What is Context-Awareness?

Context-aware environments and devices, broadly being explored in experimental settings, are erasing the boundaries between people and the things they use. Already, mobile devices routinely make decisions based on contextual clues such as the user’s location and orientation or the date and time of day. Devices that sense temperature, ambient conditions, acceleration and movement, and much more are increasingly common.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • M-Learning's first flush in Europe in the late 90s showed that Learning on the fly fails when the context is poor. More generally, an awareness of the learners context, state of mind, (health?) could help design more effective learning tools for students to use by themselves, or potentially with groups of similar learners engaging in similar contexts. Modelling of users may also advance our ability to model learner's current capabilities more effectively, generating more effective adaptive learning materials, assessments and feedback. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 24, 2010
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Within software, this idea is being expressed as "Attentive User Interfaces" http://www.hml.queensu.ca/papers/vertegaalcacm0303.pdf. Human attention is increasingly being recognised as flawed and easily overloaded (cellphones in cars, invisible gorillas) and as software pervades all aspects of our lives it needs to be carefully managed to not overwhelm people. The Minority Report style of continuous contextual advertising is an example of the risks of continual distraction caused by over-familiarity of identity. - stephen.marshall stephen.marshall Aug 24, 2010
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • your response here
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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