Students investing more time and effort in their learning and more efforts from the teachers and/or institutions on learning activities pose positive influences on students’ academic outcomes. Despite the apparent positive values of student engagement, getting teachers and/or institutions to engage students more in learning in-class and out-of-class remains challenging and the higher education sector in Hong Kong is no exception. To address the challenges of better engaging university students for quality learning experiences and accordingly increasing teachers’ chances of adopting the necessary changes, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in collaboration with other partner institutions propose to make use of emerging iBeacon Technology as the innovative enabler for engaging learning experiences. In the current generation of Bring Your Own Device, the iBeacon Technology can be embedded to different existing physical learning spaces (e.g. lecture halls, seminar rooms, general teaching rooms, laboratories, libraries) with e-activities through the iBeacon transmitters and the companion mobile application developed for both Android and iOS systems such that students can become active explorers, not passive receivers, to access the e-materials. As iBeacon Technology is supported by both Android and iOS systems and these two systems are reported to cover 99.3% smartphone market shares all over the World by June 2016, the proposed iBeacon Technology is accessible to most students, if not all, in Hong Kong institutions. The objectives of the proposed project are to:
1. conduct a comprehensive implementation of iBeacon Technology that can augment various physical learning spaces with e-activities to explore how iBeacon Technology can support pedagogies of engagement and/or new pedagogies;
2. develop discipline-specific materials for the e-activities in alignment with the intended learning outcomes of the wide range of subjects involved in this project, in the formats of low tech (e.g. video, audio and web information) and high tech (e.g. AR/MR contents) to transform teaching delivery to location-based enabled learning;
3. design and develop a portable and holistic infrastructure for teachers to integrate AR/MR contents in addition to low tech contents effectively and efficiently for teaching delivery;
4. investigate the potential Big Data collected from this project (e.g. class attendance, group formation, person-to-person interaction, classroom ecology) for students’ behavioral study and any related issues resulting from this study); (v) make recommendations based on the findings of this project on the educational use of iBeacon Technology with various kinds of e-activities for the higher education sector and beyond as appropriate.
Augmented Teaching and Learning Advancement System
Using iBeacon location-based technology, ATLAS will allow teachers to deliver their learning materials to students via their mobile devices. This system will allow students to mark their attendance, take tests, and access e-materials and activities through their personal devices. Teachers will be able to create and distribute e-materials in the form of tests, augmented reality, virtual reality, and other types of electronic documents. This system will also allow for new paths of engagement between students and other students, students and teachers, and group members.
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