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Mobile Phones as Mediating Tools Within Augmented Contexts for Development

Some preliminary thoughts on the nature of what I am calling Augmented Contexts for Development

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John Cook
26 November 2009

Some preliminary thoughts on the nature of what I am calling Augmented Contexts for Development; an extension of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development that takes into account the characteristics of 21st Century mass media structures and practices. Presentation at Education in the Wild, Alpine Rendez-Vous, within the framework of the STELLAR Network of Excellence. December 3-4, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria, Germany.

I will talk with colleagues in Garmisch about extending my notion of Augmented Contexts for Development to work based learning and will also use it in literact session of another workshop that i am involved in (Technology-enhanced learning in the context of technological, societal and cultural transformations; see link below). I would welcome any comments from  colleagues about how it relates to all areas of learning.

Slides for my talk: available in slideshare http://bit.ly/7VsaOB.
Download short paper: http://www.stellarnet.eu/index.php/download_file/-/view/644

Contact details: john.cook@londonmet.ac.uk

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Gill Clough
3:40pm 2 December 2009 (Edited 4:20pm 2 December 2009)


Fascinating and exciting presentation. I can see why the church are excited and want more visualisations.

John proposes that the nature of learning is changing.

CONTENSE Context sensitive project

Fascinating 3D flash animation for mobile phone of interior of an ancient abbey. So students can be in the physical environment (ruins) yet see a 3D representation of what it used to look like. Also there is info available about construction materials etc. Seems to be really augmenting the physical location.

Student working in pairs with one holding handheld with the simulation, the other has a nokia where they can record their reflections during the task. They were trying to work out the story behind the building by overlaying the rich visualisation from the mobile phones on the physical world they were in.

Quotes Vygotsky that “Temporal underpinning of Augmented Contexts for development Is fundamental”. Concepts linked to the temporal workshop going on in parallel with this one.

Students asked to reconstruct the units of activity over a period of time using the visualisations, and floor plans.

Elements of Augmented Context for Development

  • The physical environment (Cistercian abbey)
  • Pedagogical plan
  • Tool Visualisation/augmentation oriented approach creats umbrella augmented context for development for location based devices
  • Creates a temporal context for development

So in conclusion – have we replaced the more able peer with technology?

The church are very enthusiastic about it so they’re getting involved in church tourism. They might be doing several mediascapes of churches nearby.

John was asked if his participants had difficulty seeing the screens (often reported by PDA users) and seeing the visualisations. John replied that this was an old problem – the technology they were using was top of the range and none of the participants reported any problems using the technology.

It was suggested that all the studies took place in the north so the sun was never an issue :)

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