Educational Technology 0858-612, Spring 2022

Course description.

Most of the world connects to the Internet from mobile phones, most of the time. Chromebooks, Android tablets and iPads have made one-to-one computing a reality in many U.S. school systems. Augmented reality and location based software offer new opportunities for context aware learning. Students carry significant computing power in their pockets. This course considers how mobile computing forces us to reconsider the time and place of learning.

Keywords: mlearning, mobile learning, android, ipad, tablet computing, AR, XR, augmented reality 1951, Dick Tracy’s wearable computer

Instructor: Matthew X. Curinga,

Office hours:

  • office hours by appointment

Goals & objectives

Students taking this course will develop an understanding of the ways that mobile technologies can be used for teaching and learning. They will also consider the impact of mobile computing on the field of education as a whole.

Students will:

  • understand basic underlying mobile technologies, and their educational implications
    • network types and capacity
    • hardware speed, capabilities, and energy requirements
    • screen and display technologies
    • software development platform, including Web, SMS, and local “Apps”
    • GIS and location services, and how they can be used to augment learning
    • augmented reality technologies
  • understand the specific strengths and constraints of mobile interactivity & design
  • implement best-practices of teaching with wireless mobile technology
  • reflect on how mobile computing challenges the traditional time and places of learning

Weekly topics

Class format. The class this semester will be taught in a hybrid-flexible (“hyflex”) format which combines asynchronous online work in some weeks, with live meetings held synchronously on campus at the Manhattan Center and over live Zoom video calls. The instructor will always be on campus for the hyflex sessions. You are invited to join in-person or via Zoom, and are free to change the format week to week. Regardless of modality, if a session is listed as “hyflex”, you must plan to be available from 4:30-6:20 on that date.

Readings, discussion forums, and other assignments are available on the course website under the weekly topic.

Complete the readings before the session listed for hylfex weeks so that you come to class meetings prepared to discuss. For asynchronous weeks, you should do the readings early in the week so that you can participate in online activities that draw on them later in the week.

Hyflex sessions: Wednesday 4:30-6:20
Manhattan Campus room 274 or zoom

Session Date Format Topic Readings Due
1 Jan 26 hyflex Going mobile - -
2 Feb 02 async Mobile first Weiser, Curinga -
3 Feb 09 hyflex Tech reports Explained Channel, Bright Side tech report
4 Feb 16 hyflex App inventor 1 Tissenbaum, App Invetor Tutorial -
5 Feb 23 async Mobile computing and society Black Mirror, Castells, Fussell, Aschoff -
6 Mar 02 hyflex Situated & Distributed Cognition Sharples, Brown, Zhang -
7 Mar 09 async Augmented reality Cantave, Ravenscraft, Patel, Cai -
- Mar 16 - spring break - app inventor 1
8 Mar 23 hyflex 1:1 Computing Zheng, Philip, Heflin, Naciri -
9 Mar 30 async Mobile games for learning Laato, Facer, Squire -
10 Apr 06 hyflex App inventor 2 workshop - -
11 Apr 13 async Lit review - lit review
12 Apr 20 hyflex Reading screens Margolin, Singer -
13 Apr 27 async UDL & Mobile Assistive Tech Google switch, Tania’s story, Sik-Lányi -
14 May 04 hyflex Mobile app testing - app prototype
- May 11 - no class (makeup day) - -
15 May 18 async app inventor project - app inventor 2

Assignments & grading

Assignment Pct Date Due
Session leader 10% ongoing
Reading responses 10% ongoing
Tech report podcast 10% Feb 10
App Inventor app 1 20% March 17
Lit review 25% March 31
App Inventor app 2 25% April 21

Session leader (individual)

You will be responsible for leading a class session this semester. For async weeks, you will submit (to the instructor) an audio introduction to the readings and other materials; during hyflex meetings you will begin the session with a short introduction. Plan for about 10 minutes.

If you are leading an asynchronous class session, you will not submit your own reading response this week, but will play the role of moderator in our online discussion. You will ask follow up questions to posts and comments, connect students who address the same subjects but may not have seen each other, post to keep discussions on track (and civil if needed), and prompt/nudge your peers who seem to be falling behind.

If you are leading a live class, you will essentially be the seminar or workshop leader for that week. You should be very familiar with the readings and come to class with interesting questions and/or quotations from the texts that you believe will lead to fruitful discussions.

Reading Responses (individual)

For most asynchronous weeks you will be asked to post a reading response on Moodle. This is the main online interaction for this portion of this course. Your reading response should be approximately 500 words, but occasionally may call for more or less.

