Ambient Learning Spaces: BYOD, Explore and Solve in Physical Contexts


There is a worldwide discussion about digitization in school education. This discussion is often technology-centered leaving a lack of solutions for daily schooling or focuses on isolated educational applications. Neither WiFi at school nor desktop-PCs, tablets, or smartphones will be the answer. However, they can be the key for a solution, if there is a didactic infrastructure that connects and integrates these devices into methods of self-directed forms of solving and discovering teaching content.

With the Ambient Learning Spaces (ALS) platform, we developed such a didactic infrastructure as an integrated environment that supports self-directed learning inside and outside school. The platform interlinks mobile and stationary learning applications. The artificial division between the classroom and the world outside vanishes through the pervasive cloud-based backend system NEMO (Network Environment for Multimedia Objects) connecting students’ mobile applications with central semantic media storage. This paper emphasizes on the two mobile applications for task-oriented (MoLES) and discovery-oriented learning (InfoGrid).

The InfoGrid System is a mobile application that supports the creation of augmented reality tours enabling the learners to study and discover physical places like urban spaces, museums, industrial settings, or natural habitats. Physical objects will be overlaid by media like text, images, audio, video, or 3D objects augmenting the physical/natural world by a digital informational layer by discovering and selecting visual (photographic) targets. Teachers or students can create content and tours by themselves through an editing/modeling application.

The mobile application Mobile Learning Exploration System (MoLES), allows setting up tasks (challenges) to be solved by students inside or preferably outside school. Tasks can be created by teachers or students. The students use their own smartphones or tablets to solve these tasks by collecting information in form of different media like texts, photos, or videos. This information will be tagged and transmitted to NEMO. When the tasks have been solved, the students return to school and use the information collected for presentations in the classroom or the school foyer.

Both mobile applications make use of large multi-touch screens (InteractiveWall) or multi-touch tables (InteractiveTable) located in their school to discuss, sort and structure the media into media collections by a tool called MediaGallery for further use. Using their own digital devices in the sense of “Bring your own Device” (BYOD) in a physical environment keeps the students connected with their physical (real) world. They will solve tasks, discover interactive content in a project- and topic-oriented manner outside school and bring the results back to the classroom to be discussed in a structured way.

Teachers and learners are enabled to use the different modular teaching applications of the ALS system as a modeling environment as well as learning applications. An overview of the whole system can be found in Proceedings of iCERi 2019 (Herczeg, Ohlei, Winkler, 2019). ALS installations are currently in use in several schools and museums.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICERI2020 Proceedings
Number of pages11
Publication date01.09.2020
ISBN (Print)978-84-09-24232-0
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2020
Event13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
- Online Conference
Duration: 09.11.202011.11.2020


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