16 SES 06 A, Mobile Teaching and Learning
Parallel Paper Session
Technology is useful for creating new ways of learning and teaching (Bertini & Kimani, 2003) and gives such students opportunities to engage in basic drill and practice, simulations, exploratory, or communication activities that are matched to their individual needs and abilities (Edwards, Blackhurst & Koorland, 1995).
Students with learning disabilities often demonstrate higher-level performance and attention to detail when working on multimedia projects than they normally exhibit (Hasselbring & Williams, 2000). Computers and computing devices help to capture the attention of students with special needs and get them to focus on the tasks to be performed – typically problematic in the education of these students.
Moreover, mobile devices can offer disabled people different kinds of help (Upadhyay, 2006): aids for carrying out functions in every-day activities become a means to communicate, to support them in the learning process and to use as an assistant.
In this scenario, the development of customizable and adaptable applications tailored to users with special education needs brings many benefits as it helps mold the learning process to different cognitive, sensorial or mobility impairments.
Our proposal Picaa is a platform to design educational activities for users with education special needs (Fernández, Rodríguez-Fórtiz & Noguera, 2009). Its aim is helping in the design of learning activities, which can be personalized by teachers at content and user interface levels.
Picaa allows the creation of activities of five different kinds: exploration (templates of multimedia items that let students learn concepts through the navigation of a hypermedia system), association (the student must indicate relationships between elements that belong to several sets), puzzles, sorting (a list of elements must be ordered in a sequence) and memory-match games.
The more innovative features of the platform are that:
- It is a multi-user system.
- It is a mobile platform, following an approach where activities run on entertainment mobile devices with multi-touch screen such as Apple’s iPod touch, iPhone or iPad that tend to be more attractive to users.
- Helps to develop basic skills, including activities to work on perception, attention, memory, reading and writing, motor skills and reasoning.
- It has the capability of user adaptation and content customization. Enables adjustments to be made in the work environment to fit the profile of each student and their interaction.
- Moreover can be used in different curriculum areas as activities can be specified and customized to focus on different content as required in each area.
- Is adaptable to any methodology and learning style, as it provides generic activities that can then be further tailored into sub-activities.
In order to verify that the use of Picaa is useful for students with special educational needs we conducted a quasi-experimental study with students from different Spanish schools. The main objective was to verify the following hypothesis: The use of the learning platform Picaa promotes the development of learning skills for children who have special educational needs.
Bertini, E, S. & Kimani, S. (2003). Mobile Devices: Opportunities for users with special needs. Mobile HCI. In L. Chittaro Ed. Lecture Notes of Computer Science 2795, 486-491. Springer Verlag. Edwards, B. J., Blackhurst, A. E., & Koorland, M. A. (1995). Computer-assisted constant time delay prompting to teach abbreviation spelling to adolescents with mild learning disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 12, 301–311. Fernández, A., Rodríguez-Fórtiz, M. J., & Noguera, M. (2009). Designing and Supporting Cooperative and Ubiquitous Learning Systems for People with Special Needs. On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: OTM 2009 Workshops. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 5872, 423-432, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-05290-3_54 Hasselbring, T. S. & Williams, C. H. (2000). Use of Computer Technology to Help Students with Special Needs. Children and Computer Technology, 10 (2), 102-122. Upadhyay, N. (2006). M-Learning- A New Paradigm in Education”. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 3(2), 31-34.
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