Recent Research and Development

The Electronic Guidebook: A Study of User Experiences using Mobile Web Content in a Museum Setting

Sherry Hsi, Metacourse, Inc., IEEE International Workshop on Mobile and Wireless Technologies in Education, August 2002.

A study of fifteen is reported as part of a larger research project, The Electronic Guidebook, whose aims are to understand how the introduction of wireless technologies changes and augments user experiences at the Exploratorium, an interactive science museum. The main questions being addressed in this study are: How do users respond to a mobile web resource designed to improve and transform user experiences in a hands-on museum? This paper shares results from interviews with three categories of users: teachers, staff 'explainers', and visitors. Several recurring issues and themes emerged from our analysis such as users' sense of isolation and user attempts to make a seamless experience between real-place and virtual contexts. Teachers, in particular, felt the mobile web content would be more useful as learning activities before and after museum visits. While majority of users expressed a concern that the handheld would interfere with exhibit play, these users also reported positive feedback about the mobile web content and demonstrated new ways in which this resource motivated new ways to think and play with exhibits. Additional insights are provided regarding the role of mobile web content in mediating user interactions including a framework under development for organizing interactions with handhelds.

[ download paper: 8 pp. PDF, 230 K ]

Evaluation Report - Handheld Computers and Learning in the Informal Museum Setting

Kimberly Zern, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2002

The Physical Science Exhibit Interpretation (PSEI) department in the Museum of Science, Boston in conjunction with the Concord Consortium is interested in learning how new technologies can be used to augment the educational experience of visitors to the museum. Specifically, PSEI is interested in the usage of the handheld computers with accompanying portable scientific probes and the associated scientific data collection software.

[ download paper: 22 pp. PDF, 360 K ]

Palm Education Pioneers Program Evaluation Report

Valerie Crawford and Phil Vahey, SRI and Palm, Inc., March 2002

Today it is expected that K-12 students spend increasingly more time using technology in the classroom. Recently, schools have begun purchasing handheld computers in addition to desktop and laptop computers. At this time, however, schools that are adopting handheld computers are doing so without the benefit of systematic research on the effective uses of handheld computers in the classroom.

This report is intended to provide information to those interested in the benefits and drqwbacks of handheld computers in the classroom. The report is based on data collected from the Round I and Round II Classroom Teacher Awards in the fall semester of 2001. As of winter 2001-02, the 15 Round I awardees had completed two semesters of use with the Palm computers and the 87 Round II awardess had one semester of use.


Mindsurf Networks: Schools of Innovation Evaluation Overview

Shelley Pasnik, Andrew Hess, and Cricket Heinz, EDC Center for Children & Technology (CCT), July 2001

Mindsurf Networks aims to provide portable computing and Internet access to students and teachers through wireless networking, handheld computers, software, and support, moving away from the prevailing strategy that including technology in public schools involves placing wired, desktop computers in a lab environment. The cornerstone of Mindsurf Network's approach is one-to-one computing: every student and teacher should have immediate and individual access to a rich array of information resources.

[ download paper: 37 pp. PDF, 480 K ]

Data Paths in Wearable Communication Networks

Christian Decker and Michael Beigl, International conference on Architecture of Computing Systems (ARCS) 2002

Wearable communication networks are a new type of networks where communication wires are embedded into textiles. It allows the connection between sensors and devices embedded into the material. Data from such devices can be sent over various pieces of clothing to other devices in the network. A special characteristic of such a network is the unreliable connection between different pieces of clothing. This paper presents a prototype system and investigates routing methods using simulations of a fabric area network. Input data for simulations are derived from the operation of a first working prototype. Among the investigated routing methods are various Flooding, Hot-Potato and Simple Hot-Potato protocols. Throughput, way lengths and delay times were used as metrics. Results indicate that routing can optimize the performance of the FAN for each metric, but not for all metrics.

Mobile Multimedia Systems

Paul J. M. Havinga, Ph.D. thesis, University of Twente, February 2000

Recent advances in wireless networking technology and the exponential development of semiconductor technology have engendered a new paradigm of computing, called personal mobile computing. In this paradigm, the basic personal computing and communication device will be an integrated, battery-operated device, small enough to carry with you all the time. The technological challenges to establishing this paradigm are non-trivial. In particular, these devices have limited battery resources, will handle diverse data types, and will operate in environments that are insecure, time varying, and unplanned. The research presented in this thesis addresses the design of an architecture for a mobile multimedia handheld computer that can cope with the requirements and difficulties mentioned above.


