My name is Jaeuk Park. I started my IPhD course back in 2013. As IPhD students needed to take credit-bearing modules for two years before proceeding onto Research stage, I had some time to think about what topic really interested me. One of my research interests was IELTS (International English Language Testing System) so, I talked to staff who had expertise in the field and led the module of ‘Research Methods for Applied Language Studies’. The module leader was Professor Paul Seedhouse.
The Korean Digital Kitchen
The Digital Kitchen is a real world situated learning environment where you can learn foreign languages, cultures and cuisines at the same time. The Korean Digital Kitchen is the expansion of the previous project called the European Digital Kitchen. Now, l will show you how the Korean Digital Kitchen works. There are three essential technological components: digital sensors, Graphical User Interface and an authoring tool.
The first element is digital sensors Each sensor below is attached and inserted into ingredients and equipment, enabling the system to be able to recognize the activity and transmit the information back to the system as users progress throughout the task. This is a technology similar to the one used in Nintendo Wii games, namely activity recognition and sensor technology. Using digital sensors and a task-based language learning approach, the kitchen provides step-by-step instructions through an intelligent audio-visual prompting system supported by state-of-the-art technology. When they pick up an item, the kitchen knows what they are doing. If you collect the correct item, the computer praises, “wow great job!” If you don’t, it says, “hmmm. Would you give it a try once again?” Interesting! This is how you can collect each item before cooking.
Graphical User Interface (GUI)
The second component is a Graphical User Interface (GUI). The tablet computer, with a wireless signal receiver housed in, enables users to complete the cooking task. Users are not able to accomplish their cooking mission without this device. The tablet computer plays a key role in bridging a gap for interaction between human and computer.
The GUI will guide you to every step you need to take to make the dish. From the introduction, steps in Pre-task and During-task to post-tasks.
Throughout the cooking session, you will be given a range of learning support tools on request through written texts, audio, images and real objects in the kitchen. This enables you to learn Korean vocabulary items while you are cooking.
The final element of the Korean Digital Kitchen is the Authoring tool. In cases where you need a recipe to make a dish, the computer offers step-by-step instructions. More specifically, there are six taps on the tool, through which two Korean recipes could be born.
It is these three components that are behind the KDK. In the Korean Digital Kitchen, anyone can make and eat an authentic Korean dish in the digital kitchen with their friends. Here are some photos of previous users making two Korean dishes.
My research has been able to produce fruitful academic outputs in various ways. First, three papers have been already published and more works is underway. Secondly, this interdisciplinary research has attracted an academic from Oxford University to lay the foundation for global-scale collaboration. As a pilot, the academic and I have conducted a pilot study examining how the digital kitchen can be used as a medium of language and culture learning with young learners. This is widening the range of this research by applying the methods of developing Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching (TBLT) in different tailor-made activities. As a result, the Oxford academic has opened up an online platform where other Asian language and culture can be learned and shared (see the webpage at www.asianlancook.org).
Thus, the Korean Digital Kitchen study has already been making an impact on the relevant academic field and in societal and economic ways in the long haul.
In the sense that the KDK is a real-world learning environment involving cooking, the present study is unique and original in foreign language learning contexts. However, the model of this study has had an issue. The KDK environment needed a huge amount of funds to build as it involves a series of technical devices including electric sensors. At present, the digital kitchen cannot be produced on a large scale; currently only five such kitchens have been built in use in co-working institutions around Europe. Furthermore, it might take much time to develop the design and apply it to the curriculum; it also needs a wide range of research in other systems and skills such as grammar, writing, speaking, and listening in addition to vocabulary learning. Only when these problems can be addressed to a certain extent could this model achieve a wider use. Thankfully, these issues are in the process of being addressed by interdisciplinary collaboration between Professor Seedhouse and a former lecturer Dr Rob Comber at Newcastle University who have been trying to create smartphone apps in an EU-funded project called ‘Linguacuisine’, where app-based technology replaces sensor-based technology. Therefore, the development of the apps is expected to not only reduce the cost of instalment of the kitchen, but make engaging technology available and accessible to a very wide audience in the world soon. I am really really happy to see the constant development of my research.
Come March or April 2018, the app will be ready made for anyone interested to use, which will make yet another significant influence. It is on this app that my research is going to be based on and its affordances in terms of foreign language learning. If you would like to join this research, please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org