Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Using Annotation Services in a Ubiquitous Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Environment

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Using Annotation Services in a Ubiquitous Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Environment

Article excerpt

Introduction

In recent years, the use of wireless technology has become increasingly popular and its use in education is expanding rapidly. Handheld devices are essential components of this type of learning. The handheld devices utilized in mobile learning (m-Learning) usually include mobile phones (also called cellphones or handphones), smartphones, palmtops, and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) which are portable, lightweight devices, often small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand. "Wireless [access] is an important key to e-learning [since] it takes e-learning to the field, where the best hands-on learning takes place," said Robert Meinhardt, AvantGo's vice-president of Enterprise Marketing (Setaro, 2001). At this time, mobile learning (which can be regarded as an integrated achievement of combining advanced handheld devices and wireless technologies) has attracted a great deal of attention and expectations regarding its promise are high (Roschelle & Pea, 2002; Norris & Soloway, 2004). The environments in which the study of mobile learning has been conducted have some features found in previous studies, including: (1) the enhancement of availability and accessibility of information networks; (2) engaging students in learning-related activities in diverse physical locations; (3) support of project-based group work; (4) the improvements of communication and collaborative learning in the classroom, and (5) supporting quick content delivery (Gay et al., 2001; Roschelle & Pea, 2002; Hoppe et al., 2003; Liu et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2004; Liang et al., 2005). Considering the features listed above, it can be argued that mobile learning environments may be more suitable than conventional classrooms or computer classrooms for encouraging teaching and learning (Roschelle, 2003; Zurita et al., 2005).

A ubiquitous learning (u-Learning) environment which is a further step of mobile learning environment focuses on providing learning at the right time and the right place with right learning resources. The amount of studies which investigated the extension of mobile learning in ubiquitous learning environment has obviously increased in recent years (Wang et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2007; Hsieh et al., 2007). Due to the high mobility, handheld devices are often regarded as one kind of essential learning devices in a ubiquitous learning environment. A growing number of research studies have also suggested the benefit of the use of handheld devices in ubiquitous learning environments. However, most of studies focus on providing the learning opportunities at the right place rather than providing right resources. From education perspective, it is more difficult to provide appropriate learning materials for learners than providing a right learning environment. Since the assistance of software and hardware technologies, rendering an appropriate learning environment has been easily achieved nowadays. The appropriate learning materials should render to different learners according to their different learning abilities. Therefore, the process of material design needs experts to highly involve in. In this paper, we present how to carry out the discussion process among topic experts in a ubiquitous learning environment.

Another issue related to wireless learning is the use of annotation systems in educational settings, and this too has been widely discussed during the last decade. An annotation system is a system that can be used by students to make marks on electronic reading materials. There are two types of annotation proposed by Marshall (1997), namely inexplicit and explicit annotations. Explicit annotations (such as text) generally convey more information than inexplicit ones (such as highlighting, underlining, asterisks, arrows, and graphics). Annotation benefits learning in several areas, according to Yang et al. (2004), including attention, discussion, organization, and indexing. …

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