SynergyNet at CSCL

Dr Emma Mercier will be in Madison in June, presenting research comparing interactions on multi-touch tables and paper:

Mercier, E., Higgins, S., & Vourloumi, G. (2012) Idea Development in Multi-touch and Paper-based Collaborative Problem Solving. In N. Rummel, M. Kapur, M. Nathan, & S, Puntambekar, S. (Eds.) To See the World and a Grain of Sand: Learning across Levels of Space, Time, and Scale: CSCL 2013 Conference Proceedings Volume 2, p 313-314.

Friday, July 5th, 2013 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet at CSCL

SynergyNet at AERA

Dr Emma Mercier will be at AERA in San Francisco at the end of April presenting some of our recent work:

Mercier, E. & Higgins, S. (2013, May) Time And Space: Analyzing Multiple Levels of Collaborative Learning Across Time.

Groves, H., Higgins, S. & Mercier, E. (2013, May) Developing Adaptive Expertise through Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet at AERA

New Publication

SynergyNet’s most recent publication – which was covered extensively in November’s media coverage – describes how within and between group collaboration, facilitated by the multi-touch classroom, can support mathematical flexibility.

Mercier, E.M. & Higgins, S. (2013) Collaborative Learning with Multi-Touch Technology: Developing Adaptive Expertise. Learning and Instruction, 25, 13-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.10.004


Developing fluency and flexibility in mathematics is a key goal of upper primary schooling, however, while fluency can be developed with practice, designing activities that support the development of flexibility is more difficult. Drawing on concepts of adaptive expertise, we developed a task for a multi-touch classroom, NumberNet, that aimed to support both fluency and flexibility. Results from a quasi-experimental study of 86 students (44 using NumberNet, 42 using a paper-based comparison activity) indicated that all students increased in fluency after completing these activities, while students who used NumberNet also increased in flexibility. Video analysis of the NumberNet groups indicate that the opportunity to collaborate, and learn from other groups’ expressions, may have supported this increase in flexibility. The final phase of the task suggests future possibilities for engaging students in mathematical discourse to further support the development of mathematical adaptive expertise.

Monday, February 4th, 2013 announcements Comments Off on New Publication

SynergyNet at ICCE

Dr Emma Mercier will be at the International Conference on Computers in Education in Singapore presenting a review of the project’s work:

Mercier, E., Higgins, S. & Burd, E. (2012) Tabletops in the Classroom: Reflections on a multi-year project.

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet at ICCE

SynergyNet at ITS

Dr Emma Mercier will be at the ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces in Cambridge Nov 11th to 14th presenting a review of the work we’ve been doing in the last few years:

Mercier, E., Higgins, S., Burd, E. & McNaughton, J. (2012)  ITS in the Classroom: Perspectives on Using a Multi-touch Classroom. To Appear in the Proceedings of the ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces Conference.

Friday, November 9th, 2012 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet at ITS

SynergyNet RA shortlisted for World Technology Award

Research Associate at Durham University shortlisted for prestigious World Technology Award

– Visionary work in focusing on the challenges of Classrooms of the Future

By Robert Hayes-McCoy

New York, NY – 17th October 2012, the World Technology Network announced today that Dr Emma Mercier, Research Associate at Durham University, has been nominated as a finalist for the prestigious World Technology Award in the Educational Category.

The WTA Awards are presented to recognise those individuals and organisation that have made a visionary contribution to Science and Technology. They are presented by the World Technology Network in association with TIME, Fortune, CNN, Technology Review and Science/AAAS.

The 2012 Awards ceremony takes place at the TIME & Life Building at the close of the 2-day World Technology Summit on Tuesday, October 23 2012.

A Research Associate in the SynergyNet Project at Durham University, which is funded jointly by the UK’s Economic and Social Science Research Council and the Engineering and Physics Research Council, Dr Mercier’s project relates to an investigation into the use of Multi-touch tables in classrooms.

Dr Mercier has spent many years researching the design of classroom environments, considering how technology can be used to augment, support extend or alter the interactions between groups of students, and between students and teacher, in such a way as to change how learning occurs.

She describes her current work at Durham University as very much focusing on the interaction between the 4-T’s: teachers, teams, tasks and technology.

Emerging technologies have the potential to become part of complex ecologies in classrooms, incorporating the technology that students use at home with those that are available to them in schools.

Through experimentation with emerging technologies, Mercier’s aim is on building an understanding of how best to design for the interaction of students, teachers and technology which will facilitate the development of classrooms that will engage children in lessons that prepare them for the future.

Speaking to this reporter she explains that in a world of fast changing and evolving technologies, ever increasing access to education using smarter, faster and new ways of connecting, interacting and communicating between just about every different group in society, it’s not unusual to walk into a classroom today and find that nothing has changed.

So many of today’s students are still learning the same content, in the same ways and using the same tools as they always have. What technology that is available generally remains in the computer labs and it used to replicate traditional learning activities and experiences rather than spearheading change in the educational process.

But technology itself can never bring about change, it’s the way that we interact with it that Dr Mercier is investigating with a view to creating new ways to teach and meet the requirements of the classrooms of the future.

“I am pleased that my research work has reached the final stages of the 2012 World Technology Awards process” says Mercier, “and I’ll be delighted if it wins a World Technology Award.

It’s a project that I am deeply committed to and it is wonderful to see that it has captured the attention and acclaim of such an esteemed organisation as the World Technology Network.’

Thursday, October 18th, 2012 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet RA shortlisted for World Technology Award

Classroom Data Collection

The SynergyNet team are in the midst of a classroom study – with two teachers with their classes each in the lab for 2 days each.

Here’s a few photos of what’s been going on.

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 announcements, hardware, media, networking, technology Comments Off on Classroom Data Collection

SynergyNet at AERA

Dr. Emma Mercier from the SynergyNet team will be in Vancouver, presenting our recent work:

Higgins, S., Mercier, E.M. & Burd, E. (2012, April) Collaborative Learning in a Multi-touch Classroom. In E. Mercier (chair) A Framework to Understand the Impact of Technology on Collaborative Learning. Symposium at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada.

Mercier, E.M. & Higgins, S. (2012, April) The Impact of Classroom Configuration on Collaborative Learning. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Vancouver, Canada.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 announcements Comments Off on SynergyNet at AERA

SynergyNet 3 Update

The process for developing with SynergyNet 3 has been drastically simplified making it easier for developers to build new projects using the framework.  This video highlights the most recent features added to SynergyNet 3 which developers can make use of.  More information on these new features can be found in this article.

If you’re interested in developing with any other version of SynergyNet (or  SynergyView) read this article.

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 announcements, software Comments Off on SynergyNet 3 Update

SynergyNet and SynergyView Presentation

Steve Higgins and Emma Mercier gave an impromptu presentation on the SynergyNet project and SynergyView Analysis software during a recent Oxford e-Research meeting about multi-touch technology.  A description of the analysis tool is in the third part of the video.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 announcements, software Comments Off on SynergyNet and SynergyView Presentation


  • SynergyNet on GitHub
  • SynergyNet on Youtube
  • SynergyView on GitHub