Spoiled by multi-touch

Jan 16, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

I was sitting in a training session for use on Interactive whiteboards the other day and the trainer wanted to zoom in on something that was on the screen. Out of the small audience of seasonsed NSW teacher educators came the suggestion “why don’t you use two hands to zoom? try that”.

In the age of the iphone, ipad, android and other multitouch devices, I found this reaction to be quite amazing. I didn’t realize how much gesture based interactions with our devices had permeated our society. So much so that a technology that has been around for years, and which *I* knew didn’t posess multitouch capability, was automatically assumed to do so.

I remember the first time I used a SMARTboard. It was probably quite late in the game compared to others, but this was 1997, and naturally the first thing I did once I got the hardware working, was to open Google Earth. The multitouch tech demos we were seeing at the time always highlighted this use and I while I knew the smart board wasn’t capable of it, I found myself trying anyway, though a little too early.

Now with multitouch becoming the new way in which we interact with our screens, to assume that it *is* the standard is very promising, and leads me to question how many children in classrooms around the world are assuming the same thing about the interactive whiteboards they use. Innately children and other younger adult learners want to interact with the hardware in order to explore the content and using both hands is as innate to us as eating or breathing, so it seems like the natural next step that all future interactive whiteboards and large screens will include multitouch technology. It’s use in the classroom is already expected, its just a matter of time until single touch boards start to be replaced.

As capacitive touch screens are getting larger and larger, its not hard to imagine a world akin to science fiction shows I used to watch when I was a kid, with people using their hands, not peripherals to interact with digital content.


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