Using a Serious Game with a Tangible Tabletop Interface to Promote Student Engagement in a First Grade Classroom: A Comparative Evaluation Study

Using a Serious Game with a Tangible Tabletop Interface to Promote Student Engagement in a First Grade Classroom: A Comparative Evaluation Study

Table of Contents


This study considers to what extent a tangible tabletop interface can enhance student engagement in a serious mathematics game compared to regular interaction with the same game in a classroom. The participants were eleven first grade students randomly assigned to three groups. Each group played the standard game in a classroom environment and then the same game again, this time implemented on an interactive tabletop. Task completion times for each student were measured via video recordings of the games. The results indicate that the time students spent on game tasks while using tangible tabletops were significantly higher than the times for the same tasks when playing the game in a classroom setting. However, the results vary somewhat depending on inter-individual differences. In addition, the data shows that student engagement is mostly asynchronous when playing the game on the interactive tabletop, but mostly synchronous when playing in the classroom. We relate these results to (1) tangible tabletop affordance for student engagement, (2) the need to link technology implementation with changes in classroom teaching practices, and (3) the opportunities that a tangible tabletop interface provides for engaging students in collaborative learning.


Serious Games, Interactive Tabletop, Tangible Interaction, Evaluation, Task Time, Elementary School, Comparative Study


Playing video games is a popular free-time activity among children and adolescents. Rideout et al. [32] reported that 60% of individuals aged 8-18 played video games regularly in 2009, compared to 52% in 2004, and 38% in 1998. Over the last 10 years, educational researchers have investigated the relationship between video games and school learning through the design, implementation, and evaluation of serious games [6]. Klopfer et al. [18] define a game as “a voluntary activity structured by rules, with a defined outcome (e.g., winning/losing) or other quantifiable feedback (e.g., points) that facilitates reliable comparisons of in-player performances”. Serious games can be viewed as games set in a digital world with the intended outcome of learning about an academic domain.

Over the years, Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research has contributed to the emergence of new technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and interactive tabletops. These technologies offer new ways for users to interact with a digital world (i.e. via “tactile”, “multi-touch”, or “tangible” interfaces). According to Ishii and Ulmer [15], tangible user interfaces “augment the real physical world by coupling digital information to everyday physical objects and environments” (p.236). The purpose of our study was to evaluate the extent to which a tangible tabletop interface can enhance student engagement with a serious game in mathematics compared to the regular practice of the same game in the classroom.


This research has presented three contributions. Firstly, it outlined a design process for implementing a serious game with a tangible tabletop interface. Secondly, it evaluated how a tangible tabletop interface can enhance student engagement. Thirdly, it offered empirical evidence that tangible tabletop interfaces foster student engagement and may be a useful tool for improving student learning through collaborative learning methods. More studies are needed on the process of designing serious games with tangible tabletop interfaces before we can propose a comprehensive set of design requirements. Furthermore, we plan to carry out more research on the classroom implementation of tangible tabletop interfaces that offer collaborative learning methods for promoting student learning.

About KSRA

The Kavian Scientific Research Association (KSRA) is a non-profit research organization to provide research / educational services in December 2013. The members of the community had formed a virtual group on the Viber social network. The core of the Kavian Scientific Association was formed with these members as founders. These individuals, led by Professor Siavosh Kaviani, decided to launch a scientific / research association with an emphasis on education.

KSRA research association, as a non-profit research firm, is committed to providing research services in the field of knowledge. The main beneficiaries of this association are public or private knowledge-based companies, students, researchers, researchers, professors, universities, and industrial and semi-industrial centers around the world.

Our main services Based on Education for all Spectrum people in the world. We want to make an integration between researches and educations. We believe education is the main right of Human beings. So our services should be concentrated on inclusive education.

The KSRA team partners with local under-served communities around the world to improve the access to and quality of knowledge based on education, amplify and augment learning programs where they exist, and create new opportunities for e-learning where traditional education systems are lacking or non-existent.

FULL Paper PDF file:

Using a Serious Game with a Tangible Tabletop Interface to Promote Student Engagement in a First Grade Classroom: A Comparative Evaluation Study



Sébastien Kubicki National School of Engineering European University of Brittany Brest, FRANCE
Denis Pasco Department of the Educational Sciences European University of Brittany Brest, FRANCE Email: denis.pasco [AT]
Ingrid Arnaud Department of Education District of Brest Brest, FRANCE




Using a Serious Game with a Tangible Tabletop Interface to Promote Student Engagement in a First Grade Classroom: A Comparative Evaluation Study

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International Journal of Computer and Information Technology (ISSN: 2279 – 0764) Volume 04

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Nasim Gazerani was born in 1983 in Arak. She holds a Master's degree in Software Engineering from UM University of Malaysia.

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Professor Siavosh Kaviani was born in 1961 in Tehran. He had a professorship. He holds a Ph.D. in Software Engineering from the QL University of Software Development Methodology and an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Chelsea.

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Somayeh Nosrati was born in 1982 in Tehran. She holds a Master's degree in artificial intelligence from Khatam University of Tehran.