Language Learning in the Wild

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Education Communication & Languages Sci

Abstract

The aim of the project is to produce a digital kitchen that speaks to the user in French, (or other language) and gives instructions on how to prepare a French dish. Sensors are attached to all equipment so that each time an item is correctly or incorrectly moved, participants can be given appropriate verbal feedback and further instructions.This project adapts the technology of our existing Ambient Kitchen for communication with people with dementia and adapts it to the field of language learning. Participants are equipped with a headset and microphone and can request a repetition or a translation of what the kitchen is saying to them. A situated language learning session will take students through the cooking instructions step-by-step, as is receives evidence from the sensors that the participants have carried out the stages of the task. In addition to verbal instructions and feedback, these are provided in writing on a large font digital display with translation facility. Prior to the task, a video is shown of the food being prepared, together with audio and text in the foreign language. Assessment of task completion will be both continuous, using the kitchen's sensors to detect and evaluate appropriate activity, and post-test, through an analysis of acquired vocabulary and structures. Once designed, the kitchen will be trialled in an authentic training setting, namely in one of Newcastle College's large training kitchens. Students from both the Catering and French departments will use the kitchens to develop their linguistic and culinary skills. The design of the kitchen and related software will develop through user input and result in a fully trialled kitchen, which will be installed in the National Centre for Languages (CILT) in London, the Government's recognised centre of expertise on foreign language learning. CILT's role will be as the primary dissemination and exploitation partner and their staff will demonstrate the kitchen to visitors. The pedagogical design of this study employs Task Based Language Teaching (TBLT), a well-established approach to language learning which prompts learners to achieve a goal or complete a task. Much like real-world tasks, such as asking for directions, TBLT seeks to develop students' language through providing a task and then using language to solve it. This project provides an opportunity for language learning to be combined with the completion of a motivating real-world task in an authentic setting (college catering kitchens) using the latest technology. It therefore offers the opportunity of taking the excellent research-based pedagogical principles and procedures developed by TBLT over the years out of the classroom and into use in real-world applications.In terms of the broader social context, the pedagogical design of the situated language learning system is intended to create a transferable, interdisciplinary model of task-based, situated learning which can be applied to many different technological settings and many different skill and knowledge sets. A significant challenge for the UK is how to employ the available digital technology to upgrade the skills of its workforce in a rapidly changing world. A specific challenge is how to improve the declining foreign language proficiency of the British workforce. The number of pupils gaining a GCSE in a foreign language has decreased significantly, whilst a recent British Academy report discussed concerns that the future of the UK's world-class research base might be threatened by the decline in modern language learning. The language learning and spoken interaction aspects of the project will be led by Prof Paul Seedhouse and the technological aspect will be handled by Prof Patrick Olivier, who developed the existing Ambient Kitchen for communication with people with dementia.

Planned Impact

There are a number of groups who will benefit on an economic level from this research: (1) The research will contribute to the economic competitiveness of UK business as a whole. The report 'Effects on the European Economy of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise', issued by the European Commission in December 2006, provided a detailed picture of situation in all the countries of the European Union. The report demonstrated that SMEs with a language strategy and those that invest in staff with language skills achieve 44% more export sales than those which do not. The CBI Education and Skills Survey 2009 shows that UK firms place a premium on staff who can communicate in a foreign language and who show an understanding of different cultures and business environments. Indeed the CBI has identified improving language skills to be a crucial component of the UK's strategy to penetrate new markets. (2) Within the commercial private sector, the research will provide a model for applying technology to language learning which has the potential to take task-based language learning out of the classroom and into people's homes and workplaces and public spaces. Education material developers and technology providers such as SANS and SANAKO develop products in the area of multimedia technology and language learning. Furthermore, through our collaboration with Philips Research (Eindhoven) in the development of the Ambient Kitchen we hope to develop a number of simple, readily deployable sensor modules, based on which language learning material developers can develop materials and a curriculum with quantifiable benefits. Our principal route to impact in this sector will be through the activities of our dissemination partner CILT. The high profile of CILT in the language learning industry will provide us with direct access to both education material developers and technology providers such as SANS and SANAKO. (3) Beneficiaries in the field of language teaching in the public sector in the UK include schools and Further Education colleges who may wish to employ the technology or an adaptation of it. Clearly the kitchen will be very suitable for FE catering departments. To ensure that beneficiaries have the opportunity to benefit from this research, we aim to carry out the following plan of dissemination: our key partner in this area is CILT. (4) National Centre for Languages (CILT) is the Government's recognised centre of expertise on foreign language learning. Their mission is to promote a greater capability in languages amongst all sectors of the UK population. Their role will be as the primary dissemination and exploitation partner, hosting a national dissemination event and an installation in CILT (London) that can be supported for the duration of the Research Hub (until September 2014). We will train staff in CILT in the use of the digital kitchen so that they can demonstrate this to visitors and their website will link to ours. A major national dissemination event will be held in CILT, with a demonstration of their installed kitchen. (5) We will also conduct a regional dissemination event in Newcastle University aimed at the language teaching community, again with a demonstration of our installed kitchen. (6) We will develop a website which explains the principles and technology on which the digital kitchen is based. A digital video demonstrating use of the kitchen and evidence of learning will be posted on the site. (7) Seedhouse will write a practical article on the project for the journals Language Learning Journal and Applied Linguistics and deliver papers at the Language World and BAAL conferences. We also anticipate a high impact article for the pervasive computing community documenting the successful deployment of such technology for real world learning.

