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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H022589/1
Title: 'Out There and In Here': Social Inclusion through Distributed Team Collaboration
Principal Investigator: Adams, Dr AL
Other Investigators:
Davies, Dr SM Rogers, Professor Y Swithenby, Professor SJ
Collins, Dr TD
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Microsoft SEA, The
Department: Institute of Educational Tech (IET)
Organisation: Open University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2010 Ends: 31 December 2011 Value (£): 185,087
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Digital Art & Design Human-Computer Interactions
Mobile Computing Product Design
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Information Technologies Communications
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Oct 2009 Digital Economy Research in the Wild Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Rather than students in isolation bound to their disabilities, classrooms, PCs or mobile devices the goal of this project is to develop technologies that support people working together in a suitable manner for their locations. One of the benefits of mobile technologies is to combine 'the digital' (e.g., data, information, photos) with user experiences in novel ways that are contextualized by peoples current physical activities. However, people with mobility disabilities are often excluded from engaging in such peripatetic user experiences. Watching the world go by on a TV or computer screen may be engaging but it doesn't support a student's interaction with the physical world. Our proposal bridges this gap by developing hybrid 'social inclusion' systems supporting co-active participation between mixed teams of physically able and disabled users, enabling experiences of both being in the field and at a stationary base. To this end, mobile and tabletop technologies will be linked to support synchronous distributed team collaboration. A prototype system will be developed and evaluated in situ to demonstrate the benefits of technology-interlinked with socially interdependent experiences. As an analogy, consider the 1980s TV series 'Treasure Hunt' where teams of 2-3 people, based in a library accessing various resources, have to find a location where treasure is buried through solving various clues. They relay their suggestions, via two-way radio links, to a 'skyrunner' (Anneka Rice), who is transported by helicopter to follow their directions to find it. Although they could communicate with the skyrunner via the radio link, they could not actually see her. Based on this kind of distributed interdependency, our proposal aims to develop new ways of connecting those excluded from participating in outdoors activities with those included, providing enjoyable and equitable roles for all. The goal is for distributed mixed teams to work together cooperatively. In order for students in the field to progress they need to communicate with and follow suggestions made by students at the home station who use the tabletop.This research will take an HCI approach that is informed by a transformational design perspective. These perspectives are both grounded in an interdisciplinary approach which is essential to a project of this nature that initially requires the expertise from science, technology, design and elearning. The transformational design perspective will use the skills of; looking for the user point of view, making things visible and prototyping. The work will comprise of two phases: in the first 6 months a review of the pilot research will: (i) extract requirements for the prototyping of equitable collaborative inquiry experiences and (ii) evaluate technological capabilities, define initial development of middleware requirements and develop prototype solutions. In the following 12 months, these solutions will be: (i) iteratively developed, (ii) evaluated and (iii) refined with potential beneficiaries and (iv) within the last 3 months of the project findings will be documented, demonstrated and disseminated.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Organisation Website: http://www.open.ac.uk