In December 2013 a two day conference was held in Odense and Kolding, by the University of Southern Denmark. The topic of the two days was ‘Designing for language learning in the wild‘ and the days held presentations of conducted and ongoing research, design projects, pilot projects as well as explorative design and theater workshops. Researchers, designers, teachers and students from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland participated in the activities.
Day 1 took place at Kolding campus and was open to the public. The day focused on sharing between the various projects, starting from a ‘conversation analysis’ research perspective, moving towards more hands on design projects, design research projects and real life pilot projects. During the day two improvising actors took part in the activities, ready to play out scenarios as the day went on. The day ended with a theater workshop staging a meeting between two language teachers and 3-4 researchers, designers trying to convince the value of language learning in the wild and the process of achieving it.
Day 2 took place at Odense campus and was closed to the public. The day focused on plans for future work and a design workshop exploring the meaning and relation of the potential
language learning in the wild supporters ‘coach’, ‘broker’ and ‘helper’ (objects). The day started with a design workshop conducted in three groups of three. After the workshop the outcomes, short videos, was shared between the groups. After this the focus was on plans for the future, such as how to share our work between us as well as to the outside through for example a blog or website.
Day 1 – Wednesday December 18th
Introduction and the languaging project
Johannes Wagner gave an introduction to the area Language learning in the wild. Søren Eskildsen presented his research on conversation analysis in the ‘Languaging’ project.
Working with service interaction
Rye Larsen, Jimenez-Jørgensen
A design concept was presented that in a game-like way initiates language learning in public places. It is inspired by monopoly, but magnified, and gives the player challenges to achieve in public spaces.
Self generated dictionaries
This design concept was a digital dictionary built on the learner’s own photos. In this way the pictures can make sense and be relevant to each individual using the app.
Language as participation
Clark, Davidsson, Liljedahl
Brendon Clark gave an update in the research program Language as participation, also including the projects ‘Språkskap’ and ‘Soundbites’. Clark showed examples on how language learning in the wild can be initiated and supported through introducing designed methods, help material, etc.
Kajsa Davidsson gave a presentation of her Master degree project ‘Matprat’, which aims to support language learning based on the learners own interests and skills, inside and outside of the classroom.
The Icelandic village
After a short warming up session together, we sat down in four groups discussing different scenarios that could be interesting to explore. We decided to explore the meeting between traditional language teaching and language learning in the wild and the teachers’
role in this. Staging a meeting between two teachers and 3-4 researchers/ designers trying to convince the value of language learning in the wild and the process of achieving it and mainly supporting the teachers in believing in themselves and the process.
Day 2 – Thursday December 19th
Clark, Davidsson, Liljedahl
In three groups of three the concepts ‘broker’, ‘coach’ and ‘helper’ were explored using ‘doll scenario’ settings, i.e. using paper dolls, other material and identifying three settings for playing out a relevant scenario. The scenarios took place for example in a kitchen, dining room and living room with a family and a language exchange student. The scenarios were documented in short videos using mobile phones.
Short video – Performance (?)
Video 1 (Lilja, Liljedahl, Wagner) Explored the concepts in a scenario played out in a home with a family and a language exchange student. While cooking, eating and watching tv.
Video 2 (Clark, Day, Piirainen-Marsh) Played a scenario in a school for young adult immigrants getting assigned to go out and explore what friendship is.
Video 3 (Davidsson, Eskildsen, Theodórsdóttir) Played a scenario based on Icelandic village and language cafés. Exploring the fine line between broking, coaching and teaching, as well as methods to control this.
Plans for the future
During one hour we discussed plans for the future connected to funding and internal/external communication of our work. One ambition is to hold 1-2 conferences like this in the next year. We looked at different examples of blogs, websites and digital information boards we could use both internally and externally as well as information material such as folders and booklets. We will create a booklet summarizing The Icelandic Village to share the
concept and positive results.