Researching Embodiment with Digital Technologies: Project update

Author: Sara Price

We have created a blog on research in embodiment that was inspired by our workshop in March this year embodimentblog.wordpress.com. The blog (and associated Twitter account @EmbodimentBlog) has expanded over the last month or so, and hope to attract regular contributors from outside the project. The blog will be used as a way to connect with and build the community of researchers (particularly student and early career researchers) who are interested in and able to apply the frameworks of embodied interaction to their research with digital technologies.

We have organised and undertaken two new research studies. Working closely with a London primary school one study examines students’ experiences of body and place when using mobile technologies. We developed a mobile environment on the iPad that enabled students to explore local common on-site and link their current experience with a historical experience through digital artefacts in the form of image and audio. Through pre-exploration and post-exploration data collection phases, we aim to understand how such experiences of mobile technologies can change the way individuals think about and construct place.

Using Evernote on Clapham Common

Using Evernote on Clapham Common

We also explored some novel methods for data collection (alongside established observation and video data collection methods), including GPS trackers, and a range of first person video recorders – a body-cam, sense-cam, and head-mounted camera. This will enable us to explore the potentials and limitations of first person perspective video and image data.

Working in collaboration with Lucrezia Crescenzi, a visiting academic from The Interactive Media Lab at the University of Barcelona, our other project is looking at the mode of touch with very young children draw using iPads in a nursery setting.

Looking at the mode of touch with young children draw using iPads

Looking at the mode of touch with young children draw using iPads

This study aims to understand more about young children’s motor skills and interaction with touch-screen interfaces, as well as exploring differences in interaction and product with a finger painting activity using iPad technology versus traditional physical paint and paper.

Findings will be published in a special issue of a journal on Touch and Technology.

Sakr, M., Price, S. & Jewitt, C. (in press) ‘The semiotic work of the hands in scientific inquiry’. This paper uses an analysis of students exploring the properties of light via a tangible tabletop, to argue that the hands play an essential role in the process of inquiry

Two conference papers were presented and published earlier this year:

Price, S & Jewitt, C. (2013) A multimodal approach to examining ‘embodiment’ in tangible learning environments.  Proceedings of 7thInternational Conference on Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction. Barcelona, Spain, February 2013

Price, S., & Jewitt, C. (2013) Interview Approaches to Researching Embodiment. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) ACM NY p. 2907-2910

A Journal paper has been accepted for a special issue of Classroom Discourse on multimodality

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