Exploration of Tensions in a Mobile-Technology Supported Fieldtrip: An Activity Theory Perspective

Exploration of Tensions in a Mobile-Technology Supported Fieldtrip: An Activity Theory Perspective

Chih-Hung Lai (Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Dong Hwa University, Taipei, Taiwan), Fei-Ching Chen (Graduate Institute of Learning and Instruction, National Central University, Zhongli, Taiwan) and Jie-Chi Yang (Graduate Institute of Network Learning Technology, National Central University, Zhongli, Taiwan)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/ijdet.2014040106
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The purpose of this study was to analyze how mobile technologies were incorporated and implemented in an outdoor learning activity. Two classes of primary school students participated in the experiment. Using activity theory as an analytical framework, it is found that underlying tensions provided rich insights into system dynamics and that technological affordances could be limited by mismatches between the Tools themselves, and between Tools and the ways that were used by learners or arranged by the instructor. The subtle human factors present in the use of technologies should be carefully considered. The influence of mobile devices on learner experiences in experiential learning is also thoroughly discussed.
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Literature Review

Activity is referred to as “a form of doing that is directed towards the fulfillment of an object” (Kuutti, 1996). Activity theory is ‘a psychological and multidisciplinary theory with a naturalistic emphasis that offers a framework for describing activity and provides a set of perspectives on practice that interlink individual and social levels’ (Liaw et al., 2010). This framework uses ‘activity’ as the basic unit for studying human practices to help researchers understand the relationship between the human mind and activity (Engeström, 1987).

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