A good reading response:

  1. specifically refers to the readings and other activities due that week: you will usually want to quote the texts and refer to specific passages,
  2. your post will start a new thread in our discussion forum, it should have its own unique (and clever) title,
  3. is not a summary, you should have a point of view and express your own synthesis, understanding, and opinion about the topic under discussion,
  4. sometimes this will relate to courses you are taking now, your work, or your personal life,
  5. sometimes this will relate to other things you have read or studied (this is okay, just give us a little bit of reference and a way to find more information),
  6. is not a formal, academic post (you don’t need APA style references), but you should include links, titles, authors names, etc for outside readings/videos/works,
  7. is intended for this course and your classmates so it should be professional in substance and tone, and
  8. is posted on time

The general workflow for these online weeks follows:

  1. (Wed-Sat) Do course readings
  2. (Sat-Mon) Write & post a reading response
  3. (Tues-Wed) Read all of the responses and post comments/discuss

In addition to your own response, you should check the discussion board regularly. You are required to comment on at least two of your peer’s responses each week and you should respond to people who engage with you.

Tech Report (pair)

Working in pairs, you will present a “Tech Report” on an aspect of mobile technology. Teams will prepare 10 minute presentation they will deliver in class. In the Moodle forum, each team will post a 1-paragraph abstract of their presentation and an annotated list of resources (e.g. websites, press, and scholarly articles) related to their topic. Annotations should only be a few sentences. The report does not need to include academic or experimental articles, but should give a general overview of the technology (how and where it works) as well as the latest state of the art of the field.

Choose one of these technologies for your report:

  1. indoor location systems (bluetooth beacons, etc)
  2. mobile payments (Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Alipay, etc)
  3. Augmented reality (AR) headsets, glasses, etc
  4. mesh networks
  5. wireless/mobile encryption and security
  6. wearable computing (other than AR sets)

This project is worth 10 points. Your report should:

  • describe the technical details of the topic in a way that’s easily understood
  • use video, sound, images as needed
  • describe the main ways the tech is currently being used and its potential uses
  • summarize why the technology may or may not be important

App Inventor app 1 (individual)

You will design, develop, and test a mobile app built with MIT’s app inventor software, which allows you to make mobile Android apps without writing any text-based code. For this assignment you will conceive of, design, and code a “simple” educational app with app inventor. The app will be “simple” because it will not have to use any advanced features such as having users log in, accessing internet resources, allowing for multi-user interactions, etc.

To design your project, think of a useful mobile app for teaching or learning. Start with a “problem” that you can describe, and then think of solutions to that problem that are a good fit for what we know about mobile technologies and mobile learning. If there’s an existing, better solution to what you’re proposing, you can either think of a way to improve it, or move on to a new idea. When you create your design, prioritize the most important features. You are only going to build a prototype – a working software application that can be tested and refined.

This project is worth 20 points and will be scored according to this scale:

  • 5 points: learning framework (why does the concept make sense in terms of mobile learning?)
  • 5 points: originality of the concept
  • 5 points: quality of the “code”
  • 5 points: quality of the usability / user experience

To submit this project, you will create a video screencast (5-8 minutes) where you demonstrate the “code” and how it’s organized, and then show the app running on a mobile device. [Record the screen on Android] [Record the screen on iOS]

Submit a link to the screencast and the exported app inventor project files.

App Inventor app 2 (team)

Building on the skills and ideas from your first app inventor project, you will join a team (3-5 people) to build a larger, more complex mobile app for learning using the App Inventor platform. This second app should be more ambitious than the first one. You might want to include location or map data, voice recognition, multi-user support, storing information on the device, etc. It can be an extension of a previous project, or can be something designed from scratch.

This project is worth 25 points and will be scored according to this scale:

  • 10 points: learning framework (why does the concept make sense in terms of mobile learning?)
  • 5 points: originality of the concept
  • 5 points: quality of the “code”
  • 5 points: quality of the usability / user experience

This second project should have a more robust learning framework that incorporates the various approaches to mobile learning that we have learned this semester. When you submit the project, you will include a written conceptual framework (500-800 words) that describes:

  • the problem being solved
  • why existing solutions are not sufficient
  • why your proposed solution is based on solid learning theory and instructional design
  • why a mobile solution is the right solution for the problem

Your team will submit:

  • the written framework
  • a 5 minute team video explaining the goals of the app and showing it in use; reflect on what worked well and what still needs further development
  • individual videos from each team members that walk through the code that team member worked on primarily

One team member must submit a link to the screencast and the exported app inventor project files. Everyone

Mini literature review (individual)

For this assignment you will write a brief review of literature about how mobile technologies are used in a specific domain of learning. Broadly, your review should focus on a subject area (e.g. mathematics, language learning, teacher professional development) or target group/setting (e.g. students with disabilities, higher education, museum education, ENL students). You should read and review the most important scholarly articles in your topic area. This must include articles that do not describe mobile learning, but discuss the state of the art knowledge of the field. For example, if you choose to write about “mobile technologies in museum education,” you must include a brief overview of the key goals and techniques of museum education in general. From there, you will review the research on mlearning for museums.

