A next gen interface for embodied learning: Smallab and the geological layer cake

David Birchfield, Mina Johnson-Glenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Emerging research from the learning sciences and human-computer interaction supports the premise that learning is effective when it is embodied, collaborative, and multimodal. In response, we have developed a mixed-reality environment called the Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Laboratory (SMALLab). SMALLab enables multiple students to interact with one another and digitally mediated elements via 3D movements and gestures in real physical space. It uses 3D object tracking, real time graphics, and surround-sound to enhance learning. We present two studies from the earth science domain that address questions regarding the feasibility and efficacy of SMALLab in a classroom context. We present data demonstrating that students learn more during a recent SMALLab intervention compared to regular classroom instruction. We contend that well-designed, mixed-reality environments have much to offer STEM learners, and that the learning gains transcend those that can be expected from more traditional classroom procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010


  • Collaboration
  • Earth science
  • Embodiment
  • Games
  • Geology
  • Learning environments
  • Mixed-reality
  • Multimodal
  • STEM
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications


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