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Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 166; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8040166

What Biological Visualizations Do Science Center Visitors Prefer in an Interactive Touch Table?

Department of Science and Technology (ITN), Linköping University, Campus Norrköping, Norrköping 60174, Sweden
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Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 6 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology Education)
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Abstract

Hands-on digital interactivity in science centers provides new communicative opportunities. The Microcosmos multi-touch table allows visitors to interact with 64 image “cards” of (sub)microscopic biological structures and processes embedded across seven theme categories. This study presents the integration of biological content, interactive features and logging capabilities into the table, and analyses visitors’ usage and preferences. Data logging recorded 2,070,350 events including activated category, selected card, and various finger-based gestures. Visitors interacted with all cards during 858 sessions (96 s on average). Finger movements covered an average accumulated distance of 4.6 m per session, and about 56% of card interactions involved two fingers. Visitors made 5.53 category switches per session on average, and the virus category was most activated (average 0.96 per session). An overall ranking score related to card attractive power and holding power revealed that six of the most highly used cards depicted viruses and four were colourful instrument output images. The large finger traversal distance and proportion of two-finger card interaction may indicate the intuitiveness of the gestures. Observed trends in visitor engagement with the biological visualizations are considered in terms of construal level theory. Future work will examine how interactions are related to potential learning of biological content. View Full-Text
Keywords: visualization in biology education; (sub)microscopic scale; digital touch table interfaces; science centers visualization in biology education; (sub)microscopic scale; digital touch table interfaces; science centers
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Höst, G.E.; Schönborn, K.J.; Fröcklin, H.; Tibell, L.A.E. What Biological Visualizations Do Science Center Visitors Prefer in an Interactive Touch Table? Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 166.

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