Publications

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Paul Seedhouse (Speaker) (2012) Digital kitchen live video link

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Paul Seedhouse (Speaker) (2011) Learning French in a Digital Kitchen

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Seedhouse P (2016) Applying Digital Sensor Technology: A Problem-Solving Approach in Applied Linguistics

 
Description Our project set out to investigate the extent to which situated language learning can be supported by digital technology. This involved taking a normal kitchen and specifically adapting it for French language learning using activity recognition and sensor technology. We constructed a purpose-built kitchen that communicates with learners in French and gives them step-by-step instructions on how to prepare French cuisine and teaches aspects of French language. The aim of our project was twofold. First we wanted to find out what kinds of learning processes occur when there is dual focus on cooking and French and second, we wanted to evaluate the French Digital Kitchen as a learning tool, with the ultimate aim of improving it. In the French Digital Kitchen, this technology was developed so that the kitchen speaks to the learners in French, providing step-by-step cooking instructions in relation to learners' completion of the cooking steps. It can also detect what the learners are (or are not) doing and this information is used by the kitchen programme to provide feedback such as a reminder or more details about a certain cooking action in French. Embedded or hidden digital sensors were developed and inserted in or attached to all the equipment (for example, a peeler, a mixing bowl, a whisk or even the oven door) and ingredients (for example, a bag of flour, sugar or a tub of butter). The sensors use a technology similar to the Nintendo Wii™. The sensors hidden in the knife for example were designed to detect whether a 'chopping' action' or a 'scraping' motion is being made and provide appropriate feedback. Learners are also able to communicate with the kitchen, using an interactive screen where they can request audio and textual help along the way in the form of repetitions, translations and the ability to move back and forward between the cooking instructions. Our findings have shown that this is an effective pervasive language learning environment when coupled with a task-based learning approach: Learners used French and engaged in specific types of learning processes to complete the cooking task. These processes involved a focus on attention to new language and applying existing language knowledge. They demonstrate the kinds of learning behaviours which are central to key concepts, processes and curriculum opportunities promoted in classroom learning for French. They show how a 'real-world' task-based learning environment is able to foster and develop learners' knowledge, creativity, strategies and skills outside the French classroom. Importantly, this is made possible in the French Digital Kitchen by providing an autonomous context for learning which is supported by user-centered technology through the use of the interactive screen and the provision of timely cooking instructions. We have been able to develop a model of Task-Based Learning that will inform the creations of further materials and trials in order to arrive at accessible resources for teaching cooking and languages using digital technology. In 2018 we released an app 'Linguacuisine' available on https://linguacuisine.com
Exploitation Route There is a lot of potential use of the materials we have produced during the research in non-academic contexts. The materials were aimed to be used in a wide range of non-academic learning settings such as for schools and in adult, higher and vocational education. The project's importnace for language learning was recognised by the award of the 2012 European Language Label for Innovation in Language Teaching and Learning by the European Union http://www.cilt.org.uk/home/valuing_languages/european_language_label_2012/winning_projects/2012.aspx The research will be put to use through the creation of multilingual materials for use with 'portable kitchens'. The portable kitchens have been made possible through the cross-disciplinary work of the project. These multilingual materials are now being created through a further 3 year EU funded project www.europeandigitalkitchen.com. We are trialling a further design for the materials by carrying out further research with a view to then making these revised materials commercially available. There are many users now on https://linguacuisine.com
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education

URL https://linguacuisine.com
 
Description On 14th September 2011 an event was held for those involved in language teaching and learning in the North-East. Most attendees were language teachers from secondary and primary education which included specialist, independent and state schools. There were also representatives from local organisations such as Routes into Languages, whose role it is to support and promote language learning in schools and colleges, and language advisors from the Local Education Authorities. At the event following presentations, demonstrations and 'hands-on' kitchen sessions, a number of teachers expressed an interest in hosting one of the kitchens and having school visits to the kitchen at the University. We are currently following up with these teachers and looking to work with the Network for Languages based at Newcastle University to move forward with these activities. For the leaflet see: http://digitalinstitute.ncl.ac.uk/sites/default/files/u15/P58841_Uni_Education_Leaflet1.pdf. The French Digital Kitchen project has attracted considerable domestic and international press attention (http://digitalinstitute.ncl.ac.uk/ilablearn/kitchen/press). In an interview with The Observer Seedhouse explains the rationale, innovative use of technology and learning strategies behind the kitchen. This impacts upon public discourse by extending the quality of argument towards an effective task-based approach to language (and cuisine) learning. This, in turn, impacts upon the public's understanding of the major issue of language learning in schools. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/dec/04/digital-language-kitchen-paul-seedhouse?INTCMP=SRCH) The French Digital Kitchen won an EU Language Label prize for 2012. The award recognises good language education initiatives and spreads good practice across Europe. This year the judges looked specifically for innovation and sustainability aspects that went beyond merely demonstrating good practice. The panel were particularly interested in the French Digital Kitchen's engagement work and its commitment to the societal impact of the materials development which continues to take place beyond the funding period. (http://digitalinstitute.ncl.ac.uk/ilablearn/kitchen/newsandevents) The Linguacuisine app is now widely used on https://linguacuisine.com
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description EU Lifelong Learning Programme
Amount £332,318 (GBP)
Funding ID 519076-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-KA2-KA2MP 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 11/2011 
End 12/2014
 
