'Out There and In Here': Social Inclusion through Distributed Team Collaboration

Lead Research Organisation: Open University
Department Name: Institute of Educational Technology

Abstract

Rather than students in isolation bound to their disabilities, classrooms, PCs or mobile devices the goal of this project is to develop technologies that support people working together in a suitable manner for their locations. One of the benefits of mobile technologies is to combine 'the digital' (e.g., data, information, photos) with user experiences in novel ways that are contextualized by peoples current physical activities. However, people with mobility disabilities are often excluded from engaging in such peripatetic user experiences. Watching the world go by on a TV or computer screen may be engaging but it doesn't support a student's interaction with the physical world. Our proposal bridges this gap by developing hybrid 'social inclusion' systems supporting co-active participation between mixed teams of physically able and disabled users, enabling experiences of both being in the field and at a stationary base. To this end, mobile and tabletop technologies will be linked to support synchronous distributed team collaboration. A prototype system will be developed and evaluated in situ to demonstrate the benefits of technology-interlinked with socially interdependent experiences. As an analogy, consider the 1980s TV series 'Treasure Hunt' where teams of 2-3 people, based in a library accessing various resources, have to find a location where treasure is buried through solving various clues. They relay their suggestions, via two-way radio links, to a 'skyrunner' (Anneka Rice), who is transported by helicopter to follow their directions to find it. Although they could communicate with the skyrunner via the radio link, they could not actually see her. Based on this kind of distributed interdependency, our proposal aims to develop new ways of connecting those excluded from participating in outdoors activities with those included, providing enjoyable and equitable roles for all. The goal is for distributed mixed teams to work together cooperatively. In order for students in the field to progress they need to communicate with and follow suggestions made by students at the home station who use the tabletop.This research will take an HCI approach that is informed by a transformational design perspective. These perspectives are both grounded in an interdisciplinary approach which is essential to a project of this nature that initially requires the expertise from science, technology, design and elearning. The transformational design perspective will use the skills of; looking for the user point of view, making things visible and prototyping. The work will comprise of two phases: in the first 6 months a review of the pilot research will: (i) extract requirements for the prototyping of equitable collaborative inquiry experiences and (ii) evaluate technological capabilities, define initial development of middleware requirements and develop prototype solutions. In the following 12 months, these solutions will be: (i) iteratively developed, (ii) evaluated and (iii) refined with potential beneficiaries and (iv) within the last 3 months of the project findings will be documented, demonstrated and disseminated.

Planned Impact

There are two different types of direct beneficiaries from this research those within the private technical development sector and those within the public educational sector: - The immediate private sector partners (OOKL and Microsoft) will benefit from the development of two separate technologies into a joint synchronous application for a newly defined scenario and educational sector (i.e. HE). Substantial economic benefits will not be realised within the lifetime of the project and may take several years to be realised. - Further technology developers within both the tabletop and mobile device domain will also benefit from advancements in approaches to distance learning. These benefits will impact on more effective approaches and developments which could be realised within the lifespan of the project. - Disabled and disadvantaged students will be immediate beneficiaries with an increased likelihood of equitable accessibility to a range of field-based courses. The impact of these benefits are potentially very dramatic for these students and with current changes in OU learning design could be realised within several years of the project. - Accessibility designers and policy makers will also benefit from the technical evaluations with guidance on the implementation of these technologies. These could be a significant immediate impact. An indirect immediate benefit could also be the increased profile within the partnering companies and the media of innovative approaches to accessibility. - Distance learning developers and policy makers will benefit from alternative innovative approaches to distance learning that support both aspects of face-to-face collaboration whilst also supporting the needs for distance learning. These benefits although important may take some time to filter through. - Science learning designers and students will indirectly benefit from these developments as costly and inaccessible field trips increasingly threaten the viability of field trips within science courses. These technical developments could also change the profile of science learning as something 'FUN' for students of all ages. The time-scale of these impacts varies according to the effectiveness of differing dissemination routes. - The work-based learning sector will indirectly benefit from these developments as these innovative approaches to distance learning could support effective collaboration for a wide variety of users (e.g. nurses, patients, construction students). These benefits although important may take some time to filter through. - Project staff will also benefit in the development of their technical skills in improving these technologies. Collaborations between the industrial partners and academic project staff will also support the development of effective collaboration networks and an increased understanding of how to develop systems under the pressures of a commercial market. These will be important impacts for the project members with immediate effect. - This project could significantly impact on public perceptions of science learning and disabled access. The project benefits could impact quickly and widely through effective dissemination of these developments through the media. The benefit opportunities detailed above will be realised through a detailed plan of dissemination and engagement procedures which seek alternative routes to impact on beneficiaries (see the impact plan) The project team know the benefits and difficulties of working in interdisciplinary teams that bring academics, public sector and industrial partners together. With this in mind the project team will draw upon the wealth of project management experience of Professors Rogers, Swithenby and Dr. Adams in running interdisciplinary academic/industrial/public sector partner collaborative projects.

