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Kitchen as Classroom: Shifting perspectives in the design and evaluation of new technologies for learning

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Anne Preston, Professor Paul SeedhouseORCiD, Dr Madeline Balaam, Dr Ashur Rafiev, Dan Jackson, Professor Patrick OlivierORCiD


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It is now commonly accepted that new technologies for networked learning via the internet offer rich opportunities for educational practice. Amongst others, such learning environments allow teachers to promote dialogic learning, collaboration and autonomous learning processes in novel ways. However, despite these positive benefits, questions concerning the extent to which the use and repurposing of existing technologies really offer enhanced learning still remain. It has been argued for example, that in order for new technologies to lead to impact on pedagogic practice, the learning interactions with and mediated by the technology must go beyond "e hancements of existing models of learning" (Mayes & Freitas, 2007). This paper reports on the design and evaluation of a new technology for language learning which moves learning beyond the traditional confines of networked learning to the standalone everyday environment of a kitchen. It critically engages with the potential to change pedagogic practices where this technology plays a central role as a means rather than an ends to flexible, personalised and student-centred enhanced learning. In doing so, it charts an interdisciplinary approach, involving computer scientists and teachers, in the development of a dedicated technology for language learning and cooking: The European Kitchen (EK). The EK is designed for language learners to cook dishes linked to European cultures and countries. It uses wireless digital sensors which are integrated into the handles of cooking utensils, incorporated into containers that hold ingredients, and directly attached to kitchen appliances. This augmented set up provides the learning environment with sensing capabilities that allows for the tracking of learners' progress in a cooking task and provide situated and language-related feedback in a real-world context for authentic language use. This system is designed to lead pairs of learners step by step through the practical activity of the preparation of a dish linked to the chosen target-language culture. The approach which is described in this paper presents the findings from an iterative cycle of development from a technology-driven to integrated model of pedagogy and technology and highlights the importance of the relationship between learning theory, interaction design and user experience in the design and evaluation of this new technology. The potential for change in pedagogic practice embedded in this approach is understood from the perspective Bernstein's concept framing and more specifically through the changes in the relationship between who controls what in how the technology is conceptualised, designed, evaluated and subsequently re-designed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Preston A, Seedhouse P, Balaam M, Rafiev A, Jackson D, Olivier P

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2014

Year of Conference: 2014