Read the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL) guide to writing a literature review to gain a better understanding of what is expected for this assignment. Typically, a literature review will be exaustive – in that it covers all of the public research on the topic. Your review can be selective, where you review the 5-10 most important articles published on your topic.

Course Readings & Bibliography

Ally, M. (Ed.). (2009). Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training. Edmonton, AB: AU Press. ISBN 978-1-897425-44-2

Aschoff, Nicole . (2020, June 15). Smartphones Have Transformed the Fight Against Police Violence. Jacobin Magazine.

Apple, Inc. (n.d.). human interface guidelines.

Billings, S. (2011, January 4). What can the iPad do for museums? Museum Next.

Black Mirror [Video] “Nosedive” (Season 3, Episode 1)

BRIGHT SIDE. (2019, June 17). How GPS Works Today. [Video. 00:10:01]

Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 32-42.

Cai, S., Wang, X., & Chiang, F.-K. (2014). A case study of Augmented Reality simulation system application in a chemistry course. Computers in Human Behavior, 37, 31–40.

Cantave, G. (2018). [Video] How augmented reality is changing activism. [TED].

Carr, D. (2010, January 1). Why Twitter will endure. The New York Times.

Castells, M. (2007). Communication, power and counter-power in the network society. International Journal of Communication, 1(1), 238–266.

Castells, M., Fernandez-Ardevol, M., LinchuanQiu, J., & Sey, A. (2006). Mobile communication and society: A global perspective. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Chaiprasurt, C., Esichaikul, V., & Wishart, J. (2011). Designing mobile communication tools: A framework to enhance motivation in online learning environments. Presented at mLearn 2011, Beijing, China.

De Jong, T., Specht, M., & Koper, R. (2008). A reference model for mobile social software for learning. International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life Long Learning, 18(1), 118–138.

Doctorow, C. (2011, May 2). Techno-optimism.. LOCUS online.

Dourish, P. (2004). Where the action is: The foundations of embodied interaction. (New edition.). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Dunleavy, M., Dexter, S., & Heinecke, W. (2007). What added value does a 1:1 student to laptop ratio bring to technology-supported teaching and learning? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 23(5), 440-452.

Dunn, M. E., Shah, G., & Veríssimo, D. (2021). Stepping into the Wildeverse: Evaluating the impact of augmented reality mobile gaming on pro-conservation behaviours. People and Nature, 3(6), 1205–1217.

Evans, C. (2008). The effectiveness of m-learning in the form of podcast revision lectures in higher education. Computers & Education, 50(2), 491-498.

Explained Channel. (2018, July 22). How WiFi and Cell Phones Work | Wireless Communication Explained. [Video. 00:06:05]

Facer, K., Joiner, R., Stanton, D., Reid, J., Hull, R., & Kirk, D. (2004). Savannah: Mobile gaming and learning? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20(6), 399–409.

Fernandez, V., Simo, P., & Sallan, J. M. (2009). Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education. Computers & Education, 53(2), 385-392.

Fussell, Sidney. 2019. “Why Hong Kongers Are Toppling Lampposts.” The Atlantic. August 30, 2019.

Hillesund, T. (2010). Digital reading spaces: How expert readers handle books, the Web and electronic paper. First Monday, 15(4).

Hu, W. (2011, January 4). Math that moves: Schools embrace the iPad.. The New York Times.

Kay, R. H., & LeSage, A. (2009). Examining the benefits and challenges of using audience response systems: A review of the literature. Computers & Education, 53(3), 819-827.

Kelly, K. (2019, February 12). AR Will Spark the Next Big Tech Platform—Call It Mirrorworld. Wired.

Kloos, M. (n.d.). Communities of practice 2.0.

Laato, S., Islam, A. K. M. N., & Laine, T. H. (2020). Did location-based games motivate players to socialize during COVID-19? Telematics and Informatics, 54, 101458.

Margolin, S. J., Driscoll, C., Toland, M. J., & Kegler, J. L. (2013). E-readers, Computer Screens, or Paper: Does Reading Comprehension Change Across Media Platforms? Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27(4), 512–519.

