Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Evaluation of the Learning Effectiveness of Concept Map-Based Science Book Reading Via Mobile Devices

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

An Evaluation of the Learning Effectiveness of Concept Map-Based Science Book Reading Via Mobile Devices

Article excerpt

Introduction

Printed books have been advocated as an important learning resource (Fletcher & Reese, 2005; Ortiz, Stowe, & Arnold, 2001) and have been linked to language development (Whitehurst et al., 1988), emergent literacy (Allor & McCathren, 2003; Whitehurst & Lonigan, 1998), oral and written skills (Whitehurst & Lonigan 1998), and even science learning (Chen, Teng, Lee, & Kinshuk, 2011). When reading books, children activate and integrate their prior knowledge with the book content, use strategic processes to identify key concepts, synthesize and summarize information, make inferences, and participate in the story (Paris & Paris, 2003). However, for learning content that is abstract, such as science or mathematics, children might lose interest in reading the books without learning supports (Mantzicopoulos & Patrick, 2010, 2011).

In the past decades, owing to the advancement and growing popularity of computer and network technologies, a considerable number of digital books have been developed to provide a more convenient channel for people to learn; however, numerous learners still prefer reading printed books (Ackerman & Goldsmith, 2008; Chao & Chen, 2009; Chen, Teng, Lee, & Kinshuk, 2011; O'Hara & Sellen, 1997). Furthermore, researchers have reported the benefits of learning with printed books; for example, O'Hara and Sellen (1997) pointed out the major advantage of printed book reading, including (1) free-text annotation, which helps learners highlight, underline, summarize, and/or annotate; (2) quick navigation, which helps learners navigate the text quickly and automatically; and (3) flexibility of spatial layout, which helps learners gain a sense of overall structure, cross referencing and interleaving of reading/writing. The study of Ackerman and Goldsmith (2008) showed that the learning achievement of students who learned with printed texts was better than that of students who learned with digital texts. That is, printed books remain an effective means of learning. On the other hand, researchers have pointed out some problems of reading printed books, including the lack of learning supports, such as supplementary materials and learning guiding tools (Dunser & Hornecker, 2007). Therefore, it remains an important issue to provide learning supports for printed book reading (Chen, Teng, Lee, & Kinshuk, 2011).

Recently, the advancement of mobile and wireless communication technologies has further offered an opportunity for providing support for reading activities with digitalized supplementary materials. For example, several studies have demonstrated the convenience of using mobile devices in supporting and augmenting paper-based learning (Chao & Chen, 2009; Chen, et al., 2011; Ozcelik & Acarturk, 2011). Hwang, Tsai and Yang (2008) further defined the learning approach that employs mobile, wireless communication and sensing technologies to enable students to learn in real-world environments with access to digital resources as context-aware ubiquitous learning (u-learning).

On the other hand, scholars have emphasized the importance of providing scaffolding, a kind of instructional support, to help learners achieve goals that they cannot accomplish on their own (Kuo, Hwang, & Lee, 2012; Peng et al., 2009; Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976). For example, the studies of Chu, Hwang and Tsai (2010) and Hwang, Chu, Lin and Tsai (2011) showed the effectiveness of using knowlege construction tools in helping students conduct ecology observations for a natural science course. Chen et al. (2011) further indicated that the provision of scaffolding could benefit learners in reading. Among various learning strategies or tools, concept maps have been considered as being an effective tool for facilitating meaningful learning by helping students to link their prior knowledge with new experiences as well as organizing the accumulated knowledge (Liu, Chen, & Chang, 2010). …

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