Pervasive Computing – an application to effective teaching-learning process
Shalabh Agarwal and Asoke Nath
Abstract— In the present work we have tried to explore the tremendous scope of pervasive computing in teaching-learning process. The teaching-learning process is been changed quite dramatically from what we had a few years back. Before the age of computers, the teaching-learning process was mainly based on printed materials such as books, journals, reports etc. Apart from printed materials audio and video materials were also used to some extent for teaching-learning process. Due to tremendous progress in Information and Communication Technology in the last decade or so, the entire teaching-learning methodology has been shifted towards technology enabled e-learning. The grater demand for learning, specially in higher education, has generated newer and challenging avenues. Pervasive and ubiquitous learning has expanded these avenues and has enabled learning anytime any moment. In the current paper, we have tried to explain the concept of pervasive and ubiquitous computing and its impact on modern teaching-learning methodology. Index Terms— Pervasive Computing, e-learning.

——————————  —————————— ting, is a model of human-computer interaction in which 1 INTRODUCTION information processing has been thoroughly integrated In the modern world, the technology plays a major role in into everyday objects and activities. In the course of reguthe education processes, through innovative technologylar activities, someone "using" ubiquitous computing enenabled learning system. Learning and teaching in a digigages many computational devices and systems simultatal age are being intensely altered in a wide variety of neously, and may not necessarily even be aware that they contexts by the additional prospective offered by technolare doing so. The main concept of pervasive computing is ogy. Due to tremendous growth in internet services and “invisibility”, where the user is not aware of the presence mobile communication the entire learning methods have of technology. It is the omnipresence of the technology been modified. No one is ready to wait for to get some which is the property of being present everywhere. It is a information which was not true or not possible a few paradigm shift where technology becomes virtually invisyears back. ible in our lives. Instead of having a desktop or laptop computer, the technology we use will be embedded in Till very recently, all kinds of learning-related activity our environment. Because of the pervasiveness of this that can potentially be e-enabled and e-learning were technology, the user tends to use it without thinking mainly done through ownership of technologies coupled about the tool. Instead, the focus is on the task, making with access to social software. Now, these can no longer the technology effectively invisible to the user. be viewed as a purely institutionally based or narrowly defined set of activities. The concept of e-learning is thus Pervasive computing is the extensive use of embedded becoming much wider than just providing technology micro-controllers and automatic id systems in ways that enabled learning resources. The shift is towards how are transparent to the user. Some examples are the engine learning can be enhanced by more effective and farcontrol computer in a car, TiVo, DVD, blue-ray players reaching uses of digital technologies. and other audio-video gear. Location dependent services on cell phones are another example. Among the emerging The term ‘e-learning’ has undergone a paradigm shift due technologies expected to prevail in the pervasive computo pervasiveness of technology. Mobile network and ting environment of the future are wearable computers, wireless network have opened the opportunity to ensmart homes and smart buildings. Pervasive Computing courage learning anywhere and anytime and not in preis a computing technology that spreads through the users’ determined classroom or in laboratories. environment by making use of seamless connectivity of multiple independent information devices embedded in 2 PERVASIVE COMPUTING – TECHNOLOGY the environment of the users. Pervasive computing is ANYWHERE ANYTIME changing our daily activities in a variety of ways. While A new paradigm in computing technology is pervasive using modern digital tools, users tend to communicate in computing which is also known as Ubiquitous compu- different ways, be more active, use geographical/temporal spaces and have more control. ————————————————
• Shalabh Agarwal is a faculty with the Department of Computer Science, St. Xavier’s College(Autonomous),Kolkata,India.. • Asoke Nath is a faculty with the Department of Computer Science, St. Xavier’s College(Autonomous),Kolkata,India and also the Executive Director of the Computer Centre of the College.

