The European Digital Kitchen Project


  • Paul Seedhouse Newcastle University
  • Anne Preston Newcastle University
  • Patrick Olivier Newcastle University
  • Dan Jackson Newcastle University
  • Philip Heslop Newcastle University
  • Madeline Balaam Newcastle University
  • Ashur Rafiev Newcastle University
  • Matthew Kipling Newcastle University


This article reports on the European Digital Kitchen, an EU-funded language learning project which promotes learning of languages, cultures and cuisines in digital interactive kitchens. The project involves taking a normal kitchen and specifically adapting it for language learning using the next generation of digital technology, namely activity recognition and sensor technology. We intend that learners will be able to learn aspects of the language whilst performing a meaningful real-world task and will simultaneously experience the cultural aspect of learning to cook a foreign dish.

The article starts by outlining the project background, including rationale, motivation and aims. We then explain in detail how the technology works (using photographs) and outline our design methodology, which blends Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). We then present 3 extracts of Digital Kitchen interaction to illustrate the type of learning which takes place.




digital technology, language learning, Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT), Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)


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Author Biographies

Paul Seedhouse, Newcastle University

Paul Seedhouse is Professor of Educational and Applied Linguistics and School Research Director in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences,  Newcastle University, UK. His monograph The Interactional Architecture of the Language Classroom was published by Blackwell in 2004 and won the Modern Languages Association of America Mildenberger Prize. He has worked with colleagues in Computer Science at Newcastle to develop iLab:Learn, a centre to develop digital educational technology. He had an EPSRC grant to develop the French Digital Kitchen, which won the EU Language Label prize 2011. He currently has a grant from the European Union to build kitchens which use digital technology to teach users six European languages and cuisines.

Anne Preston, Newcastle University

Anne is a researcher in iLab:Learn, a practice-based research lab in ECLS which undertakes world-class research in education and Information Communication Technologies by combining pedagogic theory, methods and practice in situated learning applications to motivate, develop and evaluate technology enhanced learning.

Patrick Olivier, Newcastle University

Professor of Human-Computer Interaction in the School of Computing Science at Newcastle University. I lead the Digital Interaction Group in Culture Lab, Newcastle's centre for interdisciplinary practice-based research in digital technologies.

Dan Jackson, Newcastle University

Senior Research Associate, School of Computing Science

Philip Heslop, Newcastle University

Senior Computing Officer

Madeline Balaam, Newcastle University

She is a lecturer in the School of Computing Science within Newcastle University. Specifically, her research is concerned with Interaction Design for healthcare, education and wellbeing. she has worked with a wide range of age-groups and participants, her particular interest is in working with children and particularly teenagers in order to developi new methods of engagement and design to use with these younger age groups.

Ashur Rafiev, Newcastle University

Research Associate in Computing Science at Newcastle University.




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