Friday, 4 April 2008

publication on emerging technologies for TELearning

Becta has published a new research report on emerging technologies in technology enhanced learning. Becta is the UK government's lead agency for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in education. This annual report is the third in his kind and all the reports are worth a read.

I have written down a synopsis on the article: Mobile, wireless, connected: information clouds and learning by Mark van't Hooft
you can read about it below the overview of all the articles.

a quick overview of the rest of the articles:
Growing up with Google: what it means to education
Diana Oblinger explores the ‘net generation’ who can seamlessly move
between their real and digital lives.
Location-based and context-aware education: prospects and perils
Location- and context-aware systems are expected to become increasingly
pervasive in the near future, and here Adam Greenfield discusses some of the
potential issues and pitfalls around implementation and reliance on such
Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds
Sara de Freitas looks at the development of virtual worlds and ‘serious games’
and how we can make best use of these technologies to support better
‘If it quacks like a duck…’ Developments in search technologies
Emma Tonkin examines the problem of finding and searching digital content on
the web and the limitations of current systems. She explores the semantic web, data mining, multimedia search and context-aware systems.
Interactive displays and next-generation interfaces
Michael Haller explores the potential of some emerging display and
interface technologies to improve interaction with computers and facilitate
collaborative activities in more natural and intuitive ways.

A more in-depth look at the mobile article "Mobile, wireless, connected
Information clouds and learning":
Mark van't Hooft focusses on new trends in mobile learning or as he writes it: "Mobile and wireless technologies provide opportunities for learning to become more personal and customised yet collaborative and networked, portable and situated, ubiquitous and lifelong...In sum, as our environment is becoming more flexible and unpredictable, so is our learning."

The short highlight on the web-on-the-go applications that allow users to both get information on- and off-line together with synchronization which gives you the ability to access data offline when there is no connectivity, and when you get on-line they automatically sync with what you have stored was nice. Mark mentioned Google Gears and Oracle 9iLite as good examples for this type of hybrid use, also referring to (personal) cloud computing because of the use of shared web-based applications. I also liked his reference to Vander Wal on cloud categories.

I also like his focus on context and the fact that context is so related to the understanding of a topic or piece of information (a huge factor for global (TE)learning). He points towards technologies that use location as an anchor point for digital information (object recognition, geo tagging, user recognition) and then goes on to the influence of web2.0 on the mobile realm.
After which he puts everything he mentioned together mobility/connectivity, user control, and rich experiences and looks on how this affects learning and which are the issues and barriers (for example ownership of mobile devices, relevance of technology, assessment of learning).

Yes it is definitely worth a read because it brings a lot of factors together in a concise way.

This report was brought to my attention by Stephen Downes and Wilfred Rubens.

Image credit: “nptechtag”; cambodia4kidsorg’s photostream: