Ubiquitous Learning (TC Book Review)
Modern day conceptions of ubiquitous learning build on an influential vision of ubiquitous computing published two decades earlier by Mark Weiser (1991) of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. His article depicted a world of smart objects and intelligent contexts based on ubiquitous computing, a different way of conceptualizing the interface between computers, networks, and people. In Weiser’s vision, tiny computers are embedded into nearly every artifact and setting, networked so that they intercommunicate. For example, a tree could be tagged with information about its botanical characteristics; the tree might also offer to show an historic image of its context about the time it was planted or to describe the contribution it makes to reducing local pollution and greenhouse gases. People who wandered by could access this information on a wireless mobile device; based on a person’s response, the building adjacent to the tree might then offer some information. Current images of smart objects and intelligent contexts for learning include affordances not available twenty years earlier, such as Web 2.0 tools embedded in cyberinfrastructure (Dede, 2007) and augmented reality games (Klopfer, 2008).