1 Syracuse University (UNITED STATES)
2 Tufts University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Pages: 717-722
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
In this study we explore the incorporation of new innovative technologies in the classroom through legitimate peripheral participation in the community of practice. Wireless grids (McKnight et al., 2004) allow ad hoc sharing of resources (such as screen, signal and microphone) on edge devices (such as PDA’s, laptops and mobile phones). As such, it is a technology that may have many applications especially in online collaborative learning among students and instructors. Therefore, it has the potential to improve the process of interaction, negotiation and collaboration so that students have an active and constructive role in the learning process. Before introducing the technology into the classroom the researchers of this study wanted to get a better sense of collaborative activities within the classroom environment. We chose to explore a classroom environment that focuses on preparing students for entry into the technology oriented working world.

Technology instructors are always looking for ways to enable students to become more familiar with their working communities, so that they can stay current with the frequent changes and new developments. In light of this, Lave and Wenger's theories were especially intriguing in facilitating student participation in the practices of these ever changing technological communities, enabling students to experience what is described as Legitimate Peripheral Participation (LPP). Students participating in the practices of the communities within the context of the classroom can have a better chance of adaptation.

In a community of practice, the curriculum that novices experience consists of a series of situated opportunities, a field of learning resources. As novices work through these opportunities and use these resources they experience LPP. Lave and Wenger (1991) call this a "learning curriculum", and they contrast it to a "teaching curriculum", which they describe as constructed for the mediated instruction of novices by an instructor. LPP describes the process of learning in a community of practice whereby members of a community move from peripheral to full participation, and argues that this one way to better understand learning is to view it within these terms.

Ten undergraduate students (two groups) in a technology planning course participated in a practitioner based research initiative to identify specifications for sensors implementation on a real world production line. Students acted as consultants and met with the customer on three occasions. Only one student member had prior knowledge of sensors; the others had to quickly educate themselves on the technology. To supplement practical education about sensors, online support was provided from an educator from another university. Participant observation, progress reports and video recording were conducted for data collection. Content analysis of videos was done. The findings of the study offer insights on how to better incorporate wireless grids technologies in online classroom communities as well as recommendations and future research for further understanding of online students’ learning.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

McKnight, L.W., Howison, J., Bradner, S., 2004. Wireless grids: distributed resource sharing by mobile, nomadic, and fixed devices. IEEE Internet Computing 8 (July–August), 24–31.
Cyberlearning, Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Communities of Practice, Wireless Grids, Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL).