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PLEASE TURN ON YOUR CELL PHONES: INTEGRATING M-LEARNING IN FIRST YEAR ARCHITECTURE

V. Hui, G. McCarthy, S. Ghantous

Ryerson University (CANADA)
Though adopted by progressive institutions at the turn of the century, electronic learning (E-Learning) has quickly become a framework for a leading paradigm which utilizes ubiquitous computing known as mobile learning (M-Learning). Portable devices such as iPods, smartphones, and tablets have the potential to reinforce material from the classroom. Modes of communication and entertainment including music, videos, podcasts, texts, web browsing, cameras, global positioning, and email are literally condensed into a single handheld device. As students increasingly gain familiarity with digital and online pedagogical tools made available by universities, it behoves educators to implement enriching M-learning as a method of rendering learning equally ubiquitous.

This paper examines the integration of m-learning within the context of an architecture program drawing upon a significant commuter population. The first initiative engages the adoption of mobile video modules used to develop software skills within the context of first year design studio. Rather than ineffectively spending classroom time discussing technical skills to an audience with variable familiarities with content, mobile technology allows students to develop these skills at their own pace and wherever they are on their own. Ubiquitous computing also has the potential to bring the classroom to the “real world”. The second initiative is the development of a mobile application (app) that uses global positioning and a consolidated database of multiple layers of building information to provide insights on projects within an urban core. Information ranging from history, details, archival imagery, and future plans may all be explored in the app while a user navigates through the spectrum of architectural work in the city.

The parallel growth of mobile computing and access to media has precipitated an environment for m-learning to play a vital role in reinforcing skills and information from the classroom to application as well as bringing the classroom to the real world whenever and wherever a student may be.