Publications

10 25 50
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Adams A (2013) Of Catwalk Technologies and Boundary Creatures in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction

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Coughlan T (2012) The conceptual framing, design and evaluation of device ecologies for collaborative activities in International Journal of Human-Computer Studies

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FitzGerald E (2013) Augmented Reality and Mobile Learning The State of the Art in International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning

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FitzGerald E (2015) Revolutionary and Evolutionary Technology Design Processes in Location-Based Interactions in International Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction

 
Description The novel OTIH approaches to situated distance learning have been demonstrated within various crossinstitutional
forums (e.g. the learn-about fair, faculty mobile learning days) supporting innovation in teaching approaches.

Findings led to 12 papers - 9 high impact international and national conferences, 2 International high impact Journals and 1 international high impact magazine article,
Academic Innovation,
• Project Website (http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/otih/) co-ordinating participation from those engaged in
the project, collaborating, users and potential collaborators.
• Project video - currently with a blip-vert on Youtube and a longer video supporting wider public
engagement.
• New methods in video analysis have been developed and published within the International Journal of
Human Computer Studies (in press).
• A workshop has been conducted at the International EU funded MUSUCOL forum (Bristol, March 2012) to
support training on different approaches to video analysis using OTIH video data as an impetus for analysis.

Academic innovation
• The novel OTIH approaches to situated distance learning have been demonstrated within various crossinstitutional
forums (e.g. the learn-about fair, faculty mobile learning days) supporting innovation in teaching
approaches.
Institutional investment and Portfolio
• OTIH research led to a successful Open University funded follow on studentship proposal between science
and the institute of education on GIS in teaching and learning,
• The Open University have also supported collaborations between Ordinance Survey and the OU in a
studentship proposal to the HEA on 'Educational technology to enhance sustainable development in HE'
• OTIH research inspired international and interdisciplinary colleagues to collaborate on further funding
proposal with:
o a successful EU network bid on surface elearning,
o a successful RCUK 'catalyst' public engagement bid,
o a successful Wolfson bid
o 2 other elearning EU proposals (one led by the OTIH PI)
User Engagement
• The collaboration with Microsoft was invaluable in supporting the OTIH development processes through their
expertise in practice based developments. Workshops between the two organisations enabled crossfertilisation
and wider impacts through the public engagement follow on project in Cambridge.
Economy
Attracting R&D investment,
• Several organisations have been inspired by the OTIH research to invest in follow on research collaborations.
o British Geological Survey has given their support for a jointly funded studentship.
o Ordinance Survey has given their support for a joint funded studentship.
o Earthwatch has given their financial support for a joint citizen science research project
o Catchermedia (SME) has given their support for further 'in the wild' research involving video capture. This then led to a larger EU funded 'Juxtalearn' project which has just completed its second year with further impact on schools and the HE sector.
Innovation in organisational culture and practices,
• Surface development prior to OTIH had remained as part of 'blue skies' computing system development.
This project has moved forwards OU skills in surface and mobile development within a practice based
framework as part of a distance teaching and learning context.
Innovation in products & services,
• The OTIH project has advanced national and international understanding of a 'device ecology' (i.e. using
mobiles, tablets, surfaces, and displays networked across locations) for teaching and learning
User Engagement,
• The initial OTIH project and the follow on public engagement work supported engagement with teachers
across each learning sector & institutions (higher education lecturers, secondary school teachers and council
community trainers).
• Geology Students from across the United Kingdom took part in the OTIH trials
• Anglian Ruskin University biodiversity undergraduate students took part in further OTIH trials.
• Microsoft Research: supported with of joint workshops and project meetings over the 18 months of the
project, at a cost to them of approximately £10,000. There also became involved in collaborating on some
joint fieldwork of applications that come from the project. There is now the potential to work on this
further with Microsoft.
• OOKL gave support more at a distance but through ongoing email and phone discussions these amounted to
an in Kind support equivalent to £5,000 through inputting their skills in the use of OOKL systems & services
over the 18 month project.
Knowledge
Academic Innovation,
• Project Website (http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/otih/) co-ordinating participation from those engaged in
the project, collaborating, users and potential collaborators.
• Project video - currently with a blip-vert on Youtube and a longer video supporting wider public
