Integrated Paper-Based and Digital Learning Material for Smart Learners

Integrated Paper-Based and Digital Learning Material for Smart Learners

Sabrina Leone (Università Politecnica delle Marche, Italy)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch222

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Smart Learning, Smart Learners, And Inclusive Learning

Smart learners are lifelong learners (Leone, 2010) whose potential is unleashed by the seamless use of smart technologies (i.e., smartphones, tablets, tablet PCs, sensor network nodes, contact-less smart cards, RFID and QR codes) to access huge amounts of open resources and connections, anywhere anytime. Personal, and personalised, smart technologies increase a learner’s independence in a novel way, and makes the context for engaging in study more tailored and potentially self-directed (Middleton, 2015).

Smart learning encompasses any teaching and learning approach that flawlessly accommodates technology and enhances practice through social uses of new inclusive spaces. Fruitful interactions are the core of a smart learning cycle and are supported by a smart learning environment (Liu, Huang & Chang, 2015). Indeed, the current digital learning environment is gradually evolving into the smart learning environment (Li, Chang, Kravcik, Popescu, Huang, Kinshuk & Chen, 2015), that is a user-friendly space that facilitates easily accessible, appealing and effective learning. A learning environment may be considered smart when it includes adaptive technologies or innovative features and capabilities that improve understanding and performance. Specifically, features of smartness are

  • 1.

    Conversational support for learners, teachers and designers,

  • 2.

    Dynamic updating of student profiles, resources and databases, and

  • 3.

    Automatic [re-]configuration of interfaces to adjust to different learners and learning situations (Spector, 2014).

The concept of smart learning includes that of ubiquitous learning (uLearning). The only difference stands in the higher power of next generation (smart) technologies that are creating disruptive learning landscapes and learners’ profiles.

Today’s students expect always-on, available-anywhere information and personalised, multichannel learning. The term “classroom” is becoming more figurative than literal (IBM, 2015). In a smart learning environment the physical and virtual dimensions merge (Liu, Huang & Chang, 2015), and learning is inclusive.

Inclusive education is an essential component of lifelong learning; it is concerned with an individual’s effective participation in society and with the achievement of his/her full potential. The affordances of new educational technologies can enable the development of uLearning environments and of multimodal learning contents that foster inclusion, personalisation and interaction, provided that a learner-centred and technology-enhanced approach is adopted.

Internationally, inclusive education is increasingly understood more broadly as a change, in a holistic approach, that supports and welcomes diversity (in race, economic status, social class, ethnicity, language, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability) amongst all learners (UNESCO, 2009).

Since learning takes place in many contexts, formal, non-formal and informal, inclusive and quality education become synonyms and are vital for the development of more inclusive societies.

Specifically, quality learning is characterised by two important components: the learner’s cognitive development, and the promotion of values and attitudes of active citizenship and/or of creative and emotional development.

An inclusive curriculum is based on the four pillars of education for the 21st century – learning to know, to do, to be and to live together (Delors et al., 1996). Promoting inclusion means stimulating discussion, encouraging positive attitudes and improving educational and social frameworks. This involves changes in content, approaches, structures and strategies in order to provide all learners with flexible and personalised learning to meet individual needs, abilities and learning styles.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Formal Learning: Hierarchically structured, chronologically graded educational system running from primary through to tertiary institutions.

QR (Quick Response) Code: A bidimensional code (it displays information in both vertical and horizontal directions) that can hold larger amounts and different kinds of contents (e.g., website addresses, texts, numerical information, contact details) than a normal bar code (monodimensional). The information stored in a QR code can be readily decoded and accessed by a mobile device with an embedded camera and free code reading software installed.

QRcode Format: A technology-enhanced learning format to be implemented in a learner-centred learning environment to offer inclusive, personalised (different learning styles and goals) and flexible (anytime, anywhere) learning by the integration of paper-based and digital learning materials through QR code.

Lifelong Learning: A holistic vision of learning in different contexts (formal, non-formal and informal) and throughout life, based on the evolution of provider-driven education toward personalised learning and aiming at improving knowledge, skills and competencies within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related outlook.

Informal Learning: Unstructured learning that allows persons to acquire attitudes, values, skills and knowledge from daily experience, within the individual’s environment (i.e., family, friends, peer groups, etc.).

Inclusive Learning: Learning that allows to meet not only special needs, but also diverse needs (e.g., different learning styles).

Ubiquitous Learning: Wireless learning supported by a large number of cooperative small nodes with computing and/or communication capabilities (e.g., handheld devices, sensor network nodes, contact-less smart cards, RFID and QR codes) and characterised by high mobility and embeddedness.

CSUL (Computer Supported Ubiquitous Learning) Environment: Everyday ubiquitous learning informed by the theories of authentic learning ( Brown, Collins & Duguid, 1989 ), situated learning ( Lave, & Wenger, 1991 ) and learning by doing ( Schank, 1995 ).

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