'Touch the screen': Linking touch-based educational technology with learning – A synthesis of current research
Touch-based educational technology, that is, the use of tablet technology for learning, is perceived as intuitive to use but poses an important question about the efficacy of using finger-based gestures to support learning. Insights from the theoretical perspectives of cognitive load theory and embodied cognition purport that gestures make minimal demands on our cognitive resources, as we have evolved to acquire these movement skills, and that body movement and mind are intertwined. This chapter explores this premise by firstly presenting background research that has identified the close connection between the use of hand movements and cognition. The findings from a systematic literature review that focused on research about how finger-based gesture use on a touch screen influences learning is then presented. Only nine empirical studies were identified from this systematic review. The critique from these nine studies found that finger-gesture use on a touch screen has the potential to support learning when it is closely aligned with what is being learnt. Educational implications based on this finding are presented and the chapter concludes with suggestions for future research.