ShareIT workshop

Last week I attended the ShareIT workshop. The major aim of the workshop was “…to bring together researchers from across disciplines who are analyzing interaction, talk and gesture, involved in the development of collaboration” (quote from the website). It was an inspiring event since some of the topics covered were very relevant for my current research interests. The presentations by the keynote speaker Andy Tolmie and the workshop organizers Yvonne Rogers and Nicola Yuill framed a wide range of research results and challenges regarding the fostering of collaboration in learning.

In more practical terms, issues concerning the problems of observational studies “in the wild” were discussed in the breakout sessions and some ideas regarding new forms of data collection and analysis seemed promising. Basically, there is a tension between embarking in detailed analysis of the activities (for example, video analysis) and being able to extract automatically particularly relevant actions. I suppose a good example of the latter is the work by Alex Pentland and the “sociometric badges”. Nevertheless, a lot more needs to be uncovered clearly connecting the relationships between the two approaches.

To me, another interesting challenge concerns the analysis of gestures and its relations to the actual learning (a very good example of the theme is the work by Susan Goldin-Meadow). Researchers seemed to agree that more work is needed in order to construct conceptual frameworks that can be utilized in distinct studies and allow comparisons (in other words, how can we overcome the problem of very different coding schemes).

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