Ubiquitous Writing: Writing Technologies for Situated Mediation and Proactive Assessment

By Vive Kumar, Maiga Chang and Tracey Leacock.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Writing is a core skill students are expected to develop early in their schooling. However, tracking and understanding the development of learners’ expertise in writing poses considerable challenges, given the complexity of the writing process and the volume of data. This paper discusses two technologically-enhanced pedagogical methods that hold the potential to enhance writing competence. The first method uses a situated learning activity involving the use of cellular phones to assist mobile learners. The second method tracks learners’ activities as they complete a writing exercise using a special mixed-initiative editor called MI-Writer. Preliminary results from two studies, one conducted in Taiwan involving a mobile learning treasure hunt, and the second conducted in New Zealand provide insight into possible uses of these pedagogical approaches to support mobile student writers. We use the results of the studies to emphasize the need for ubiquitous, situated, mixed-initiative writing support for students. We present an overview of the technology behind these two platforms and discuss their real-world applicability based on experimental studies. These technology platforms could be extended to measure individual competencies, identify writing competency-gaps, and promote means to address these gaps.

Keywords: Ubiquitous Writing, Situated Writing, Mixed-Initiative Interactions, Mobile Technologies, Model Tracing

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.173-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.431MB).

Dr. Vive Kumar

Associate Professor, School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University, Edmonton, Edmonton, Canada

Vive (K) launched his professional career as a scientist at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing in Mumbai, India. During this tenure, he won a fellowship of the United Nations to work with Prof Alan Lesgold at the Learning Research and Development Centre (LRDC), University of Pittsburgh, USA. His research on ‘model tracing’ at LRDC won him a full PhD scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada, where he worked with Professors Gordon McCalla and Jim Greer. He graduated his PhD as the Best Graduating Student of 2001 and launched his academic career with Simon Fraser University as Assistant Professor. In 2006, he consulted for the Asian Development Bank and worked with the Open University of Sri Lanka in Colombo to develop an online learning infrastructure and a masters programme in educational technology. He then moved to New Zealand to take up an academic position with Massey University in Wellington. In 2008, he came back to Canada as an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University to continue his beloved research in online learning technologies. Vive(k)’s research centers around Technology-Enhanced Teaching, Learning, and Research that extends to mixed-initiative human-computer interaction and causal modelling.

Dr. Maiga Chang

Athabasca University, Edmonton, Edmonton, Canada

Maiga Chang received his Ph.D from the Dept. of Electronic Engineering from the Chung-Yuan Christian University in 2002. He is Assistant Professor in the School of Computing Information and Systems, Athabasca University (AU), Athabasca, Alberta, Canada. His researches mainly focus on mobile learning and ubiquitous learning, museum e-learning, game-based learning, educational robots, learning behavior analysis, data mining, intelligent agent technology, computational intelligence in e-learning, and mobile healthcare. He serves several peer-reviewed journals, including AU Press and Springer’s Transaction on Edutainment, as editorial board members. He has participated in 126 international conferences/workshops as a Program Committee Member and has (co-)authored more than 128 book chapters, journal and international conference papers. In September 2004, he received the 2004 Young Researcher Award in Advanced Learning Technologies from the IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology (IEEE TCLT). He is a valued IEEE member for fourteen years and also a member of ACM, AAAI, INNS, and Phi Tau Phi Scholastic Honor Society.

Dr. Tracey Leacock

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Burnaby, Canada

Tracey L. Leacock, PhD is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education and in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University. She is also an Associate Member of the Cognitive Science Program. She completed her PhD in cognitive psychology at Princeton University, specializing in visual perception. As a Project Management Professional (PMP), she has led the development of online and blended courseware for a wide range of academic and workplace training courses. Her current research focuses on the decisions learners make about how and when to use educational technologies to aid in their learning and on academic writing at the post-secondary level.