About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8073-8083
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.2155

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain


Y. Shafriri1, D. Levy2

1Learning Technologies R&D consulting (ISRAEL)
2Zefat Academic College (ISRAEL)
This paper deals with new learning affordances derived from emerging technologies, and focuses on the unique affordances of mobile apps. Smartphones have a high learning potential and are already massively embedded, but still it's informed integration in learning is complex and challenging. Thus, the objective of the study was to identify the uniqueness of mobile apps learning experience. In the presentation we will demonstrate some apps representing these unique characteristics.

The main research question appears in the title. We further asked: what links exist between the unique characteristics of the educational mobile apps? And what is the learning potential inherent in these affordances? In order to answer this question, we analyzed 230 mobile apps for learning, and selected 60 apps for further qualitative analysis. The selection criterion was formulated through the intersection of three key areas: Mobility, Ubiquity, and Contextual awareness. We name these distinctive apps "MUCs".

The study found five emergent categories of uniqueness with regard to learning with mobile applications, and suggests an overarching profile to characterize such apps. The categories are organized in three levels:
The micro level includes unique interactions with:
1) the device
2) the environment
The intermediate activity level includes:
3) location-based learning
4) supporting any learning environment and settings
The macro system level is:
5) apps as part of a complex system

From these five categories of uniqueness, we defined a common profile of MUC apps, with the fundamental principle we name Blended Space – Here and Now. We suggest seeing learning in 'blended space' as a powerful idea. Thus, every interaction in a unique mobile app simultaneously merges two domains: the actual surrounding and the virtual space. This merging happens in a situated 'here and now' activity. This unique mobile experience forms the ground for both the pedagogical potential and for the challenges inherent in mobile learning.

Additional pedagogical principles stem from the powerful idea of Blended Space:
a) Embodied Cognition as an learning strategy.
b) Mobile device as a 'discovery machine': new cognitive tools for mobile inquiry, especially for 'revealing the invisible'.
c) Open, personal and playful design, strongly connected to mobile uniqueness.
d) Mobile system thinking: emergence of a new literacy - the learner awareness to multiple contexts and his place as an actor in a complex system.

These principles draw a 'uniqueness profile' that supports deep understanding of the environment where the mobile app operates. One implication is the importance of environmental affordances and context (physical, human, and virtual) in the design. A major challenge is to apply MUCs not only as 'context sensor' extension, but also as a way for the learners themselves to become 'context sensors', curious and aware of their surroundings. This is particularly important with the emerging trend of smart 'things' with novel abilities related to cognitive and affective domains. The challenge is not only how to wisely integrate mobile apps in learning, but rather how to integrate any learning into daily life. Mobile apps already serve as the digital interface to the world, while the world itself is constantly becoming digital, connected and smarter. This fascinating combination invokes new 'objects to think with' and new ways of being, experiencing and learning.
author = {Shafriri, Y. and Levy, D.},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.2155},
url = {https://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.2155},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {8073-8083}}
AU - Y. Shafriri AU - D. Levy
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.2155
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 8073
EP - 8083
ER -
Y. Shafriri, D. Levy (2017) LEARNING WITH UNIQUE MOBILE APPS: PRINCIPLES AND IMPLICATIONS, ICERI2017 Proceedings, pp. 8073-8083.