Till very recently, the most effective teaching-learning


innovation is E-learning, which is the amalgamation of online learning, web-based training and technologydelivered instruction. It covers a wide range of instructional material that can be delivered on a CD-ROM or DVD, over a local area network (LAN), or on the Internet. It includes Computer-Based Training (CBT), Web-Based Training (WBT), Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS), distance or online learning and online tutorials. E-learning provides the student or learner with information that can be accessed in a situation free from time and place constraints. The learner can go through the lessons at his or her own pace. The progress and achievement of the student can be assessed in e-Learning, with custom feedback and evaluation available in an interactive environment. It is the convergence of the Internet and learning, or Internet-enabled learning through the use of network technologies to create, cultivate, deliver, and facilitate learning, anytime and anywhere. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio. Today, e-Learning becomes heavily learner-centered, emphasizing pervasive and personalized learning technologies. Also known as ubiquitous or ambient learning, pervasive learning refers to learning that is available anywhere anytime. Pervasive learning is supported by wireless communication and wearable computing. In the technology enabled pervasive learning environment, which is an extension of the e-learning concept, the learners have access to a variety of digital devices and services, including computers connected to the internet and mobile computing devices, whenever and wherever they need them. It is more focused on many-to-many than one-toone or one-to-many, and includes the idea of technology being always available but not itself the focus of learning. It conceptualises the idea that both teachers and students are active participants in the learning process, who critically analyze information, create new knowledge in a variety of ways (both collaboratively and individually), communicate what they have learned, and choose which tools are appropriate for a particular task. Education has undergone major changes in recent years, with the development of digital information transfer, storage and communication methods having a significant effect. This development has allowed for access to global communications and the number of resources available to today's students at all levels. After the initial impact of computers and their applications in education, the introduction of e-learning and m-learning epitomized the constant transformations that were occurring in education. Now, the assimilation of ubiquitous computing in education marks another great step forward, with Ubiquitous Learning (u-learning) emerging through the concept of ubiquitous computing. It is reported to be both pervasive and persistent, allowing students to access education flexibly, calmly and seamlessly. U-learning has the potential

to revolutionize education and remove many of the physical constraints of traditional learning. Furthermore, the integration of adaptive learning with ubiquitous computing and u-learning may offer great innovation in the delivery of education, allowing for personalization and customization to student needs with the concept of context aware learning. The figure-1 below illustrates the paradigm shifts in e-learning in the last few years moving towards pervasive and ubiquitous learning (u-learning).

Figure 1: The components of paradigm shifts in e-learning

Some key components and principles of pervasive and ubiquitous learning were suggested by Siobhán Thomas in his article “Pervasive Scale: A model of pervasive, ubiquitous, and ambient learning”. The key components are as follows: (i) Community: Pervasive learning is a social process that connects learners to communities of devices, people, and situations, including other pervasive leaning situations. Learners are not “taught” by one teacher. They are educated by the community (of which they play a central part), and educate others in the community as well. Autonomy: Learners author learning experiences themselves and in doing so they take control of and direct their own learning processes. They have power over their own learning and have the ability to perform actions and intervene as they deem necessary. They are freed from power politics that see one central authority figure or authority structure directing the course of learning. They become comfortable with the knowledge that in the world questions do not necessarily have a single, correct answer, but that there are many variations and possibilities and learning feedback comes from a variety of sources. Locationality: Learning occurs in locations and at times that are meaningful and relevant for the learner. Learning is not just for the classroom but for the world outside classroom doors, of which the classroom is a part, a persistent world where learning has no “on/off” switch. It means learning process should be in a global perpective.





Relationality: Learners construct meaningful and relevant learning situations to which they can relate. Because learners are learning concepts within their own personal environments, they can understand better the implications of what they are learning and can construct ways to relate this knowledge to their lives. TABLE 1 KEY COMPONENTS OF PERVASIVE LEARNING Community Learners are educated by the community and educate others in the community as well. Locationality Learning occurs in locations and at times that are meaningful and relevant for the learner. Autonomy Learners author learning experiences themselves and take control of and direct their own learning processes. Relationality Learners construct meaningful and relevant learning situations to which they can relate.

