Eric Brewer, Kurtis Heimerl and Tapan Parikh1
Enabling computer-based education in the developing world requires addressing significant resource limitations. Students often sit with two or more peers at a computer. Learning in this environment can be a challenge. The idea of multiple-mouse interfaces has gained traction for this reason, allowing each student to directly interact with educational applications. However, major roadblocks exist to adoption and use of these technologies. First, although there are vast libraries of existing educational software, almost none of this software is designed to support multiple mice. Second, the basic principles for encouraging sharing and collaboration with multiple children using multiple mice are still not well understood. To combat this problem, we have designed Metamouse. Based on a novel location voting approach, Metamouse supports the sharing of existing single-player software using multiple mice. Metamouse defines the semantics of interaction primitives such as point-and-click and drag-and-drop in a manner that seeks to maximize user engagement and collaboration across all users. In this work we compare two different collaboration models for Metamouse. In one, all users are required to agree on a location before making progress. In another, only a majority must agree. We establish that although both models are superior to single-mouse sharing, the Majority model can achieve all of the benefits of consensus with significantly less user frustration. With these discoveries, Metamouse has the potential to impact education in the developing world dramatically by allowing for more equitable sharing of existing content and multiplying the learning benefits of educational software.
1School of Information