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Mobile Learning, augmenting your context or missing what's going on in the real world?

Debate question

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Galley
2 February 2010

Mobiles can give you access to an array of information any time, any where, but is this always a good thing? If you're using GPS or accessing location-related information on the internet when outdoors, are you augmenting your context, or just missing out on what is going on in the real world around you?

Extra content

Embedded Content

GPS: 21st century field trips: Stow Heath Junior School

GPS: 21st century field trips: Stow Heath Junior School

added by Rebecca Galley

Geocaching: From the web to the woods

Geocaching: From the web to the woods

added by Rebecca Galley


Juliette Culver
4:41pm 4 February 2010

This question reminds me of taking photographs. When you take photographs does it make you appreciate your surrounding more because it makes you more observant, or does it distance you from actually enjoying them properly and appreciating the moment? I suspect both are true!

Gill Clough
9:56am 11 February 2010 (Edited 10:00am 11 February 2010)

I tend to agree, Juliette. I think it is even more true when taking videos. Your view of the activity can end up mediated by the little LCD screen.

However using features on your mobile technology that augment your environment, say GPS positional data to identify your location and 3G connectivity to provide a satellite view of where you are that you that you would not otherwise see can enhance your experience of that place.

For example, you are at an archaeological site with lumps and bumps on the ground. You can guess that some sort of habitation went on there in the past, but you can't picture it. Using the GPS on your mobile to pinpoint your location, and downloading a google map centred on this point can give you a perspective that might give you extra information about this landscape.

You can then explore the features in the landscape, recording a GPS track of where you have been and taking photos along the way (which are associated with the GPS track) to show the view from the ground.

Saving this data on the mobile and then synchronising or downloading it to your desktop/laptop when you get home, allows you to conduct follow up research. You could end up with a multi-modal record of the location, tailored to your experiences, that wouldn't have been possible without a connected, GPS mobile device.

Juliette Culver
10:05am 11 February 2010

Oh, absolutely Gill! And that's a really nice example.

I've found openstreet mapping a really interesting experience - I've got to know my home town so much better as a result and it's certainly made me more rather than less aware of my surroundings.


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