Supporting mobile and nomadic learning

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Supporting Mobile and Nomadic Learning
Niels Olof Bouvin Bent Guldbjerg Christensen Kasper Ligaard Nielsen Frank Allan Hansen

Department of Computer Science University of Aarhus Aabogade 34, DK–8200 Aarhus N, Denmark {n.o.bouvin,bentor,fah,ligaard}

This paper presents three efforts to support children engaged in mobile and nomadic learning both in and out of theclassroom. The HyConExplorer is a mobile, context-aware hypermedia system developed to help pupils access and produce digital content during project work in the field. The eBag is the equivalent of an electronic school bag and provides pupils access to their digital materials through large public displays. Seamless proximity based login to the eBag is handled by a Bluetooth sensory system monitoring thechildren’s mobile phones. Finally, we present PP2P, a peer-to-peer framework for mobile devices to discover and utilize other (stationary) devices in the user’s surroundings while mediating a feeling of direct and concrete interaction between the communicating appliances.



Mobile computing has over the past 15 years become increasingly widespread, not only in thelaboratories where it originated, but outside,

where most people today carry devices supporting (at the very least) multi modal communication and often with computational resources available only in desktop computers a few years back. These devices provide a whole new way of working and thinking about what we can do with computers and how computers can help us in our daily activities. This paper describesthe work on mobile computing done within the auspices of the InteractiveSpaces1 research group. Our work has focused on different aspects of mobile work, predominantly with school children as users, as they are both challenging users and eager adopters of new technology. We have with the systems described herein explored some of the aspects of nomadic work. The HyConExplorer [3] allows nomadicusers to access and produce in situ information. The HyConExplorer is a GPS based system available for tablet PCs and Java Smart Phones. In contrast to the HyConExplorer, where the interaction takes place on a mobile device, the eBag system [5] supports mobile people through

stationary, public displays for data manipulation and presentation. PersonalBluetooth IDs are used for seamless, proximity based login in the eBag system but focus is here on supporting local mobility [8], typically within the school building. The physical peer-to-peer (PP2P) system combines the two approaches and supports mobile users carrying mobile equipment to discover and communicate with stationary devices in their vicinity and thus focus on both mobile people and theirmobile equipment.



The HyConExplorer is a mobile context-aware hypermedia system built to support users in browsing, searching, and annotating the physical world. The system is designed to let school children and others working in the field access and produce situated information related to their context. The HyConExplorer is implemented on top of the HyCon framework and runson tablet PCs and J2ME enabled Smart Phones. The HyCon framework is logically divided into four distinct layers for storage, services, terminal application, and sensor input [4, 7]. Like other location- and context-aware hypermedia systems [1, 6, 9] the HyConExplorer augments the physical space with digital structures and lets users access information associated with their context. TheHyConExplorer data model supports linking of information to any digital or physical object which can be identified (e.g., by URLs, RFIDs, or GPS (x, y)-coordinates). Thus, the system can anchor Web pages or usercreated annotations to physical locations and can be thought of as providing overlays of situated information on maps of cities and places. However, the HyConExplorer is more than

just a...
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