Embedding Ubiquitous Technologies

Embedding Ubiquitous Technologies

Susan A. Elwood (Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-960-1.ch033
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Abstract

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). In Weiser’s (2006) third wave of computing, we achieve a vision of multiple computers per person in which “technology recedes into the background of our lives” (p. 1). To reach this point, each individual would need a personal computing device. Studies have shown that students are increasingly gaining access to computers outside of school, whether it be in their own home, a neighbor’s house, or the public library. However, schools have yet to even achieve a ratio of one computer per student (Bull & Ferster, 2005-2006). During this time, we have experienced distinct phases of computing that include: (1) the strife for one-to-one computing, and (2) portable devices with wireless access. Each of these phases has revealed some insights into future ubiquitous technologies and research. According to America’s Digital Schools (ADS) 2006 five-year forecast, “the transition to mobile computing will help facilitate the transition to ubiquitous computing, which is not practical in desktop computer environments” (Hayes Connection & Greaves Group, 2006, p.1).

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