Considering that digital culture is largely defined by it's media, which includes tools for processing, communicating, collaborating, learning, etc., it is crucial that the designs of these tools are in balance with the culture they are used but also developed in and for. To answer these needs, my doctoral work is focused on the research and development of tools and design methods that support these digital interactions related to embodied experiences. I am passionate about designing tools that combine real-world and digital-world experiences of artefacts for these purposes. The tools aim to enhance the sensory experience and affect the relation the user has with the environment. The experiences support learning processes by challenging these relations and the existing patterns of thinking.
I follow post-phenomenological theories that are in line with post-humanist thinking approaches, systems thinking and theories of embodiment in relation to technology. The study adopts research through design, a theory rich and prototyping oriented design process that enables developing functional prototypes with it's end-users in a participatory way.
The study is focused on the research and development of tools for learning that are designed based on the principles of HCI as an embodied experience as defined by Paul Dourish. Considering that social and learning cultures are from the largest part defined by their media and tools for thinking, working, learning and collaborating, it is crucial that the designs of the learning tools are in balance with the culture they are used but also developed in and for. For these reasons the selected methodological approach is research based design, that aims to respond to the needs and strive for developing functional prototypes in an iterative process that includes the end-users from early stages of the research up to the final prototype.
Acknowledging the fact that information and communication are accessible anywhere and at any time with the help of smart mobile devices for users in developed societies, it is important to understand how the context fosters learning. Mobile learning is ubiquitous, context-aware experience, which can occur in any given environment.
I am interested in tools, whether they are software or hardware that would enable an ease of access to information on site and combine both real-world and digital-world learning resources. The tools should enhance the sensory experience of the user to his/her social and physical environment. This embodied experience evokes certain types of interactions and processes of meaning and value.
The expected results will be working prototypes of tools that are designed for learning based on embodied experience.
The goal of the tools is not to deliver predigested information and non-changeble artifacts and tools to individuals, but rather to provide the opportunity and resources for engaging them in authentic activities for participating in debates and discussions, for creating shared
understanding among diverse stakeholders, and for framing and solving personally meaningful problems.
Another expected result would come from the evaluation of the prototypes. The reached conclusions will contribute to the delineation of guidelines for designing tools for learning which foster community building as well as facilitate a shift from consumer culture to participative and open culture.
Current prototype designs:
SoAR, Social augmented reality - a mobile app that fosters learning through enhancing peer-2-peer augmented interactions
Kinemata - a wearable device that enhances awareness in the process of learning body movements
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