Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Folksonomy-Based Guidance Mechanism for Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning: A Case Study of Chinese Scenic Poetry Appreciation Activities

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Folksonomy-Based Guidance Mechanism for Context-Aware Ubiquitous Learning: A Case Study of Chinese Scenic Poetry Appreciation Activities

Article excerpt


In recent years context-aware ubiquitous learning (u-learning) has become a hot research topic (Chiou et al., 2010; Chu et al., 2010; Hwang, Kuo et al., 2010; Hwang, Tsai et al., 2008; Hwang et al., 2009; Yang, 2006). In context-aware ubiquitous learning environments, students' learning behaviors can be detected by sensors embedded in real-world resources. Thus, learning systems can provide students with adaptive learning support. In spite of its benefits, context-aware ubiquitous learning has been primarily applied to the instruction of subjects with well-structured knowledge and subjects whose knowledge is mostly defined with correct answers, such as natural science, science experiments and language training. For example, digital guidance can be provided for pupils to observe and classify real-world plants and insects in ubiquitous learning activities (Hwang, Chu et al., 2010). The main reason for this is that existing approaches to acquiring knowledge of such subjects can be adopted for learning guidance. Repertory grids, decision trees and knowledge engineering approaches have been proposed to construct knowledge bases for learning guidance (Chu et al., 2010; Hwang, Chu et al., 2010). This study extends the application of ubiquitous learning to subjects which are aimed to train students to be creative and imaginative, beyond the cognitive skills of memorization and comprehension. Chinese scenic poems describe scenery in high- level ancient Chinese and express profound concepts by implication, which are difficult for children without related experiences to understand. Our idea is to use a ubiquitous learning environment to guide students to construct experience related to the poems.

In this paper a folksonomy-based approach is proposed to record, accumulate, organize and share students' feelings related to poems while learning Chinese poetry outdoors. Then, folksonomy-based knowledge can be used to guide students in learning Chinese poetry. A folksonomy is a user-generated taxonomy employed to categorize and retrieve web content such as Web pages, photographs and Web links using user-defined labels called tags (Jaschke et al., 2008; Tsui et al., 2010). Typically, a folksonomy has a flat structure consisting of several user-defined categories. In essence, the tags are organized according to poems and locations. Also, what the students see, do and feel is recorded in the folksonomy. By making use of GPS-enabled (Global Positioning Systems) smart phones, the student's location can be recorded by the backend server and thus, while learning Chinese poetry outdoors, students can receive appropriate recommendations and guidance which will enhance their learning experience and learning activities. In addition, students can express the intended concepts learned from the poems by providing text tags or/and photographs.

Chinese poetry instruction, unlike natural science instruction, is not structural and procedural. The value of its knowledge is not to request students to memorize standard answers. Instead, the instruction of Chinese poetry emphasizes thinking and feeling. Therefore, students need in-time guidance to transform experiences into knowledge. The aims of the research have been stated as the following research questions:

(1) What are students' attitudes toward the use of this system?

(2) What are teachers' attitudes toward the use of this system?

(3) What is the effectiveness of the folksonomy-based guidance mechanism?

To show the effectiveness of the innovative approach a ubiquitous learning system was implemented to conduct Chinese scenic poetry appreciation activities in a fifth-grade Chinese course in Taiwan; forty-eight students participated in the learning activity. The results from the surveys and interviews that were conducted to understand the functionalities of the system and the learning effectiveness for the students show that the system had a positive impact on students' learning, especially on the affective domain including participation, motivation and interaction. …

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