Building Mobile Social Presence for U-Learning

Building Mobile Social Presence for U-Learning

Chih-Hsiung Tu (Northern Arizona University, USA), Marina S. McIsaac (Educational Media & Arizona State University, USA), Laura E. Sujo-Montes (Northern Arizona University, USA) and Shadow Armfield (Northern Arizona University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch004
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Mobile learning environments are human networks that afford learners the opportunity to participate in creative endeavors, social networking, organize and reorganize social contents, learner-created cognitive space, and manage social acts anytime and anywhere through mobile technologies. Social interaction with mobile technology is very different from Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) or Web 2.0 networking technologies. Effective mobile interaction focuses on social-context awareness by integrating location-based technology, which is unique to mobile technology, not easily found in other types of commuting. This chapter proposes a model for mobile social presence consisting of four dimensions: enriching social context-awareness, managing location-based communication, personalizing multi-layered interactivity, and optimizing digital and social identities. Under each dimension there are a few suggested strategies or tips to assist educators in integrating them into their mobile instructions to enhance the mobile-social presence of learners.
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Mobile Social Presence

Online social presence could be a critical factor to the understanding of social interaction in mobile learning environments. Although Shin & Lowes (2007) preliminarily concluded that active network users did not demonstrate higher social presence in online discussion. Boulos, & Wheelert (2007) & Dunlap & Lowenthal (2009) argued that social network technologies would positively relate to online immediacy and presence. Online social presence should not be overlooked when one ponders integrating mobile learning environments to improve socio-cultural learning.

Online social presence is the degree of feeling, perception, and reaction of being connected by computer-mediated communication (CMC) to another intellectual entity through electronic media (Tu & McIsaac, 2002) and is explained from four dimensions, social context, online community, interactivity, and privacy. Network social presence (Tu, Yen, Blocher, & Chan, 2012) is defined as the degree that network participants engage in creating, maintaining, sharing, connecting social content, digital and social identities, network linkages, and collaborative community.

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