Description EU Lifelong Learning Programme
Amount £332,318 (GBP)
Funding ID 519076-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-KA2-KA2MP 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 09/2011 
End 10/2014
 
Description European Union Erasmus Plus
Amount € 324,000 (EUR)
Funding ID 2016-1-UK01-KA204-024254 
Organisation Erasmus + 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2016 
End 11/2019
 
Description National Centre for Languages (CILT) Partnership 
Organisation National Centre for Languages (CILT)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Collaboration with CILT as advisers on the project work. CILT was previously meant to be our dissemination partner however a specific problem arose when the National Centre for Languages disbanded in the summer of 2011 due to government funding cuts . This meant that we had to re-arrange our dissemination plans. Fortunately, we worked with the French Institute in London to arrange the new venue for our national event and devoted additional in-house resources to carry out our own planning. CILT assisted us with the publicity of the project for our national event, particularly from the point of view of engaging with commercial language learning providers and specialist language learning technology developers. A representative also attended our national event.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Newcastle College Partnership 
Organisation Newcastle College
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Further Education College was a key site in terms of implementation of the technology in a training setting and for the piloting of the early design work for the project. Staff and students took part in cooking sessions and we worked alongside key staff in the college to integrate this work into existing curriculum work. The college will receive a ?portable? version of the kitchen for use and development within their institution.
Start Year 2010
 
Description School Collaboration 
Organisation George Stephenson High School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Collaboration with local school in Newcastle to trial materials and gain advisory feedback from practitioners. Staff and students at this school have taken part in end-user engagement activities for the project and offered advice and feedback on the implementation of the kitchen for school-level use.
Start Year 2011
 
Title iLab:Learn 
Description The EPSRC project was key to the specific establishment of a research community within our institution to develop educational technology research. iLab:Learn is a joint venture between the Schools of Education, Communication and Language Sciences and Computing Science. Funding has been provided from both the Faculty and the School levels. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact A digital kitchen was constructed in ilab:learn. 
 
Description BBC Look North 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A Journalist from BBC Look North, Peter Harris, made a French dish in the Kitchen. The clip was shown at 1.30, 6.30 and 10.30 on BBC Look North.
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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description BBC Online 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An BBC online article about the kitchen and the project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description BBC Radio Scotland 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Paul Seedhouse interviewed national radio in Scotland segment from 13:30- 22:00 on a regular program entitled MacAuley and Co . Also included interview with professional chef talking about his stay in France and learning French in a professional kitchen when he was training to be a chef.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Correio Brazilience 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A full page article in a Brazilian national newspaper devoted to the project including an interview with the principal investigator, Paul Seedhouse.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Dissemination Film 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of our dissemination strategy, we made a film about the project aimed at a non-technical audience.

Copies of this film were distributed to range of participants at events and on request. The film was also placed on YouTube and has had over 1000 views to date (http://youtu.be/bt7WYG4r99E).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description EPSRC Impact Case-Study 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project was selected by EPSRC for an impact case study. This not only allowed us to feed back to the EPSRC on our work but we also benefited from the expertise of the EPSRC press office (Jane Reck). Following this study, we were able to gain valuable media representation by virtue of the press release and audio slideshow she produced, and we were also able to enhance our engagement plan with the public and specific end-users.

The project was chosen to be the subject of an EPSRC case-study. Part of this included the production of press-release by Jane Reck, a press officer at the EPSRC and the making of an audio slideshow.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://youtu.be/cOAYmuJ65h8
 
Description The Naked Scientists 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The French Digital Kitchen featured on the BBC Radio 5 live series 'The Naked Scientists' in a programme called 'Carving and Microgravity': The new Christmas must have gadget - a kitchen that teaches you to cook and carve correctly... and in French. And a question answered about microgravity'
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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description The Observer: My Bright Idea 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A journalist from The Observer, recently interviewed project leader Paul Seedhouse about the French Digital Kitchen. It featured in the My Bright Idea technology section of the sunday broadsheet.
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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Voice of America Special English Report 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Voice of America's Special English programmes are specifically designed for people whose native language is not English. The programmes are available as what you might call 'talking webpages' and communicate news stories from around the world in clear and simple English. Project leader Prof Paul Seedhouse features in the audio broadcast and was interviewed by journalist June Simms over Skype.
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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A website specifically designed to be accessible to non-technical and technical users, we have disseminated through a range of methods to make our materials available to users to share and develop knowledge.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010