The New Media Research Lab (NMRL) accommodates the How We Learn (Technology Across the Lifespan) and Encountering Technology and Emotion(s) funded research projects. The NMRL provides office and media engagement space for faculty and graduate students focusing on new media. The lab is equipped with hubs for gaming and media production, including the design and testing of chatbots.
In the summer of 2008, we were awarded a Canada Foundation for Innovation grant which, when combined with the matching BC Knowledge Development Fund contribution to the project and other funds, will provide $200,000 to develop a Learning Sciences and Technologies Research Lab or LSTRL. This lab will be among the first facilities in Canada oriented toward examining how qualities of new technologies and new modes of engagement interact and affect learning. The facility will be designed to manipulate these two primary variables of learning with single individual subjects and small groups (up to twenty participants). The lab will consist of an experimental area and a perimeter of office and storage space. The experimental area will be easily partitioned into between two and six smaller areas and reconfigurable, allowing researchers and participants flexibility in redesigning collaborative and mobile computing aspects of the space. A range of devices (cell phones, e-book readers, media centres, PDAs), selected for specific qualities (flexibility, interactivity, mobility and modularity) will be networked into the experimental area to isolate various qualities. This will in turn allow us to create conditions through which participants’ modes of engagement can be controlled and monitored. And by reconfiguring how select devices operate and interface with each other, and with interactive equipment in the lab (servers, smart board, surface computing), their qualities can be manipulated or simulated.