Student Development of E-Workbooks: A Case for Situated-Technology Enhanced Learning (STEL) Using Net Tablets

Student Development of E-Workbooks: A Case for Situated-Technology Enhanced Learning (STEL) Using Net Tablets

Selena Chan (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand), Katrina Fisher (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand) and Peter Sauer (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch020
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The project reported in this chapter is based on the combination, inter-relationships and synergies of four pedagogical approaches to improve student engagement with learning. These approaches are mobile learning; constructivist learning, with contemporary emphasis in the form of connectivism; situated learning of skills in purpose-built workrooms and workshops mirroring ‘real-world' practice environments; and multimodal and multi-literate user interactivity. In the project, the interactions of the above four pedagogical approaches, led to the development of ‘situated-technology-enhanced learning' (STEL). Situated-technology enhanced learning is enabled through the deployment of net tablets in the form of ipad2s and Android operating system tablets and a selection of mobile apps. Of importance is the use of net tablets to encourage students to create their own E-textbooks or E-workbooks. These E-workbooks are collated by collecting and annotating photos, videos, and notes of students' progressive skills and knowledge learning as practical learning and theory-based learning activities occur in specialised workshops/workrooms. This project evaluated how to best deploy situated-technology enhanced learning to increase student engagement in learning; encourage teaching and learning activities based on student-centred and student-generated learning approaches; and develop teaching staff and student capability in using technology to support student learning. The overarching theme arising from the study was the need to enable students and staff to utilise technology for learning. An outcome of this project is the derivation of guidelines, achieved through the project's participative action research approach, to assist other vocational educational institutions to introduce net tablets into trades-based learning spaces.
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The project brings together two learning technologies, mobile learning (mlearning) and ebooks, both of which are predicted to become main stream within educational settings in the next one to two years (Johnson et al., 2011). The project is a continuation of mobile learning projects undertaken at CPIT from 2005 to 2009 (Chan, 2011a, 2011b). Ubiquitous computing, using mobile hardware (in this case net tablets) and wireless internet access, creates optimum conditions for enhancing student learning. The net tablets used in this project are mobile tablet computers with wireless access to the internet running applications (called apps) that include eBook readers. The educational use of net tablets, coupled with a constructivist, student-centered learning approach, holds great potential. However, although the use of net tablets in education is still in development, the deployment of net tablets into vocational education workshop learning environments offers much promise for extending the original tenets of mobile learning–to create available, anywhere learning opportunities (Belshaw, 2011).

In the next section, short overviews of the four pedagogical approaches framing the project are provided. These four approaches offer background information for planning, deployment and evaluation of the project. Each approach is now briefly discussed.

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