Sensory Books team gathering

On the 16th of August, the Sensory Books team held their first group gathering after the summer holidays. It was a momentous event since the team welcomed to Stavanger, Lotte Meeuwissen, the play, design and learning consultant of the research project.

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Sensory books dinner

Prior to this meeting, Lotte along with Elisabeth Stray Gausel and Selim Tosun, visited Vitenfabrikken to experience the interactive exhibition which we have created; The Three Little Pigs, that showcases the story enhanced with smells and with the goal to enrich the learning experience of the children. The scent boxes that are part of this exhibition were produced and developed by Lotte, and it was therefore extra exciting to show her how the exhibition had taken shape.

At the meeting, Lotte and Elisabeth were joined by Natalia Kucirkova, the research team leader, Janine Campbell, a post-doc team member, Radel James Gacumo, a research fellow team member, Selim Tosun, a visiting PhD student from Turkey, and Ingrid Veronika Løkken, a post-doc team member who joined digitally. After a lunch, Natalia started the gathering with welcome remarks and the introduction of the Sensory Books research project.
It was a productive session wherein the members and participants have discussed their individual topics and the overall research project.

Ingrid’s presentation focused on the historical aspects and contemporary research that deal with the early childhood education and care (ECEC) in the Norwegian context and the Nordic model. Also, she discussed the importance of book reading with the emphasis on the ECEC setting. This was followed by a discussion of Radel. He started with a brief overview of the Sensory Books work packages and its current progress. Then, he presented the importance of smell in the aspect of learning and education. He proposed how smell and gender could play a role in reading children’s books that champion identity and gender diversity.

On the other hand, Selim shared two topics of his interest. He delivered the summary of his PhD study that focuses on the 21st century skills for children. He intends to conduct a meta-analysis of studies that evolve around the aforementioned topic. Furthermore, he discussed the benefits of augmented reality in learning. Finally, Lotte introduced her previous works that deal with olfaction. Her expertise on play, design and learning plays a great role in crafting the digital olfactory books that are intended to be used in the project's experiments.

Lotte presented the first design of the prototype of the olfactory book. She created small cubes that emit smell of particular objects that are present in the children’s storybook. Lotte incorporated various smells in the children’s book Peter Follows His Nose. After Lotte presented the prototypes to the team members, a workshop with parents and children followed. The prototypes were used by volunteer parents and children to see how they interact with olfactory books. This workshop provided meaningful insights to Lotte and the research team on how the incorporation of olfaction and children’s literature can be seamless and beneficial towards reading and learning of children.