning to explain, explaining to learn

Author: Salehi, S., Kim, J., Meltzer, C. & Blikstein, P.
Year: 2012
Type: Conference Presentation (with paper)
Conference/Journal: TEI 2012


This paper introduces Process Pad, an interactive, low-cost multi-touch
tabletop platform designed to capture students’ thought process and
facilitate their explanations. Process Pad is designed to help students
improve their thinking skills and meta-cognition in various subjects. The
system is intended to dynamically externalize how a student arrives at the
final answer. Process Pad enables the documentation of students’
think-aloud narratives that would otherwise be tacit. Our focus is on
identifying and understanding key themes in creating opportunities for
students to externalize and represent their thought process using
multimodal data. From our user observations, we gleaned four design
perspectives as essential criteria based upon which we form our design
decisions: flexibility, tangibility, collaboration and affordability. Our
initial results show that for many users explaining their reasoning or
problem-solving procedure is a challenging activity in itself, and for
learners to be able to deepen their understanding by narrating or re-
enacting a process there would be many intervening steps. To address these
challenges we designed scaffolding activities, which made use of the
system’s affordances to improve students’ explanation skills.