engagement.
• New methods in video analysis have been developed and published within the International Journal of
Human Computer Studies (in press).
• A workshop has been conducted at the International EU funded MUSUCOL forum (Bristol, March 2012) to
support training on different approaches to video analysis using OTIH video data as an impetus for analysis.
Academic Leadership
• Invited engagement in the closed DE cross-disciplinary privacy forum at the Oxford Internet Institute (Feb
2011)
• Invited to give a keynote at the ESRC public lecture series at Bletchley Park on 'Inclusion through Real
World Engagment' (June 2011)
• Invited presentation at the EU MUSCUOL international forum (March 2012)
• Invited onto the programme committee for the international conference on virtual worlds (ReLive 2011)
• Invited onto the programme committee for the international conference 'theory and practice 2012'
proceedings to be published in LCNS computer notes.
Exploitation Route Cultural Enrichment,
• The project enabled cross-collaboration between historians and biodiversity academics and students at the
OU with public historians, the council and local school children. This resulted in further collaborations
between these groups e.g. one ARU historian taking part in the trial noticed for the first time a key historical
figure (sir John Seeley :) buried in the local cemetery that no-one had noticed before, he decided he would
take his students to visit this site for their studies and he agreed and completed a web-page
(http://www.millroadcemetery.org.uk/MillRoadCemetery/Page.aspx?p=29&ix=3146pd=2938?cid=4&pp
id=2938) on this historian for the public historical society.
Environmental Sustainability,
• Anglian Ruskin University biodiversity undergraduate students used OTIH trials to support their identification
research projects on flora, fauna and wildlife both for a report on the local ecology in Cambridge and for
their degree studies.
• Cambridge council and public historians used OTIH trials to support identification and database record
updating of gravestones at the mill road cemetery.
Influencing Policy,
• OTIH research initiated practice debates with policy makers within Higher Education, Government and
research funders
o Invited Keynote at HM Government Instinct (INnovation Science and Technology IN Counter
Terrorism) TD3 showcase led by Logica; (Feb 2011)
o Invited presentation & discussions with David Sweeney Director of HEFCE research, innovation and
skills; (May 2011)
o Invited presentation to director of Wolfsen research. (May 2011)
Innovation in Public Services,
• OTIH trials within Cambridge were used by Cambridge Council to increase the services that they could
provide for the public around brown to green space usage in Cambridge.
Media Representation
• Internally a logo has been produced and internal University research publications have published initial
findings.
• Open House (OU magazine publication) produced an article on the project was invited and has been
published. This Open University internal magazine increasing impact across the UK within the OU regional
centres. Key quote published in the article was: Dr Adams said: "Field trips are important for the OU and
learning generally because it puts theory into practice in the real world. However it is expensive, disabled
students are often excluded and many of our students don't have the time to take part. All of these factors
mean we have to think about alternative ways of hosting field trips without losing the richness of that
experience."
• Jenny Lee labs (where the project was conducted) produced an article on the project entitled 'Out There In
Here trials great success (http://www8.open.ac.uk/about/campus/jennie-lee-research-labs/news/outthere-
here-trials-great-success)
Public Engagement,
• Milton Keynes special needs secondary school children took part in further OTIH trials
• Cambridge Parkside Secondary school students used OTIH trials to support their GCSE drama studies.
• Cambridge council and public historians took part in further OTIH trials.
Quality of Life Enrichment & Social Welfare
• The Discovery project (http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/otih/?m=201103 &
http://mcs.open.ac.uk/pervasive/research_projects.html ) was follow on research based upon the initial
findings in the OTIH project. The team re-used the existing devices & re-develop the system so that it could
be used across different user groups to support both formal and informal learning across the life-course.
The team almost doubled as two Spanish researchers (Pablo Haya and Estefania Martin) a senior lecturer
from computer Science (Janet VanDerLinden) a researcher from IET (Canan Blake) became involved. They
were joined by the SME company 'stride design', Cambridge council representatives, a local public history
group (who had ties to Emmanuel college Cambridge), Anglian Ruskin University and a local secondary
school 'Parkside'. The systems developed not only supported tasks (as detailed in other sections of this
report) but also enriched everyones engagement as a wide variety of diverse groups came together to
discuss their engagement in the same forums. This produced an on-going enrichment not only from having
used the systems and technology but also from having engaged in a joint research and development project.
Members of this project all noted that their lives were greatly enriched by making those connections and
being inspired to step beyond their own worlds. School children and teachers met historians and university
students within a common location (the mill road cemetery) that many noted that they had never realised
was there before.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/otih/
 
