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Let's jam the reactable : peer learning during musical improvisation with a tabletop tangible interface

Xambó, Anna and Hornecker, Eva and Marshall, Paul and Jorda, Sergi and Dobbyn, Chris and Laney, Robin (2013) Let's jam the reactable : peer learning during musical improvisation with a tabletop tangible interface. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 20 (6). ISSN 1073-0516

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There has been little research on how interactions with tabletop and Tangible User Interfaces (TUIs) by groups of users change over time. In this article, we investigate the challenges and opportunities of a tabletop tangible interface based on constructive building blocks. We describe a long-term lab study of groups of expert musicians improvising with the Reactable, a commercial tabletop TUI for music performance. We examine interaction, focusing on interface, tangible, musical, and social phenomena. Our findings reveal a practice-based learning between peers in situated contexts, and new forms of participation, all of which is facilitated by the Reactable's tangible interface, if compared to traditional musical ensembles. We summarise our findings as a set of design considerations and conclude that construction processes on interactive tabletops support learning by doing and peer learning, which can inform constructivist approaches to learning with technology.