The standard PC was designed to be used by one person at a time. In the developing world, however, shared use of computers can make computing more economically feasible. Our project looks at low-income, primary school computer classrooms in India, where due to limited resources it is common for 3-10 children to gather around one PC and vie for control of a single mouse.
Research has shown there are problems with this type of sharing. Frequently, one dominant student controls the mouse most of the time, while the others only look on. Previous researchers have developed a novel solution to this problem: redesign educational software to accept input from multiple mice simultaneously. Early evaluations of this technology in Indian classrooms found that it increased children's engagement and helped with retention of educational content.
The early implementations of this idea, however, still had the group of users working on a single task at a time and continued to be vulnerable to domination by a single user. The goal of our project was to expand upon the previous work by developing a multiple-mouse game that gives players more equal opportunity to make their own decisions and get individualized feedback, while also encouraging collaboration amongst the players. We designed and developed an English-language learning video game that uses techniques such as splitting the screen and turn taking to facilitate these behaviors. We then visited schools in and around Bangalore, India and tested variations of the game with over 100 children aged 10 to 13.