Description 1) SOCIETY & KNOWLEDGE: OTIH research initiated practice debates with policy makers within Higher Education, Government and research funders: Invited Keynote at HM Government Instinct (INnovation Science and Technology IN Counter Terrorism) TD3 showcase led by Logica; Invited presentation & discussions with David Sweeney Director of HEFCE research, innovation and skills; Presentation to director of Wolfsen research. 2) ECONOMY: We used systems and our understanding for a follow on user & public engagement / impact project with colleagues from Spain, Cambridge Council, Cambridge Public history groups, Anglian Ruskin University and local schools. This involved further industrial collaborations with the SME Stride Design and again Microsoft Research. 3) CAPABILITY: OTIH research inspired international and interdisciplinary colleagues to collaborate on further funding proposal with a successful EU network bid on surface elearning, a successful RCUK 'catalyst' public engagement bid, a successful Wolfson bid and 2 other elearning EU proposals. 4) KNOWLEDGE: Findings led to 8 papers - 6 international and national conferences, 1 International Journal and 1 international magazine article (with 3 more journal papers in the pipeline for the computing, education and geographic domains). 5) CAPABILITY: OTIH research led to a successful Open University funded follow on studentship proposal between science and the institute of education on GIS in teaching and learning, it also enabled collaborations between Ordinance Survey and the OU in a studentship proposal to the HEA on 'Educational technology to enhance sustainable development in HE'.
First Year Of Impact 2009
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description OTIH research initiated practice debates with policy makers within Higher Education, Government and research funders
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Implementation circular/rapid advice/letter to e.g. Ministry of Health
Impact Invited Keynote at HM Government Instinct (INnovation Science and Technology IN Counter Terrorism) TD3 showcase led by Logica; (Feb 2011) o Invited presentation & discussions with David Sweeney Director of HEFCE research, innovation and skills; (May 2011) o Invited presentation to director of Wolfsen research. (May 2011) OTIH trials within Cambridge were used by Cambridge Council to increase the services that they could provide for the public around brown to green space usage in Cambridge.
 
