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J. Lievens1, T. Van Daele2

1University of Leuven (BELGIUM)
2Thomas More University College (BELGIUM)
How can an institution of higher education harness the didactic potential of the near-ubiquity of touch enabled mobile devices amongst a 21st century student population? This presentation describes the goals, method and results of a two-year educational development project conducted at University of Leuven Association, Belgium (2013-2015).

The project sets forth to:
(a) chart the didactic affordances of touch enabled mobile devices for higher education,
(b) develop a user-friendly interface to direct teachers and students towards affordances that meet their particular teaching or learning needs and
c) design a step-by-step trajectory to help policy makers and ICT personnel manoeuvre the complexities of implementing a didactic change that raises a host of technological, financial and logistic questions.

First, a theoretical, didactic framework was established. Puentedura’s SAMR-model (2012), which prominently figures the use of a functional task in the upper two, ‘transformative’ layers of its application model, led towards the development of a framework of technology-mediated, task-based teaching and learning (Gonzalez-Lloret & Ortega, 2014). Then, through literature and a series of task-driven pilot projects in diverse disciplines and educational settings, it was researched which of Cope and Kalantzis’ ‘seven affordances’ (2013) could be realized through touch enabled mobile devices.

As a result, an extensive matrix of didactic affordances was assembled, which formed the backbone of an interactive, multiplatform website and app for students, lecturers and professors. Users can browse the interface for specific touch enabled didactic approaches and applications, which are categorized according to didactic need and educational setting. Using search filters, users are led to a relevant one-page brief that describes a particular didactic affordance by means of an example, concluding with an annotated selection of suitable apps.

As the TPACK model demonstrates, however, even if a didactic scenario successfully integrates technological, pedagogic and content knowledge, it will take root only in an environment that meets several contextual requirements (infrastructure, finance, vision, support, management…). Therefore, an implementation trajectory for policy makers and ICT personnel was developed alongside the didactic path aimed at student and teachers. The trajectory, which is modelled onto Kotter’s eight-step change management approach (1996), guides institutions through the complex process of integrating the didactic use of touch enabled mobile devices into their culture and organizational structures.

This presentation aims to offer inspiration and tools for institutions of teaching and learning that wish to make the most of the touch enabled technologies that students (and teachers) carry with them into higher education.

[1] Cope, B. & Kalantzis, M. (2013). “Towards a New Learning: the Scholar social knowledge workspace, in theory and practice”. E-learning and Digital Media, Vol. 10, Nr. 4.
[2] Gonzalez-Lloret, M. & Ortega, L. (2014). Technology-mediated TBLT. Researching Technolgy and Tasks. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins.
[3] Kotter, J.P. (1996). Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
[4] Puentedura, R.R. (2012, August 23). The SAMR Model: Background and Exemplars [Web log post]. Retrieved from