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Embodied and Immersive Technologies (EmIT) Group

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The GRASP Project (GestuRe Augmented Simulations for enhancing exPlanations) is an NSF-funded investigation into the ways that students’ body movements (e.g., gestures) help them to reason about critical science concepts (e.g., heat transfer, the causes of seasons). For this project, we conducted numerous interviews with middle school students to examine how they communicate their science ideas through gestures, and we integrated those gestures into the interfaces of multiple science learning computer simulations. These simulations, developed by our collaborators at the Concord Consortium, allow students to use gestures to control the causal mechanisms behind the science phenomena they are trying to understand, such as using their hands to represent the behavior of molecules. The goal of the GRASP project is to understand how these gesture-augmented simulations are used to develop student explanations, both by individual students and small groups in science classrooms.


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Mathayas, N., Brown, D. E., & Lindgren, R. (2021). “I got to see, and I got to be a part of it”: How cued gesturing facilitates middle‐school students' explanatory modeling of thermal conduction [pdf]. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 58(10), 1557-1589.

Mathayas, N., Brown, D. E., Wallon, R. C., & Lindgren, R. (2019). Representational gesturing as an epistemic tool for the development of mechanistic explanatory models [pdf]. Science Education, 103(4), 1047-1079.

Lindgren, R. & Price, S. (2018). Embodiment and technology enhanced learning environments: Cultivating a new community of design research [pdf]. In J. Leigh (Ed.), Conversations on embodiment across higher education: Practice, teaching, and research (pp. 173-191). Routledge.

Lindgren, R., & Brown, D. E. (2018). Embodied explanatory control: Simulations that prompt users to enact causal mechanisms. Symposium paper in Moving forward: In search of synergy across diverse views on the role of physical movement in design for STEM education [pdf] in the Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2018) (pp. 1246-1247). London, UK.

Wallon, R. C., & Lindgren, R. (2017). Considerations for the design of gesture-augmented learning environments. In M. J. Spector, B. B. Lockee, & M. D. Childress (Eds.), Learning, design, and technology: An international compendium of theory, research, practice and policy (pp. 1-21). Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Lindgren, R., Wallon, R. C., Brown, D. E., Mathayas, N., & Kimball, N.  (2016). “Show me” what you mean: Learning and design implications of eliciting gesture in student explanations [pdf]. In C.-K. Looi, J. Polman, U. Cress, & P. Reimann (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2016) (pp. 1014-1017). Singapore: National Institute of Education.