The role of mobile devices in facilitating collaborative inquiry in situ

Rogers, Yvonne and Price, Sara (2008). The role of mobile devices in facilitating collaborative inquiry in situ. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 3(3) pp. 209–229.



Mobile devices are increasingly being used to augment learning activities that occur outside of the classroom. In particular, they are being used to help students discover more about the environment they are visiting, be it a forest, museum or urban site. Our research is concerned with how they can be used to facilitate collaborative inquiry processes. We propose that they can provide contextually-relevant information, represented in a variety of media, that can be accessed and acted upon at opportune times leading to the integration of observations and ideas. Instructors and facilitators can also provide guidance: directing their questions and probes so that students can answer them through comparing what they are observing in the world and via the device. Two case studies are presented that illustrate how these forms of mobile learning happen in situ. The first is Ambient Wood, where young children explored a woodland to learn about habitats, and the second is LillyPad, where older students assessed the state of an environmental restoration site.

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