Minaker G., Schneider O., Davis R., MacLean KE. "HandsOn: Enabling Embodied, Creative STEM e-learning with Programming-Free Force Feedback." International Conference on Human Haptic Sensing and Touch Enabled Computer Applications 2016 Jul 4 (pp. 427-437). Springer International Publishing. (Best Poster Award)
Embodied, physical interaction can improve learning by making abstractions concrete, while online courses and interactive lesson plans have increased education access and versatility. Haptic technology could integrate these benefits, but requires both low-cost hardware (recently enabled by low-cost DIY devices) and accessible software that enables students to creatively explore haptic environments without writing code. To investigate haptic e-learning without user programming, we developed HandsOn, a conceptual model for exploratory, embodied STEM education software; and implemented it with the SpringSim interface and a task battery for high school students. In two studies, we confirm that low-cost devices can render haptics adequately for this purpose, find qualitative impact of SpringSim on student strategies and curiosity, and identify directions for tool improvement and extension.