Open Exhibits - Research - Papers



A Framework for Developing Multitouch Applications to Enhance K-12 Education


Multitouch platforms offer new and exciting ways of interacting with computers. Traditional input devices, such as the mouse or keyboard, only allow input from one user at a time. However, multitouch gestures allow for multiple inputs and often resemble physical interactions that are more natural and intuitive for users. Additionally, large multitouch interfaces allow more than one person to collaborate on the same screen easily. This encourages people to work together and communicate. Multitouch applications have the potential for offering a new hands-on approach to learning. Their interactive nature is engaging and appeals to a wide variety of learning styles, and the use of large interactive multitouch screens encourages collaboration. Science and math education, in particular, can benefit from the highly interactive nature of multitouch technology. With access to a multitouch computer and applications, students can work together to learn concepts and solve problems.

Because of the positive affect that interactive learning can have on students, teachers from different backgrounds need to have access to multitouch technology. The goal of this project is to give educators the ability to leverage multitouch technology in their classrooms. The solution that was developed will allow users to create multitouch presentations using images, video, text, and sound. These presentations will allow basic gestures, including zoom, rotate, and pan. A Creator program will allow teachers to develop the presentations on any computer running Windows XP or higher. After the presentation is completed, a Viewer program will run the presentation on a multitouch enabled computer running Windows 7 and process incoming touch information. This toolset has been developed with accessibility and affordability in mind.

This application toolset was developed by a team of undergraduate students. It is written in C# and makes use of the Windows Presentation Foundation and Windows Touch API. A demonstration will be included with the presentation. This project is supported by the Computing Research Association’s Status of Women in Computing Research, the NASA Space Grant, and the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.