20.12. Technology integration in context-aware learning spaces

 

Public examination of a doctoral dissertation in the field of Computer Science

Doctoral candidate: M.Sc. Teemu Laine 

Date and venue: 20.12.2011 at 12.00 noon, Louhela auditorium, Joensuu Science Park, Joensuu
 

 ABSTRACT 

Context-aware learning spaces (CALSs) are mobile-based learning environments which utilise contextual resources, such as objects in the physical environment, in the learning process. The awareness of the surrounding context enables a CALS to take advantage of rich contextual resources in informal learning settings. Technology integration refers to the process by which a technology is introduced to a classroom so that the teacher and the students can use it effectively for pedagogical purposes. While technology integration has been typically researched in the context of formal classroom-based education, it has not received similar attention in informal learning settings, particularly in the case of CALSs, even though a large part of learning occurs in informal contexts as part of everyday life. 

Research and development work was conducted in Finland, South Korea, South Africa and Mozambique in 2007-2011. During those four years, two CALS platforms and ten CALSs based on the platforms were developed using an exploratory software development method. The platforms were based on the client-server architectural approach and utilised technologies such as mobile devices, sensors, smart tags and wireless networking. The created CALSs were games for various purposes and contexts including, but not limited to, mathematics in classrooms, environmental awareness in a forest, history in a technology museum, and science in a science festival. 

The analyses conducted on the games, together with literature analyses, informed the creation process of a technology integration model which describes the requirements and the critical factors that should be taken into account in the design phase of a CALS. Furthermore, based on the model and a literature analysis, a tool was created to facilitate the evaluation of technology integration in CALSs. An evaluation conducted with the tool indicated that it provides more accurate results with a smaller data set than an evaluation without the tool. 

This research represents both practical and theoretical perspectives, thus proposing an holistic approach to technology integration in CALSs. The outcomes fulfill the overall objective which was to provide the developers with the tools for construction and evaluation of CALSs in which technologies have been integrated effectively so that they do not disturb the learner. 

The doctoral dissertation of M.Sc. Teemu Laine entitled Technology integration in context-aware learning spaces”  will be examined at the Faculty of Science and Forestry. The opponent in the public examination is Professor Alfredo Terzoli, Rhodes University, South Africa and the custos is Professor Erkki Sutinen of the University of Eastern Finland.

Photo available for download at http://www.uef.fi/vaitoskuvat

Contact: Teemu Laine, tel. + 358 50 327 9922, teemu.laine@uef.fi

Publishing year: 2011

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