Ryerson University (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 3729-3739
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
The Arch-App was recently developed as a mobile learning tool in a partnership between Ryerson University’s Department of Architectural Science and the Ryerson University Library and Archives. It is a free interactive mobile app that uses geo-location data to help users identify and learn more about the architecture, design, and history of the city of Toronto. It has generated considerable public attention as an innovative and engaging m-learning platform. Our research expanded its usage into the School of Interior Design to engage a broader cross-section of undergraduate students. Focus was centred on its’ usefulness as a pedagogical tool for design history and theory streams in addition to studio classes. We measured its effectiveness in spurring student choice, flexibility, and critical synthesis of existing architecture and design paradigms using real-world, real-time data dissemination. Using the app interface on a smart phone or tablet, students were able to move beyond the traditional classroom discussion of the built environment, into local, community spaces effectively erasing the wall between classroom and public places. The current iteration of the app includes data generated and collected by research assistants and undergraduate students and covers site history, building exteriors and interiors, drawings, plans, and elevations. Design students appreciated walking around the city, with a mobile device in-hand to guide their learning trajectories without a perceived hierarchy. This promoted place-making based on individual preferences and, for visitors to Toronto, an effective and interesting way to get to know the city. Students linked local design traditions to those practiced around the world. Data was collected measuring the student research process including both positive and negative aspects. Results revealed the Arch-App’s strengths and weaknesses and indicated trends in undergraduate learning behaviours. Efficiency, accuracy, and depth of content were most appealing and led to enhanced participation, retention, and development of research skills. The Arch-App has demonstrated its value as an innovative m-learning tool enhancing pedagogy both inside and outside the classroom in the 21st century.
Mobile learning, app, innovation, technology, interior design, architecture, database, diversity.