PicoRadio Supports Ad Hoc Ultra-Low Power Wireless Networking

Josie Ammer, et. al., Pico Radio Group, Berkeley Wireless Research Center, featured in the July 2000 issue of Computer Magazine

The ultimate purpose of the PicoRadio group is to design and build a prototype PicoNode. The initial task is to explore the application space for PicoNode and select an appropriate candidate for implementation. Using the example, we will follow a three step process: 1) examine communication vs. processing cost tradeoffs and task partitioning related to issues such as resource assignment and power consumption, 2) develop interconnect mechanisms between macro circuit blocks at the electrical level (timing and meaning of signals between blocks), and 3) Build a single-chip implementation and perform testing. 20Magazine%20Article/r7042b.pdf

Probing Untested Ground: Young Students Learn to Use Handheld Computers

Carolyn Staudt, Concord Consortium, 1999

The recent explosion of handheld computers - small, personal, portable computers with touch screens - has made its way into the education market. As part of the research of the Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) Ubiquitous Computing Project, several initiatives at The Concord Consortium have started to study the grade-appropriate use of these computers with K-6 students.


Can Electronic Notebooks Enhance the Classroom?

Nitin "Nick" Sawhney, Gregory D. Abowd & Chris Atkeson, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1996

Our vision for educational technology is to empower both teacher and student to enhance existing modes of classroom interaction as well as form new modes of group and individual activity and break the physical and temporal boundaries of the traditional classroom to provide ubiquitous electronic access over time and space. Imagine that while studying for an exam, the student could query a repository of all information collected throughout the course. This would include intelligent content-based searches through the teacher's prepared lecture notes, the student's own notes taken during class, and the audio and video records of the classes. In reviewing this information, the student could also make associations between issues discussed in separate lectures. Then imagine that this retrieval and association could be done across all classes that an individual student had attended or all classes taught at an institution. Providing automated support for the capture and exploration of such a rich information source is our ultimate goal in this research. It is for these reasons that we began a project to introduce and examine the effects of electronic notebooks within the traditional lecture-based classroom. We call the project Classroom 2000 to suggest a futuristic approach that is not very far off in time. Our prototype classroom, which has been built over the last 3 months and tested in an undergraduate computer science course, will be fully functional for a graduate level HCI course in the Winter Quarter of 1996 at Georgia Tech.

Are PDAs Pedagogically Feasible for Young Children?

By Drs. Young Mi Chang, Laurie Mullen & Matthew Stuve

The Journal, March 2005, Volume 32, Number 8

This article exams the age-appropriateness of handhelds in a kindergarten classroom.

The Handheld Classroom: Educational Implications of Mobile Computing

By Mark Finn and Natalie Vandenham, Swinburne University of Technology
Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society

Vol. 2, No. 1, 2004

Advances in handheld computing technology have meant that Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) are no longer simply electronic replacements for paper diaries, with current models capable of performing a wide range of functions. Such increased functionality has seen the rapid adoption of handhelds in the corporate sector, but it is perhaps in education that this technology may have the greatest impact.

[ download paper: 15pp. PDF, 84 K ]

Handheld tools that 'Informate' assessment of student learning in Science: a requirements analysis

Jeremy Roschelle, William R. Penuel, Louise Yarnall, Nicole Shechtman & Deborah Tatarw
Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005 Journal of Computer Assisted learning 21, pp190-"203

An important challenge faced by many teachers as they involve students in science investigations is measuring ("assessing") students' progress. Our detailed requirements analysis in a particular school district led to the idea that what teachers need most are ways to increase the quality of the information they have about what students know and can do, not automation of typical assessment practices. We see handheld computers as promising tools for addressing this need because they can give students and teachers frequent, integral access to new ways of expressing and communicating what they know and can do. Our requirements analysis has led us to emphasize a need for handheld-based tools that 'informate' science instruction by:

[ download paper: 14pp. PDF, 248 K ]