School of Computing Science

Staff Profiles

Dr Ahmed Kharrufa

Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction

Background

I am a senior research associate at Open Lab, Newcastle University and the director of Diwan Software and Reflective Thinking. I lead the educational technology subgroup at Open Lab, Newcastle University. My aim is to design next generation digital technologies that can help students become better learners, critical thinkers, and citizens. To achieve this, students must be actively engaged in their education; and the strategy that I believe can make this happen is providing them with a curriculum that is relevant to their interests, needs and their future career opportunities. 

My current research focus is exploring the concept of commissioning (as used in community services) in the context of education to help achieve the goals of a community driven curriculum and strong school-community partnership.
Commissioning can only be effective if, in addition to a commissioning platform, there are enough tools to support the creation of more innovative educational resources, tools to feedback into how these resources are being used (to provide grounds for improvement), and more innovative approaches to teaching/engaging students with such content. I am a researcher and an EdTech Entrepreneur and I am working now on putting all these pieces together. 

In addition to educational technology, I am also interested in interaction design and interactive surfaces looking at the use of wearable sensors to enhance pen and touch interactions.

Apart from research, I founded ‘Reflective Thinking’ to realize the impact of my PhD by commercializing ‘Digital Mysteries’ (a tool for collaborative learning and thinking skills development). Digital Mysteries is now a platform for releasing topic-specific apps on the Apple store. Currently there are about 30 apps covering different educational topics and different age groups with more than 340,000 downloads from over 60 countries. Diwan Software, on the other hand, has a long history in desktop publishing software, internationalization, advanced fonts development, and more recently with educational software.

Publications