The Use of Ubiquitous Learning for Children with Down Syndrome

The Use of Ubiquitous Learning for Children with Down Syndrome

Laura E. Sujo-Montes (Northern Arizona University, USA), Shadow Armfield (Northern Arizona University, USA), Cherng-Jyh Yen (Old Dominion University, USA) and Chih-Hsiung Tu (Northern Arizona University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch067
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Ubiquitous computing is opening new opportunities for learning. Researchers and philosophers are still debating what learning theory best explains computer ubiquitous learning. Meanwhile, as it has happened many times throughout history, individuals with disabilities are not able to benefit from such advances until late in the adoption curve. This chapter discusses (a) several learning theories that have the potential to explain computer ubiquitous learning, (b) uses of computer ubiquitous learning for and by individuals with Down syndrome, and (c) a new emerging model for computer ubiquitous learning.
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A Theoretical Framework For Computer Ubiquitous Learnin

More than a decade ago, Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobson, and Coulson (1992) explained constructivism from the cognitive flexibility and situated cognition theories perspectives. They stated that, in constructivism, “one must bring together, from various knowledge sources, an appropriate ensemble of information suited to the particular understanding or problem solving needs of the situation at hand” (p. 64, emphasis added). So, in a way, Spiro and partners connected constructivism (the self-construction of knowledge) with situated cognition. Even longer than that, Brown, Collins, and Duguid (1989) established that learning and acting are indistinguishable from each other because learning is actually a lifelong process that results from actions taken accordingly to situations faced; thus learning can be explained through situated cognition and lifelong learning. They also discussed that for learning to take place, three components need to be present: activity, concept, and culture – elements that are interdependent. Given the interdependency of the three components, it is not possible to understand one of the elements in isolation. As an extension, the use of tools (electronic or otherwise) to carry on an activity has deep implications for learning, as it will be impacted by the culture of the user. Furthermore, lifelong learning, as understood by Sharples (2000), explains the connection between this type of learning and ubiquitous learning when he states that “the abilities, approaches and tools for learning that a person gains from childhood onwards provide a context and resource for learning and performing in later life” (p. 178). Finally, Fischer and Konomi (2005) discuss that the understanding of the interactions between humans and technology can be explained by distributed cognition. That is, distributed cognition provides a theoretical framework to understand how human-technology interactions (what humans do with technology and how these are arranged) happen in a specific environment. The following section will explore each theory in the context of computer ubiquitous learning and children with Down syndrome.

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