Since the onset of technology as a tool in our personal and professional lives, we’ve progressed through at least two waves or stages of computing. The concept of ubiquitous computing names the third wave of computing, still in its infancy stages. The first wave consisted of mainframe computers shared by numerous people. The majority of society is presently in the second wave of the personal computing era, where people and machines interact through a predominantly iconic environment. The third phase of computing, referred to as ubiquitous computing, or the age of calm technology, takes place when technology recedes into the background of our daily lives. Alan Kay of Apple calls this the “third paradigm” of computing, while Weiser coins it as the “third wave” of computing (Weiser, 1996).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Mobile Technologies: Devices such as PDAs or smart phones, that can store, access, create, modify, organize, or otherwise manipulate data in various forms from mobile locations. Such devices can be used to store, modify, view, and transfer a wide range of file formats. These same devices can be used to store, access, modify, and remote-connect to databases. They can also fit in your pocket and typically run on rechargeable batteries.
Mobile Education: “Learning is mobile in terms of space; it is mobile in different areas of life; it is mobile with respect to time” ( Vavoula & Sharples, 2002 ).
Calm Technology: This type of technology aims to reduce information overload by letting the user select what information is at the center of their attention and what information is peripheral. Calm technology is envisioned to not only relax the user, but move unneeded information to the edge of an interface, thus allowing more information to exist there, ready for selection when needed.
Reverse Mentoring: Reverse mentoring relationships are developed to gain technical expertise and a different perspective. They are not necessarily a younger to older person match, but rather more a peer-to-peer relationship where both people have a lot to teach and lot to learn. In an educational setting, this is usually experienced by teachers who have students assist them with technology in either informed curricular design assistance or technical assistance.
1:1 (One-to-One) Computing: A definition of personal computing access and use defined as “each student and teacher [having] one Internet-connected wireless computing device for use both in the classroom and at home” ( Hayes Connection & Greaves Group, 2006 , p. 1).
Smart Technology: Technologies that allow sensors, databases, and wireless access to collaboratively sense, adapt, and provide for users within the environment. Such smart technologies are currently found in housing designs for elderly and educational environments similar to sensors and information feeds within museums.
Ubiquitous Computing: This integrates computers into the environment through everyday objects that would enable people to interact with information-processing devices more naturally and casually than they currently do regardless of location or circumstance. For purposes of this paper, the definition is further delineated as a one-to-one computing environment in which each student and teacher has one Internet-connected wireless computing device for use both in the classroom and at home that is not shared with others ( Hayes Connection & Greaves Group, 2006 )