Mayer, R. E. (2007). Five features of effective multimedia messages: An evidence-based approach. In S. M. Fiore & E. Salas (Eds.), Toward a science of distributed learning. (pp. 171–184). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Mirzoeff, N. (2011, January 31). Networked visuality: The revolution in North Africa. For the Right to Look.

Morozov, E. (2009). Iran: Downside to the “Twitter revolution.” Dissent, 56(4), 10-14. doi:10.1353/dss.0.0092

Morozov, E. (2011). The Internet in society: Empowering or censoring citizens?[video]. RSA Animate.

Motiwalla, L. F. (2007). Mobile learning: A framework and evaluation. Computers & Education, 49(3), 581–596.

Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, G., & Sharples, M. (2004). Literature review in mobile technologies and learning. FutureLab Report, 11.

Naciri, A., Baba, M. A., Achbani, A., & Kharbach, A. (2020). Mobile Learning in Higher Education: Unavoidable Alternative during COVID-19. Aquademia, 4(1), ep20016.

Naismith, L., & Smith, M. P. (2009). Using mobile technologies for multimedia tours in a traditional museum setting. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training (pp. 247-264). Edmonton: AU Press.

Negroponte, N. (2012, February) Learning by themselves. [Video of a lecture presented at the Solve for X forum]

Nielsen, J. (2011, May 23). iPad usability: Year one.. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.

One Laptop per Child. (2013). Wikipedia.

Papert, S., & Harel, I. (1991). Situating constructionism. Constructionism (pp. 1–11). Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Pub. Corp.

Pasnik, S. (2007). iPod in education: The potential for teaching and learning. [White paper].

Patel, N. (2021, December 14). [Audio podcast] The metaverse is already here—And it’s full of Pokemon, says Niantic CEO John Hanke. The Verge.

Penuel, W. R. (2006). Implementation and effects of one-to-one computing initiatives: A research synthesis. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(3), 329.

Pyke, S. M. (2010). An initiative in introducing iPads to higher education. ERGA Conference (5th: 2010: Adelaide, Australia).

Ravenscraft, E. (2021). What Is the Metaverse, Exactly? Wired.

Rheingold, H. (2002). Smart mobs: The next social revolution. Cambridge MA: Basic Books. ISBN 0738208612, 9780738208619

Ritter, S., Anderson, J., Koedinger, K., & Corbett, A. (2007). Cognitive tutor: Applied research in mathematics education. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), 249–255.

Rosenbaum, E., Klopfer, E., & Perry, J. (2006). On location learning: Authentic applied science with networked augmented realities. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 31-45.

Ryu, H., & Parsons, D. (Eds.). (2008). Innovative mobile learning: Techniques and technologies. (1st ed.). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. ISBN 1605660620

Sen, A. (2010). The mobile and the world. Information Technologies & International Development, 6(Special Edition).

Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2016). A Theory of Learning for the Mobile Age. In The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (pp. 63–81). SAGE Publications Ltd.

Sik-Lányi, C., Hoogerwerf, E.-J., & Miesenberger, K. (2015). Assistive Technology: Building Bridges. IOS Press.

Singer, L. M., & Alexander, P. A. (2017). Reading Across Mediums: Effects of Reading Digital and Print Texts on Comprehension and Calibration. The Journal of Experimental Education, 85(1), 155–172.

Squire, K. (2010). From information to experience: Place-based augmented reality games as a model for learning in a globally networked society. Teachers College Record, 112(10), 2565–2602.

Squire, K. D., & Jan, M. (2007). Mad City mystery: Developing scientific argumentation skills with a place-based augmented reality game on handheld computers. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16(1), 5-29.

Tissenbaum, M., Sheldon, J., & Abelson, H. (2019). From computational thinking to computational action. Communications of the ACM, 62(3), 34–36.

Traxler, J. (2009). Current state of mobile learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training (pp. 9–24). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

van der Merwe, R. (2012, March 12). A dad’s plea to developers of iPad apps for children.. Smashing Magazine.

Weiser, M. (1991). The computer for the 21st century. Scientific American, 265(3), 94–104.

Wenger, E. (2006, June). Communities of practice: A brief introduction.

Wishart, J. (2009). Use of mobile technology for teacher training. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning transforming the delivery of education and training (pp. 265–278). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

Zheng, B., Warschauer, M., Lin, C.-H., & Chang, C. (2016). Learning in One-to-One Laptop Environments: A Meta-Analysis and Research Synthesis._ Review of Educational Research_, 86(4), 1052–1084.

Zhang, Jianwei, Marlene Scardamalia, Richard Reeve, and Richard Messina. 2009. “Designs for Collective Cognitive Responsibility in Knowledge-Building Communities.” Journal of the Learning Sciences 18 (1): 7–44.

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