an island with different mathematical objects that students can play with, such as topological objects, curves as roller coasters, linear algebra with manipulable vectors, or developed cube to assemble

During my doctoral project, I am studying the role of concreteness in learning of abstract concepts of Mathematics. In particular, I look into embodied cognition and explore how embodied interaction can support intuition-building and sense-making. I focus mainly on Analysis, Graph Theory, and Linear Algebra. I aim at identifying overarching Human Computer Interaction principles to guide the creation of Virtual Reality tools for mathematics education.

The picture shows two cells, one labeled 'Learning Sciences' and one labeled 'Computer Science'. The cells merge into one other cell labeled 'Interdisciplinary'. The Learning Sciences cell contains a text: 'Embodied Cognition, Through which mechanisms can embodiment support learning of abstract mathematics topics?'. The Computer Science cell contains 'Embodied Interaction, How does interaction design in virtual reality relates to the sense of embodiment?'. The interdisciplinary cell contains a question 'How to design embodied interaction to support learning of abstract mathematics concepts in virtual reality?' and a list of three topics: analysis, graph theory, and linear algebra.


Project page on the Future Learning Initiative website. (link)

Math Land is inspired by: Papert, S. A. (1990). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. Basic books.

Embodied Interaction deep-dive: DigiGlo. (link)

Designing embodied interactions to grasp derivatives. (link)

Grounding graph theory in embodied concreteness. (link)

Project Publications

Chatain, Julia, Rudolf Varga, Violaine Fayolle, Manu Kapur, Robert W. Sumner. "Grounding Graph Theory in Embodied Concreteness with Virtual Reality". In TEI '23: Proceedings of the Seventeenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction. (2023). (link) (pdf)

Chatain, Julia, Virginia Ramp, Venera Gashaj, Violaine Fayolle, Manu Kapur, Robert W. Sumner, Stéphane Magnenat. "Grasping Derivatives: Teaching Mathematics through Embodied Interactions using Tablets and Virtual Reality". In Interaction Design and Children (IDC’22). (2022). (link) (pdf)

Sansonetti, L., Chatain, J., Caldeira, P., Fayolle, V., Kapur, M., & Sumner, R. W. (2021). Mathematics Input for Educational Applications in Virtual Reality. In ICAT-EGVE 2021-International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence and Eurographics Symposium on Virtual Environments. Eurographics Association. (link) (pdf)

Chatain, Julia, Danielle M. Sisserman, Lea Reichardt, Violaine Fayolle, Manu Kapur, Robert W. Sumner, Fabio Zünd, Amit H. Bermano. 2020. DigiGlo: Exploring the Palm as an Input and Display Mechanism through Digital Gloves. In Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’20), November 2–4, 2020, Virtual Event, Canada. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 12 pages. (link) (pdf)