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With the lights out, it’s less dangerous: Rose Luckin

Presentation by Rose Luckin at the CALRG 2012 conference

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Rebecca Ferguson
19 June 2012

“With the lights out, it’s less dangerous”: tapping into teen spirit to inform technology design for personal energy consumption understanding.

In this presentation I’ll report on a series of research studies conducted with teenagers to develop design ideas for ways in which learning technologies might support young people who want to learn and understand more about their personal consumption of energy.  Energy sustainability is prevalent in political and popular rhetoric and yet energy consumption is rising.  Teenagers are an important category of future energy consumers, but little is known of their conceptions about energy and energy saving.

Findings from our early studies suggest that teenagers are aware of energy issues at an abstract level, but do not apply this information in the context of their behaviour.  We identify indirect energy use and the relative energy intensity of different behaviours as important areas for learning.  For example, behaviours of particular relevance to teenagers are use of electronic devices, and choice of food and personal care products.  These findings have implications for the design of technology to support learning about energy in informal contexts and have informed the development of an Ecology of Resources model (Luckin, 2010) of the teenage participants’ personal contexts, which includes their world resources (people, tools, knowledge, skills, and environment) and their personal resources (conceptions, motivations and concerns around energy consumption).  This model is now being used to support the on-going participatory technology design process with groups of teenagers drawn from UK secondary schools.

I’ll talk about the range of methods we employed to understand teenagers’ personal learning contexts and the manner in which our findings are now being used to develop a mobile phone application with a small group of teenagers in two secondary schools in the South of England.

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