Orchestrating scaffolded outdoor mobile learning activities

University dissertation from Stockholm : Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University

Abstract: Since the beginning of time, technological innovations have formed the basis for the development of society and supported the most fundamental societal features. The educational system is no exception. This we have witnessed on many occasions, as for example in form of the transformations of learning and teaching introduced by the printing press, the calculator and computers. With the advance of mobile technology, we have received another technology that inspires research fields to study the learning and teaching potentials that mobile technology may present. It is from here this thesis takes its general starting point, namely, in the determination to critically examine the role mobile technology can play in supporting outdoor learning activities. More specifically, the thesis attempts to, on the one hand, develop an understanding of the challenges and limitations associated with scaffolding students’ mobile learning in outdoor environments. On the other hand, based on such a developed understanding, the thesis investigates how mobile technology-supported outdoor activities should be orchestrated to scaffold students learning. Orchestration is, in this thesis, understood as the process of productively coordinating supportive interventions across multiple learning activities occurring at multiple social levels involving multiple contexts, and multiple tools and media.The framework of design-based research has guided the methodological approach. Three design studies formed the empirical basis of the study of the issues. The results of the thesis indicate the difficulties and challenges in supporting students in outdoor contexts and delineate an understanding of how mobile outdoor learning activities can be orchestrated with students scaffolding needs taken into account.The thesis contributes with a conceptualization of and a model for orchestration of mobile learning activities, a framework for design-based research in mobile learning, as well as a critical perspective on the introduction of mobile technology in education. 

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