Description Connected Communities
Amount £1,171,320 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 10/2019
 
Description HEIF funding
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Organisation Open University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description RCUK PER Catalyst
Amount £301,889 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J020087/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2015
 
Description Stella Network Grant
Amount € 16,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2011 
End 09/2012
 
Description framework 7
Amount € 2,100,000 (EUR)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2015
 
Title video analysis approaches 
Description New methods in video analysis have been developed and published within the International Journal of Human Computer Studies (in press). • A workshop has been conducted at the International EU funded MUSUCOL forum (Bristol, March 2012) This was followed up by a national BCS HCI workshop in the same field 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact These developements and resources have supported training on different approaches to video analysis using OTIH video data as an impetus for analysis. This was followed up by a national BCS HCI workshop in the same field supporting practioners and academic researchers from across europe. 
 
Description High Skillz 
Organisation High Skillz
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Leading on the development of EU bids together, developing the conceptual underpinning for a toolkit that supports learning design and quiz creation around threshold concepts (defined in practice as tricky topics), developing teacher training initiatives that support the practice based implementation of pedagogical innovations.
Collaborator Contribution Supporting the development of EU bids together, developing the technical systems based upon the OUs prototypes (proof of concepts) to support learning design and quiz creation around threshold concepts (defined in practice as tricky topics), enabling tools that support the development of teacher training initiatives that support the practice based implementation of pedagogical innovations.
Impact Successful HEIF funding to develop 'tricky topic tool', Support from Oxford University to submit an impact accelerator fund application to implement the tool within their network of school in oxfordshire and beyond to herts, bucks and beds
Start Year 2014
 
Description Microsoft 
Organisation Microsoft Research
Department Microsoft Research Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Microsoft Research: supported with of joint workshops and project meetings over the 18 months of the project, at a cost to them of approximately £10,000. There also became involved in collaborating on some joint fieldwork of applications that come from the project. There is now the potential to work on this further with Microsoft.
Collaborator Contribution The collaboration with Microsoft was invaluable in supporting the OTIH development processes through their expertise in practice based developments. Workshops between the two organisations enabled cross-fertilisation and wider impacts through the public engagement follow on project in Cambridge.
Impact The OTIH project has advanced national and international understanding of a 'device ecology' (i.e. using mobiles, tablets, surfaces, and displays networked across locations) for teaching and learning. The collaboration with Microsoft was invaluable in supporting the OTIH development processes through their expertise in practice based developments. Workshops between the two organisations enabled crossfertilisation and wider impacts through the public engagement follow on project in Cambridge. Economy
Start Year 2009
 
Title Tricky Topic Tool 
Description A tool to support teachers in the identification and sharing with other teachers of tricky topics, why these are tricky topics for students and development of a tricky topic quiz to identify students depth and gaps of understanding around this tricky topic. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Feeding into learning design at the OU and into CPD for teachers across Beds, Bucks and Herts (with a view to extend this). 
 
Description Invited to present the initial OTIH research findings at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (participants Cambridge Council, Microsoft Research, Stride Design, Parkside School, Friends of Mill Road Cemetery, Radio Cambridge, ARU and Open University). (May 2011) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited to present the initial OTIH research findings at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (participants
Cambridge Council, Microsoft Research, Stride Design, Parkside School, Friends of Mill Road Cemetery,
Radio Cambridge, ARU and Open University). (May 2011)

Engagement in OTIH research and public engagment activities led to submission of an RCUK public
engagement project EP/J020087/1 which was funded by RCUK and to two follow on EU funded projects musucol and Juxtalearn - both of which have had impacts on national schools and STEMS learning - currently feediing into United learning network of schools learning
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description SETPOINT HERTS 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact SETPOINT HERTS had a maths day to support new initiatives that could support engaging approaches to the subject. We presented the current project JuxtaLearn and how this could support teachers in creative approaches to their teaching using novel technologies and scalable technologies.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.setpointherts.org.uk/