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Carl H Smith: Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC) Ravensbourne, UK.

Experience (Re)Design Techniques for Perceptual and Cognitive Advancement using Mobile Technologies and Methodologies

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carl smith
9 February 2015

Experience (Re)Design Techniques for Perceptual and Cognitive Advancement using Mobile Technologies and Methodologies


Carl H Smith

Senior Lecturer in Creative Coding,

Learning Technologies and Research.


Learning Technology Research Centre (LTRC)

Ravensbourne, UK.


I am interested in taking mobile learning to the next level in the Higher Education, the workplace and the creative sectors. I am also concerned with the speed of change in educational policy in the UK and how this limits innovation and learning. I am currently working on an FP7 project called CRe-AM (Creativity Research Adaptive Roadmap) - ICT call 10 Objective 8.1 of the 7th Framework Programme). This project aims to bridge communities of creators with communities of technology providers and innovators, in a collective, strategic intelligence/road mapping effort. This is intended to streamline, coordinate and amplify collaborative work towards developing, enhancing, and mainstreaming new ICT technologies and tools. The project also aims to support the creation of multipurpose and sustainable creative ecologies, addressing different sectors of the creative industries. Mobile technology has a cross sector impact, which effects creativity and learning in a variety of ways. Alongside the Contextual, situated and authentic learning strand I am also interested in the Future directions and possibilities of mobile learning.


Some recent international work I have carried out at Keio and Tokyo Universities during an awarded Winston Churchill Fellowship (2014) involved trying to solve the core problem of how to (re)design a workable balance between digital and analogue modes of interaction. Younger generations are growing up almost exclusively in the digital world and are largely not being exposed to essential analogue social and communication skills. Without thoughtful design, digital interventions are simply distracting people away from meaningful engagement with the learning opportunities and social situations that they are actually designed to augment.


Last year I was also successful in securing a large JISC ‘innovation through technology’ grant. This project is transforming the student induction process by developing an innovative adaption and rollout of ‘bring your own devices’ (BYOD mobile technology). The technology is being used in combination with student-produced content to promote active learning. The induction trail allows new students to engage in an experiential and social learning experience, which makes use of the whole building. It helps to signal to new students that the learning experience they are about to begin at University will be enabled by digital resources and interactive methodologies. The co-created ‘Analogue and Digital Design Tools Framework’ developed during the project will be made available to other mobile learning researchers.


Mobile learning is under going a radical evolution with new human computer interaction interventions such as DIYVR and Google TANGO  My research involves combining the latest technologies with radical pedagogies to go beyond the standard repertoire of human cognition. Context engineering (Smith, 2013) is an experience design practice that attempts to break the perceptual conventions that limit innovation within the social and knowledge construction agendas.


Field Of View (FOV) technologies like the Oculus Rift  will not only alter the gaming landscape but will redefine fundamental human experiences in areas such film, education, architecture, and design. Google cardboard  brings the Oculus Rift to the masses at around $20 per unit. The FlyVIZ headset is another FOV technology  that augments the sense of sight by giving the user 360-degree vision. The 360 view is compressed to fit into a human's usual 180 degree field of view, it takes fifteen minutes for the brain to adjust to this new way of seeing and ‘accept it as normal’.


When the digital blends with the physical, in particular in relation to spatial perception, a hybrid reality appears and the wide and varied impact on cognition is at the core of my research. Context engineering is understood as an intermediality practise for exploring perceptual augmentation by giving us control over our senses, allowing us to adjust them in real time. Context engineering works by combining the affordances of analogue and digital technologies in order to provide fundamentally new ways of seeing and knowing.


I am especially interested in experience design and I believe this has great potential for future employment on the basis that human computer interaction, interaction design and experience design have not yet digested the new changes brought about by post digital, hybrid techniques and methodologies.


In addition combining current technologies with the practice of ancient pedagogies is beginning to create possibilities that go beyond the 'normal' repertoire of human cognition & ways of experiencing the-world. Context engineering (Smith, 2013) is an experience design practice that attempts to break the perceptual conventions that limit innovation within the social and knowledge construction agendas.











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