Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Social Knowledge Awareness Map for Computer Supported Ubiquitous Learning Environment

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

Social Knowledge Awareness Map for Computer Supported Ubiquitous Learning Environment

Article excerpt

Introduction

Educational technology is now growing rapidly in order to satisfy the learner's needs. Learning at anytime and anywhere is one of the strongest trends that researches focus on. A ubiquitous computing environment enables people to learn at anytime and anywhere. Ubiquitous computing is a model of human-computer interaction that enhances the computer use by making many computers available throughout the physical environment in invisible way. The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it (Weiser, 1991). A ubiquitous computing environment utilizes a large number of cooperative small nodes with computing and/or communication capabilities such as handheld terminals, smart mobile phones, sensor network nodes, contact-less smart cards, and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) ... etc (Sakamura and Koshizuka, 2005).

The RFID tag makes it possible to tag almost everything, replace the barcode, help computers to be aware of their surrounding objects and to detect the user's context (Borriello, 2005). We believe that, in the near future, RFID tags will be attached to almost all products; therefore we will be able to learn at anytime and anywhere from every object by scanning its RFID tag. The RFID system (Klaus and Rachel, 2000) consists of a tag, which is made up of a microchip with an antenna, and an interrogator or reader with an antenna. The reader sends out electromagnetic waves. The tag antenna is tuned to receive these waves. The chip modulates the waves that the tag sends back to the reader and the reader converts the new waves into digital data.

The challenge in the information-rich world is not to provide information at anytime and at anywhere but to say the right thing at the right time in the right way to the right person (Fischer, 2001; Fischer and Konomi, 2005). The use of ubiquitous computing tools within a situated learning approach is recommended to facilitate the students' attainment of curricular content, technology skills, and collaboration skills (Lin et al., 2005). The main characteristics of Computer Supported Ubiquitous Learning (CSUL) are permanency, accessibility, immediacy, interactivity, and situating of instructional activities (Chen et al., 2002; Curtis, et al., 2002). However, the fundamental issue is how to provide learners with the right information at the right time in the right way. Hence, the ubiquitous environment should be personalized according to the learner's situation. Personalization can be defined as the way in which information and services can be tailored in a specific way to match the unique and specific needs of an individual user (Renda and Straccia, 2005).

Many teachers and learners believe that learning by doing (Schank, 1995) is one of the best ways for learning. In learning by doing model, the teachers identify a specific set of skills to teach, embed that skills in a task, an activity, or a goal that the student will find it interesting or motivational, then the teachers can evaluate the learner's understanding and skills according to how much the learner successes to reach to the goal. While the learner is doing a task, he usually looks for some knowledge. In order to get help from another learner you have to be aware of his interests and past actions. Therefore, it is very difficult to find suitable partners at the beginning of the collaboration. Dourish and Bellotti (1992) defined awareness as the understanding of the activities of others, which provides a context for your own activity. Collaborative awareness is frequently achieved by means of lightweight messaging tools and dynamic information displays that function as notification systems (Carroll et al., 2003). Knowledge Awareness (KA) is defined as awareness of the use of the knowledge (Ogata et al., 1996). KA has a close relation to the learner's curiosity (Ogata and Yano, 2000). …

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