Research Projects


Eric Brewer, Kurtis Heimerl, Tapan Parikh1, Kurtis Heimerl and Kurtis Heimerl

Many children, especially in the developing world, must share a computer at school. Often, more advanced or aggressive students dominate, leaving others frustrated and disengaged. One promising approach is to provide each student with their own input device, usually a mouse, while sharing a common computer and display. Previous multiple mouse sharing efforts for education have relied on developing custom applications that encourage collaboration — for example, by requiring that all users click on an icon or option to proceed. Implementing this requires access to application source code, which is unlikely to be available, and would require significant engineering effort to adapt even if it was. To address these limitations, we developed Metamouse. Metamouse only conveys clicks to the application when users have already agreed on a screen location, within a pre-defined tolerance (a novel sharing technique that we call “location-voting”) and requires no access to the application source code. We have implemented two versions of locationvoting — one that requires all users to agree (“Consensus”), and another where only a majority is required (“Majority”). To evaluate Metamouse, we conducted a user study with 24 fifthgrade students in a low-income school in Bangalore, India. Our results demonstrate that Metamouse is intuitive, usable and has the potential to outperform other sharing strategies in terms of user engagement, generating discussion, and overall satisfaction. We also show that the Majority approach provides all of these benefits as effectively as Consensus with less frustration for faster users and less embarrassment for slower ones

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