ability to deliver material to learners. It allows for realtime interaction as the training is delivered in a classroom format, as an interactive workshop, as a demonstration with the opportunity for learners to practice. d) Collaborative Learning: Teaching by Discourse Learning by Dialogue In collaborative learning two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together and actively interact by sharing experiences. Groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artefacts or product of their learning. Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates, study teams and other activities. The collaborative learning process always help the learners to understand the subject much better than studying it in isolated manner. Sometimes this help also get some innovative ideas from group discussions. e) Pervasive Learning: Teaching by Exploration Learning by Experience Pervasive or ubiquitous or ambient—learning means the education should be “always on”. It means the education is always on and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere, at anytime. Pervasive learning is a social process that connects learners to communities of devices, people, and situations so that learners can construct relevant and meaningful learning experiences, that they author themselves, in locations and at times that they find meaningful and relevant. This implies the mobility of users and the presence of heterogeneous devices with a high level of usability in the learning environment open opportunities for innovative educational practices. In this method the learning is through explored knowledge. The various learning environments expected to be persisting in the next few years are: a) Customized learning spaces, i.e. personal learning environments (PLEs) b) Customization of content presentation and access c) eReaders and eBooks providing better and more interactive content (just in time) d) Changing paradigm of “bounded courses” to unbounded courses where learning is a continuous process that can occur anywhere and at any time Some of the future international perspectives towards elearning are: a) Providing access to education even to remote, rural, and developing areas b) Promote intercultural mixing and diversity through education c) Improving educational access in segregated societies d) Sharing resources and co-producing content to reduce cost e) Serve new growing customer groups

To make the learning process successful the technology should be embedded in systems that can seamlessly support learning and teaching activities across a variety of formal and informal settings, combining different approaches. Pervasive computing offers new and innovative ranges of possibilities in relation to supporting learning through collaboration and situation. Following are the various learning methods which will explain how pervasive computing will be most effective in teaching-learning process : a) Self Study: Teaching by Conservation - Learning by Acquiring. In self study, the content is used as a medium of study that relies on one's own self to understand the content and follow through on learning tasks related to a course. In this method the information flow is one way and there is no scope of interaction. The learner has to understand the subject at their own. In this type of learning process the reading materials should written in such a manner that the learner can understand the material very easily.

b) Presentational: Teaching by Transmission - Learning by Reception. In presentational teaching-learning, the teacher presents the course contents through verbal communication supported by visuals and in some cases audio is also used. The understanding is through acceptance and reflection. This method allows a two way communication and makes it possible to have interaction. c) Instructor initiated: Teaching by Transmission Learning by Sharing The instructors are knowledgeable and experienced in the learning material, used for their facilitation skills and



Informal learning, sharing own learning with others via internet and mobile technology.

The concept of pervasive and ubiquitous learning supports all the above learning environments and will also enhance the possibilities of achieving the international perspectives in the near future. The concept of ubiquitous computing and pervasive learning goes beyond portable computers. As new technologies evolve and more pervasive forms of technology emerge, computers will become 'invisible' and will be embedded in all aspects of our life. Wearable computers and embedded microchips will be the tools for future learning. These innovations may have appeared strange and futuristic at the beginning, but, over time they blended into our everyday lives. In this age of progress and great change, we tend to easily adapt to the technologies and pedagogies that emerge. Ubiquitous technology and pervasive learning may be the new hope for the future of education.

is tremendous possibility application area of pervasive computing in the modern teaching-learning methodology. This could be the definitive solution to have 100% literacy in any developed or under developed country. To make the programme successful a joined venture is required among the educationist from various fields and also the computer scientists to put their head together to get proper use of pervasive computing in both teaching and learning process. The present work is a rather a systematic study on the concept of pervasive and ubiquitous learning.

SA and AN express their sincere gratitude to the Department of Computer Science for giving opportunity to carry out this study on pervasive computing. AN is also grateful to University Grants Commission for giving fund for doing minor research project on Network security and cryptography.

The advantage of pervasive computing is that computers are transparently integrated into people’s lives, but this benefit raises the fear of dependency and interference. Research has found that people are generally ready to accept omnipresent technologies if the benefits are thought to more than the risks. Understanding the benefits and risks are a great challenge to both the users and developers because pervasive computing is supposed to be transparent and the users are mostly unaware of presence of the technology. Another challenge is the development and implementation of real-life applications requires a team of developers with diverse background not only in the field of computer science and communication technologies but also experts in the fields of social science and psychology. Hence, researchers have found that, although pervasive and ubiquitous concept is quite old, it is very recently that it has actually picked up momentum. New and emerging technologies are changing the overview of traditional teaching-learning methods. The fast evolutions of new possibilities in the fields of computers and communication have had a large impact on the transformation of the learning process over the last decade or so. Pervasive computing is one such paradigm shift from traditional methods of teacher-centric teaching-learning process to a learner-centric approach. The technology of ubiquitous computing has opened a vast area of research and development in the field of teaching-learning. There

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