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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr. Andrew Joyce-Gibbons

Beauchamp, Gary, Joyce-Gibbons, Andrew, McNaughton, James, Young, Nick & Crick, Tom (2019). Exploring synchronous, remote collaborative interaction between learners using multi-touch tables and video conferencing in UK primary schools. British Journal of Educational Technology 50(6): 3214-3232.

Author(s) from Durham


This study explores remote, non‐collocated collaboration via multi‐touch table (SynergyNet) and video conferencing software (Skype). Twenty‐four participants (aged 10‐11 years) in two locations—primary school classrooms located 300 miles apart in the UK—engaged in simultaneous collaborative activity to solve a History mystery task. Audio‐video data recorded in the first minute of the activity were analysed to explore the emergence of collaborative working practices both within groups in the same location (resizing for shared reading) and between the groups communicating via video conferencing software and through the “flick” multi‐touch gesture (sharing clues between groups). The results indicated that most groups focused first on the establishment of intra‐group collaboration before reaching out to their remotely located partners. However, when the second data set was analysed, audio data from delayed interviews conducted after the original study, participants reported that the discussion between groups supported by the “flick” gesture was the most important and memorable feature of the activity. The study relates these findings to the existing literature on collaborative learning using multi‐touch tables and considers how teachers are best able to help support the emergence of collaborative practices.