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A Proposed Research Methodology
for Critically Researching
Ubiquitous Learning Technologies
Ann-Louise Davidson Ph.D.

Saul Carliner, Ph.D.

Concordia University

Montreal
What are ubiquitous learning
technologies, what do we know about
them, how should we study their use,
which fraction of their use should we
study, do perceptions suffice, what bias
does our research have?
Context
Mass adoption of Internet

Mass adoption of mobile technologies 

Growing adoption of social networking services on mobile technologies

Governments and businesses collect information on users

We know more about human behaviors than was ever known in history
and...
We have facts!!!
75% of Canadian has access to Internet. 

70% of Canadians has access to cell phones. 

80% of teens carry a cell phone.

47% of teens can text with their eyes closed.

The average teen (13-17) sends 3339 text messages per month (that’s not
counting the texts they receive).

Females send 4050 texts per month on average. 

Males send 1630 texts per month on average.

According to Michael Wesch:

The tree major TV networks: 60 years, 24 hours a day, 364 days a year = 1,500,000
hours of broadcasting.

You Tube did it in less than 6 months without producers.

Over 9000 hours of videos are uploaded every day.
But we still don’t know much about:
learning with ubiquitous technologies

learning through social media
interactions
Conditions for the conceptual framework
Missing link between technology and learning

Statistics are no longer sufficient to understand user experience

Issues related to methodologies

Technologies are becoming integrated to our senses

We need holistic methods to understand the qualitative changes that occur
with ubiquitous learning in people’s lives and the impact they have on their
ways of socializing, on their education, on their work and on their lifestyles. 

Why ubiquitous learning now and not before?

Since Gutenberg, learning has been potentially ubiquitous because books are
everywherem, but there is no direct link between information and knowledge or
information and learning.

Today, data can be posted without any editorial control.

Self-promotion has become easier.

Communication has no borders (inside the ambient computing environment).
Conceptual framework
Ambient computing
environment
Social media
videoconferencing;
blogs; wikis;
email;chat
Social media users
Social media non usersBandura’s theory of
self-efficacy
Conceptual framework
Ambient computing
environment
Social media
Social media users
Social media non-users
f2f
interactions
remote
interactions
continuous
task
coordination
and communication
Synchronous Asynchronous
Same
place
Different
place
One-to-one communication vs. One-to-many communication
Private communication vs. public communication
What kind of learning is really going on there?
Vid-Ability: a Portable Computing Project Using
Instructional Video to improve the Condition of
People Living With an Intellectual Disability
Three fundamental arguments
1. Human beings need to develop a digital awareness to thrive in the realm of
ubiquitous technologies, because it is not a concrete perceptual
environment.

2. Adapting technologies to the needs of special populations should only serve
as a point of entry to developing functional technological competencies

3. To flourish and learn in the environment of digital technologies, human beings
need to develop a strong sense of ethics
Vid-Ability research design
Survey
Video production
iPod Usability
test
Focus groups
(participants)
Interviews
(educators)
Improvement of videos
+++
What kind of learning went on there
Instructional videos

... problem based learning videos

... self advocacy videos

Learning about the technology

Sharing experiences with the technology

Special interventions supported by technology
Methodologies to develop a deeper understanding
should take the following factors in consideration
Researchers should: 

get prolonged exposure to the population they are studying

takes notes on new forms of learning (what kind of learning
is going on there?)

obtain data on how the natural uses of mobile technologies
can be paired with formal learning

involve participants into the data collection to get their
interpretation

design their research socially to make it socially relevant

adopt mobile technologies being studied for their own uses

ensure that their studies serve the population that is being
investigated.
ethnography
design
research
action
research
Questions?
Comments?
Take-aways?

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A Proposed Research Methodology To Conduct Studies About Ubiquitous Learning Technologies

  • 1. A Proposed Research Methodology for Critically Researching Ubiquitous Learning Technologies Ann-Louise Davidson Ph.D. Saul Carliner, Ph.D. Concordia University Montreal What are ubiquitous learning technologies, what do we know about them, how should we study their use, which fraction of their use should we study, do perceptions suffice, what bias does our research have?
  • 2. Context Mass adoption of Internet Mass adoption of mobile technologies Growing adoption of social networking services on mobile technologies Governments and businesses collect information on users We know more about human behaviors than was ever known in history and...
  • 3. We have facts!!! 75% of Canadian has access to Internet. 70% of Canadians has access to cell phones. 80% of teens carry a cell phone. 47% of teens can text with their eyes closed. The average teen (13-17) sends 3339 text messages per month (that’s not counting the texts they receive). Females send 4050 texts per month on average. Males send 1630 texts per month on average. According to Michael Wesch: The tree major TV networks: 60 years, 24 hours a day, 364 days a year = 1,500,000 hours of broadcasting. You Tube did it in less than 6 months without producers. Over 9000 hours of videos are uploaded every day.
  • 4. But we still don’t know much about: learning with ubiquitous technologies learning through social media interactions
  • 5. Conditions for the conceptual framework Missing link between technology and learning Statistics are no longer sufficient to understand user experience Issues related to methodologies Technologies are becoming integrated to our senses We need holistic methods to understand the qualitative changes that occur with ubiquitous learning in people’s lives and the impact they have on their ways of socializing, on their education, on their work and on their lifestyles. Why ubiquitous learning now and not before? Since Gutenberg, learning has been potentially ubiquitous because books are everywherem, but there is no direct link between information and knowledge or information and learning. Today, data can be posted without any editorial control. Self-promotion has become easier. Communication has no borders (inside the ambient computing environment).
  • 6. Conceptual framework Ambient computing environment Social media videoconferencing; blogs; wikis; email;chat Social media users Social media non usersBandura’s theory of self-efficacy
  • 7. Conceptual framework Ambient computing environment Social media Social media users Social media non-users
  • 9. What kind of learning is really going on there? Vid-Ability: a Portable Computing Project Using Instructional Video to improve the Condition of People Living With an Intellectual Disability
  • 10. Three fundamental arguments 1. Human beings need to develop a digital awareness to thrive in the realm of ubiquitous technologies, because it is not a concrete perceptual environment. 2. Adapting technologies to the needs of special populations should only serve as a point of entry to developing functional technological competencies 3. To flourish and learn in the environment of digital technologies, human beings need to develop a strong sense of ethics
  • 11. Vid-Ability research design Survey Video production iPod Usability test Focus groups (participants) Interviews (educators) Improvement of videos +++
  • 12. What kind of learning went on there Instructional videos ... problem based learning videos ... self advocacy videos Learning about the technology Sharing experiences with the technology Special interventions supported by technology
  • 13.
  • 14.
  • 15. Methodologies to develop a deeper understanding should take the following factors in consideration Researchers should: get prolonged exposure to the population they are studying takes notes on new forms of learning (what kind of learning is going on there?) obtain data on how the natural uses of mobile technologies can be paired with formal learning involve participants into the data collection to get their interpretation design their research socially to make it socially relevant adopt mobile technologies being studied for their own uses ensure that their studies serve the population that is being investigated. ethnography design research action research