DEDOS: An authoring toolkit to create educational multimedia activities for multiple devices

David Roldán-Alvarez, Estefanía Martín, Pablo A. Haya, Manuel García-Herranz, María  Rodríguez-González.

IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 11(4), 493-505. ISSN: 1939-1382. IEEE. DOI: 10.1109/TLT.2017.2788867 JCR 2018:  (2,315 – 50/106 Computer Science, Interdisciplinary Applications – Q2; 46/243 Education & Educational Research – Q1)


Information and Communication Technologies offer new possibilities for teachers to enhance their teaching methods. The increasing use of personal computers, tablets, interactive whiteboards or even multitouch tabletops in the classrooms seems to attract the interest of the students. However, there are not many tools that allow teachers to create multimedia activities for all these technologies in an effortless way. Most of current authoring tools either focus on creating content for only one device or they do not fully exploit the benefits of rich content for designing engaging educational activities. In this paper we present an authoring toolkit composed by two applications: DEDOS-Editor, which allow teachers to design their own learning activities, and DEDOS-Web, which allows the students to perform those activities adapting them to multiple devices. To test both tools, we have performed two evaluations. One with teachers to test the authoring tools and a second one with primary school students to test if the activities designed with this tool enhance their learning process. Results show that DEDOS-Editor is an easy to learn authoring tool which helps teachers to complement their learning methods while DEDOS-Web is flexible enough to create several learning scenarios from just one set of activities, factors which lead to achieving positive learning outcomes.





Impact of using interactive devices in Spanish early childhood education public schools

Estefanía Martín, David Roldán‐Alvarez, Pablo A. Haya, Cristina Fernández‐Gaullés, Cristian Guzmán, Hermelinda Quintanar

J Comput Assist Learn. (2019) 35(1), 1-12. ISSN: 1365-2729 (JCR IF:2.451,  (2018) Q1 41/243 Education & Educational Research)


The adoption of Information and Communication Technologies in early childhood education is crucial for adapting traditional classrooms to the digital era. Over time, young children are increasingly using touch screen technologies such as tablets at home and in early childhood settings. However, the literature shows that there is a significant gap in knowledge of using this technology in early childhood education. Most researchers have focused on the pedagogical theory behind using touch screen devices, but there have not been many empirical studies about how these technologies affect students’ learning processes. This paper presents three learning experiences where early childhood students perform educational activities using tablet computers, interactive whiteboards, and paper cards. The results show that students who used the technology were more motivated and achieved better results that those who used paper cards.

What is already known about this topic:

  • The use of ICT in childhood education offers new possibilities for teachers to provide new and more visual digital learning content to their students.
  • Touch technologies seem suitable for young students. Because their motor skills are not fully developed yet, interacting with computers through a mouse and a keyboard is more difficult than doing it through natural gestures.
  • There are many studies in higher education levels that demonstrate that proper use of ICT in education can lead to an increase of the students’ motivation and learning.

What this paper adds:

  • Three empirical studies in three different childhood education classrooms to shed some light about how ICT can impact positively students learning.
  • A comparison of interactive whiteboards and tablet computers benefits regarding more traditional methodologies in childhood education.
  • Insights about how hardware and software can be combined to provide students a suitable learning environment in childhood education classrooms.

Implications for practice and/or policy:

  • Teachers should consider how they will create the workgroups. It is highly advisable to create heterogeneous groups taking into account the students’ skills. This way, members of the same group can help each other, creating a richer learning scenario.
  • Several teachers who participated in our studies said that they were not able to use ICT in their classrooms because they did not have enough digital competences. Our studies and the results obtained led them consider integrating technology in their classrooms. The good results obtained by the students who worked with technology changed the teachers’ perspective about the use of technology in the classroom.
  • Students showed a great interest in the use of tablet computers and interactive whiteboards, which translated into higher motivation compared with the students who solved the activities on paper.

Mind the gap: Impact on learnability of user interface design of authoring tools for teachers


David Roldán-Álvarez, Estefanía Martín, Manuel García-Herranz, Pablo A. Haya

International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.  4 Jun 2016, pp. 18-34, doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2016.04.011 [download] (JCR, IF 2016: 2.863, Q1 5/22 Computer science, cybernetics)

  • We study the learnability of educational authoring tools for preventing teachers’ rejection or abandonment.
  • We evaluate two interaction paradigms of authoring educational tools: menu-based versus direct-manipulation.
  • The interaction paradigm of the authoring tool has an important impact on the tool’s learning curve’s entry point.
  • A consistent interaction metaphor allows teachers creating educational activities smooth and fast.


Few teachers include information and communication technology in the classroom, despite their potential for increasing attention and motivation for students. Educational authoring tools are intended to turn teachers into designers and deliverers of technology-enhanced educational content, and increasing the adoption of these tools is a key element for speeding up this transformation. This paper emphasizes the importance of learnability for preventing rejection or abandonment by of such an authoring tool, and how acceptance is deeply affected by the interaction paradigm and the creation metaphor used in the tool. We present an analysis comparing two design paradigms: the widespread menu-based and choice-guided interaction paradigm versus a consistent metaphor with direct manipulation. The latter was implemented in DEDOS-Editor, a novel authoring tool that allows the creation of diverse educational activities that can be performed on different devices, such as PCs, digital blackboards, tablets, and multitouch surfaces. An experimental study shows the tremendous impact that interface choices have on the tool’s learning curve. The results provide the first mapping of the choice of a direct-manipulation interface and its effect on the learning curve’s entry point, as well as a consistent interaction metaphor with smoother and fast-growing learning curves. This allows users to complete more tasks and gain more knowledge through experience, in contrast to menu-based interfaces. The initial use of the tool is thus made easier for users with no experience or information about the tool, and the advantages of experience and expertise in facing new challenges are facilitating. This work also highlights the appropriateness of learning curves as a tool for measuring learnability.