Conceptualising tangibles to support learning

Paul Marshall, Sara Price, Yvonne Rogers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

71 Citations (Scopus)


We present a new way of conceptualising tangibles for learning. This scheme adopts Heidegger's analysis of the ways a user can treat a tool: either as 'ready-to-hand' or 'present-at-hand'. It also proposes two types of activity a learner can engage in when using a tangible: either exploratory or expressive activity. Finally, two types of models that a user can explore are proposed: theoretical and practical models. Examples from the literature are described in terms of this framework and an example is given from our own work of an attempt to use this conceptualisation in design.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2003 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2003
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)158113732X, 9781581137323
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003
Event2003 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2003 - Preston, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jul 20033 Jul 2003


Conference2003 Conference on Interaction Design and Children, IDC 2003
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Conceptualisation
  • Embodied interaction
  • External cognition
  • Learning
  • Tangible

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