School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

iLab: Learn

ilab: learn

ilab: learn is a laboratory for developing appropriate educational applications of digital technology.


Digital equipment is located in the lab for active, creative use by staff and postgraduate research students.

ilabs are the Digital Institute’s vehicle for supporting and promoting the research, development and application of digital technologies within the University’s research.

Technologies include:

  • multi-touch and pen-based tabletops
  • a self-organised learning environment (SOLE)
  • mobile learning devices
  • digital kitchens and apps for task-based language learning
  • Video Enhanced Observation app

Collaborative work

The aims of ilab:learn are to combine our expertise in pedagogy with the School of Computer Science's expertise in:

  • web-based technologies
  • pervasive computing
  • situated interaction

Technological learning

We want to develop a program of technology enhanced learning research that exploits:

  • social computing
  • pervasive computing
  • situated interaction technologies and applications
  • mobile and tablet apps

We're keen to use theory and practice to motivate, develop and test technology enhanced learning. We want to tackle world-class research in applied linguistics, education and computer science.

Watch the ilab:learn film, here.

Projects and Grants

Digital Kitchens for Language Learning  - French Digital Kitchen. £156K EPSRC grant. PIs Paul Seedhouse and Patrick Olivier. The project won the EU European Language Label prize 2012.

Digital Kitchens for Language Learning  - Lancook. PIs Paul Seedhouse and Patrick Olivier. Grant of €400K received from the EU Lifelong Learning Programme

Digital Kitchens for Language Learning  - Linguacuisine. Grant of €324K from the European Union Erasmus Plus Programme. PI Paul Seedhouse. Co-I Ahmed Kharrufa. Research Software Engineer Phil Heslop.

Digital Mysteries A program based on an established paper-based learning tool, it is popular with teachers who value problem-solving and collaboration due to its open-ended nature and focus on group work. Lead: Ahmed Kharrufa.

EuroSOLE. Grant of €391K from the European Union Erasmus Plus Programme.  PI Helen Burns. A project to develop new forms of self-organised learning that empower young people, in order to support schools with tacking early school leaving. RA Liz Hidson.

PROPIC Europa an Erasmus+ project (€77K) which aims to empower prospective teachers and teacher educators to actively engage in lifelong learning processes and to cooperatively establish a culture of self-reflection, innovation and interculturality in foreign and second language learning and teaching. UK Co-I Paul Seedhouse; RA Alison Whelan. 

Sole Central SOLE Central is a global hub for research into self-organised learning environments (SOLEs). It brings together researchers, practitioners, policymakers and entrepreneurs.

VEO Group Video Enhanced Observation pulls together the power of video and data for effective professional learning. Directors; Paul Miller and Jon Haines.

VEO Europa VEO Europa is an Erasmus+ funded project (€268K) which aimed to improve the quality of teaching and learning through using an innovative technological approach developed at Newcastle University – the VEO App  – to support initial teacher training and continuing professional development. PI Paul Seedhouse; RA Liz Hidson.

Communities, Languages and Activities App (ENACT), a €270K Erasmus Plus grant 2019-2021 (Satar and Seedhouse). ENACT will develop a responsive web app offering a real-world immersive learning experience with a task-based digital learning pedagogy.

Publications on ilab:learn projects

Digital Tabletop for Task-Based Language Learning

Digital Kitchens for Language Learning and book


Digital Mysteries


Sole Central

VEO Europa and ibook

ilab: learn staff

Helen Burns
Senior Research Associate & Research Excellence Fellow

Telephone: 07794121628

Jon Haines
Lecturer, Secondary PGCE Science

Telephone: + 44 (191) 208 6597

Professor David Leat
Prof of Curriculum Innovation

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6578

Dr Müge Satar
Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7797

Professor Paul Seedhouse
Professor of Educational and Applied Linguistics

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 8873

Telephone: 07966 865 860

Dr Ahmed Kharrufa
Lecturer in Human-Computer Interaction, Open Lab

Paul Miller
CEO, VEO Group


Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6433

ilab: learn PhD Student Projects

The Korean Digital Kitchen by Jaeuk Park

VEO for Professional Development by Saziye Tasdemir

The Chinese Digital Kitchen by Simin Ren

The Vietnamese Digital Kitchen  by Trang Nguyen

Research Impact

Applied Linguistics impact strategy is primarily delivered through ilab:learn, an 11-year collaboration with Computing Science. ilab:learn (Seedhouse, Satar, Ganassin) is a physical laboratory for developing appropriate educational and applied linguistic applications of digital technology. Digital equipment is located in the lab for active, creative use by staff and pgr students. ilab:learn hosts visits from local schools and refugee groups and delivers events in the community. The lab has delivered 4 EU-funded grants and technologies (Lancook, Linguacuisine, VEO Europa, ENACT) and 4 PhD students (Park, Ren, Tasdemir, Trang) have employed the technologies and contributed to publications. The book ‘Task-Based Language Learning in a Real-World Digital Environment’ presents research studies on the Lancook project, and the impact case study ‘Learning Languages As You Cook’ describes how the Linguacuisine app has provided free digital infrastructure on a worldwide scale for using and exchanging language learning recipes.