Proceedings: GI 2015

TandemTable: supporting conversations and language learning using a multi-touch digital table

Erik Paluka , Christopher Collins

Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 3 - 5 June 2015, 139-146

DOI 10.20380/GI2015.18

  • Bibtex

    author = {Paluka, Erik and Collins, Christopher},
    title = {TandemTable: supporting conversations and language learning using a multi-touch digital table},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2015},
    series = {GI 2015},
    year = {2015},
    issn = {0713-5424},
    isbn = {978-1-4822-6003-8},
    location = {Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada},
    pages = {139--146},
    numpages = {8},
    doi = {10.20380/GI2015.18},
    publisher = {Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society},
    address = {Toronto, Ontario, Canada},


We present TandemTable, a multi-touch tabletop system designed to break down communication barriers between partners, with a special focus on supporting those who are learning languages. The design was guided by a grounding study of a real-world tandem language learning (TLL) environment and refined with an exploratory study of an early prototype. TandemTable facilitates and supports conversations by suggesting topics of discussion and presenting partners with a variety of conversation-focused collaborative activities, which consist of shared digital topical content that is dynamically downloaded from the web. Through a formal study comparing TandemTable to the baseline TLL condition of no support, our system was shown to increase communication between learning partners, reduce social discomfort, and was the preferred way of engaging in TLL.