Mobile Learning in the Era of IoT: Is Ubiquitous Learning the Future of Learning?

Mobile Learning in the Era of IoT: Is Ubiquitous Learning the Future of Learning?

Koralia Papadokostaki (Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece), Spyros Panagiotakis (Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece), Athanasios Malamos (Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece) and Kostas Vassilakis (Hellenic Mediterranean University, Greece)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1486-3.ch013
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Teaching is always affected by the advent of technology. Nowadays, mobile devices can offer an air of innovation in classrooms and multiple benefits in learning. On the other hand, IoT is expanding rapidly and promises to provide education with new dynamics: sensors and beacons may contribute to pervasive provision of educational content to students, whereas wearables can track the students' interaction with educational objects. As a result, learning is changing and may happen anywhere, anytime, and with any means. This evolution, described under the term Ubiquitous learning, promises to be the future of education for all ages and needs. This chapter presents the transformation of learning from traditional to e-learning, mobile learning, and Ubiquitous learning, and discusses the features and applications of the latter. Furthermore, authors describe the Experience API specification and investigate how it can be used to implement adaptive learning applications and make Ubiquitous learning a reality not only in typical but also in Early Childhood learning.
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Education is reformed. Following the accelerated progress in technology, high-tech breakthrough could not be missed in classrooms. Already, schools across the world have introduced tablets in classrooms or adopted the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement (Ballagas, Rohs, Sheridan, & Borchers, 2004) and 3D printers are installed in many school labs. The use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in classrooms seems more and more promising (Horváth, 2019) and innovations such as holograms (‘7 Ways Holographic Technology Will Make Learning More Fun’, n.d.; ‘Potential and Applications of Holograms To Engage Learners’, n.d.) or biometrics (Dafoulas, Maia, Clarke, Ali, & Augusto, 2018) are the near future of education. Moreover, Learning Management Systems (LMSs) are indispensable in large educational organizations, but with the spread of social media, social platforms have been used or developed (such as the educational social media Edmodo) (‘Edmodo’, n.d.) to enhance communication between teachers and students (‘The Evolution of Technology in the Classroom | Purdue University Online’, n.d.). The importance of involving video streaming platforms, such as YouTube into education has also been identified (Fleck, Beckman, Sterns, & Hussey, 2014), whereas Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) become more and more popular and competitive. Moreover, the use of technology in almost every aspect of our everyday life reinforces learning that happens outside the classroom, the so-called informal learning. Current technology offers a vast variety of means to support education and contributes significantly to pluralism in educational resources.

Children of very young age are becoming more and more familiar with new technologies and the internet. As the use of smartphones and tablets rises dramatically and mobile devices dominate our lives, their use by preschoolers and even toddlers seems inevitable (Kalogiannakis, Ampartzaki, Papadakis, & Skaraki, 2018; Papadakis & Kalogiannakis, 2017). At the same time, older children often own their own mobile device (Papadakis, Kalogiannakis, & Zaranis, 2016), while devices and applications specially designed for kids are constantly rising in demand (Papadakis & Kalogiannakis, 2017) . Children nowadays spend a lot of time using mobile devices and have evolved from “digital natives” (Papadakis et al., 2016), without exaggeration, to “iLearners” (Zaranis, Kalogiannakis, & Papadakis, 2013).

The advent of such a breakthrough, the Internet of Things (IoT) (Papadokostaki, Mastorakis, et al., 2017), may change education insurmountably. The vision of smart School (Abdel-Basset, Manogaran, Mohamed, & Rushdy, 2019) is not far: Wi-Fi locks and sensors will provide registered access to the school’s space, sensors may be placed on students for security or healthcare reasons, whereas their wearable’s may be equipped with sensors for automatic athletics tracking or monitoring. Sensors, beacons and physical computing devices along with fast connectivity all over the school facilities will improve the learning procedure and learning outcome (e.g. interactive dashboards connected to LMSs, personalized content etc.). Cyber-physical systems may simplify the management of the building (Abdel-Basset et al., 2019) (e.g. temperature/ lighting control, automatic cleaning, preventive maintenance) and take better use of resources (Papadokostaki et al., 2017). The applications of IoT in education are literally limitless (Mcrae, Ellis, & Kent, 2018) and the benefits for everyone will be grand.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Adaptive Learning: The philosophy of providing personalized educational material/methods to match the personal needs and characteristics of the learner. That means providing the right content to the right person, at the proper time, in the most appropriate way. Adaptive learning means more efficient learning.

Experience API (xAPI/ formerly Tin Can API): an open source, learning technologies interoperability specification that defines explicitly how tracking of learner activities and experiences between technologies should be delivered. It is licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 and is used in various Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Authoring Tools and Training Systems.

Learning Analytics: The extraction of knowledge from educational procedure(s). Tracking and processing statistics about the learners’ /class’s behavior may lead to powerful conclusions and serious decisions.

Ubiquitous Learning (U-Learning): the form of learning where “all students have access to a variety of digital devices and services, including computers connected to the Internet and mobile computing devices, whenever and wherever they need them”. Mobile devices, IoT devices and sensors/beacons are the main means of education, where wireless connections are a catalyst for the provision of the educational material. In u-Learning learning happens literally everywhere.

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