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2000 Ubiquitous Computing for Teaching, Learning, and Communicating: Trends, Issues & Recommendations

Date: 2000
Author(s): Janette R. Hill, Thomas C. Reeves, Heike Heidemeier
Affiliation: Department of Instructional Technology College of Education, The University of Georgia
Keywords: teaching, learning, constructivist education


What will it take for computing technologies to have desirable effects in formal learning environments such as the schools we have today? There are many answers to this question, including better teacher training, closer integration into the curriculum, and a more precise alignment with assessment. However, some researchers examining the integration of technology in the schools maintain that one of the primary factors impacting success is more access to the technology. It is proposed that access to computing must be as simple and easy as possible, and available on a just-in-time, when-needed basis. Indeed, some have argued that computing technologies must become mission critical tools, creating a situation where not having them would prevent learners and teachers from completing their work on a day-to-day basis.

As a theory of learning, constructionism provides a powerful rationale for the integration of ubiquitous computing within a school via laptops. As a strategy for educational practice, constructionism provides models that integrate problem-based or project-based learning approaches with collaborative learning principles.

Key Findings:

The study lists seven pedagogical goals for designers of constructivist learning environments:

1. Provide experience with the knowledge construction process.

2. Provide experience in and appreciation for multiple perspectives.

3. Embed learning in realistic and relevant contexts.

4. Encourage ownership and voice in the learning process.

5. Embed learning in social experience.

6. Encourage the use of multiple modes of representation.

7. Encourage self-awareness of the knowledge construction process.

*Although some aspects of these pedagogical goals may be implemented without the provision of ubiquitous computing via laptops, it should be obvious that such resources may enhance all of them. This is especially true for the last two, encouraging multiple modes of knowledge representation and self-awareness of the knowledge construction process Students should come to recognize their laptops and the programs on them as powerful cognitive tools for knowledge construction.

* The provision of a ubiquitous computing environment via laptop computers has great potential for extending time available for learning so that children who need more time can have it and those who wish to move ahead can do so without waiting for the rest of the class to catch up.

* To fully realize their potential, schools must integrate technologies on "high levels." As Hooper and Rieber argue, the focus should be on "educational technology" rather than on "technology in education." We need to move toward thinking of "idea technologies," emphasizing why technology integration is important and how it can extend and enhance what we do in the classroom. Idea technologies need to blend with technological production (i.e., the use of hardware and software to create things) to promote learning in classrooms. Creating an effective "partnership of idea and product technologies" is a major challenge related to integrating laptop computers into learning environments.

Source Article: http://lpsl.coe.uga.edu/projects/aalaptop/pdf/UbiquitousComputing.pdf