Dr Madeline Balaam
Lecturer

I'm a lecturer in the School of Computing Science and contribute to the Digital Interaction research group. Specifically, my research is concerned with Interaction Design for healthcare, education and wellbeing. I am driven by a desire to design technologies which better meet the needs and practices of people in their everyday lives and in doing do I apply participatory and user-centred design methods. 

I'm particularly interested in concepts such as motivation and emotion and how these notions can be better supported or accounted for in the design of technology. For example, in a previous project I designed and developed a series of bespoke technologies that aimed to motivate individuals in their home to complete rehabilitative movements post-stroke. Whilst concepts like motivation are defined in multi-faceted ways and difficult to account for in design, an understanding of motivation is essential if advances in areas such as mHealth are to have a real and lasting impact. 

Before joining Newcastle University I completed a PhD and several years of post-doctoral research at the University of Sussex. It was during this period that I developed the Subtle Stone - a technology designed to support the private communication of emotional experience between students and their teachers in the secondary school classroom. Whilst contributing a novel technology that has the potential to positively impact upon teaching and learning practices, this work was also highlighted the discrepancy between what teachers understand about how their students are feelings and what students actually believe themselves to feel whilst learning. Such findings open up all sorts of design opportunities for exploring how technology might help teachers understand and respond appropriately to students' emotional experiences during learning interactions.    

Increasingly I'm also interested in wearable technologies and how such an intimate placement of technology might be used to support expression of self as well as develop greater feelings of empathy for those different from oneself. 

For a more detailed description of my research, publications and blog please go to my personal webpage.  

Qualifications

DPhil Informatics (2008), University of Sussex
BSc (first class) Artificial Intelligence with German (2004), University of Sussex

Previous Positions

2010 - 2011 Research Associate on the joint EPSRC and AHRC funded "Personal Architectonics through Interactions with Artefacts" project (Newcastle University)  

2009 - 2010 Research Fellow on the EPSRC funded "Motivating Mobility: Interactive Systems to promote Physical Activity and Leisure for people with limited mobility" (University of Sussex)

2008 - 2010 Research Fellow on the EPSRC funded "Supporting Shy Users in Pervasive Computing" (University of Sussex)