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LanCook - Learning European Languages in a Digital Kitchen

Project Dates: From December 2011 to November 2014

Staff: Prof. Patrick Olivier, Dr. Madeline Balaam, Mat Kipling, Prof. Paul Seedhouse, Dr. Anne Preston (ECLS), Clare Hooper (DI)


Following the success of the 'Language Learning in the Wild' project, which used the 'Ambient Kitchen' as a platform for Task-Based Learning of French, we began working with the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences on a broader European kitchen, partnering with four other universities across the continent. As well as incorporating five new languages (German, Italian, Finnish, Spanish and Catalan), along with recipes from each culture, this project aims to build on the French kitchen program in order to better the experience of future users.

Throughout the project's three years the technology will be refined in a number of ways. The LanCook kitchen will include more materials to support users as they learn, allowing them to hear instructions repeated with emphasis on key words, or alongside an image or video. While the French kitchen offered additional cooking tips to all users, the LanCook kitchen will only offer them to those who do not require much help with the basic instructions, thus catering to students of varying abilities. We are also working on ways to have the kitchen notify users of mistakes during the preparatory stages of cooking, rather than simply repeat instructions.

For greater ease of use and cost-efficiency, the project will use the AK-Lite, a portable version of the Ambient Kitchen that includes a tablet computer, set of utensils, and WAX sensors to apply to the items that users supply themselves, such as ingredients and stationary equipment. The portable kitchens will be sent to partners in November 2012, with full trials beginning early in 2013.

Collaborators: University of HelsinkiUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaUniversity of PaderbornAutonomous University of Barcelona.