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Wireless and ubiquitous computing

Multi-site Connectivity Reports

A series of reports describing how a wide variety of different technologies can be used to connect  remote sites back to the main campus. the following reports have been published:

All the reports can be found on the multi-site connectivity page at  http://www.ja.net/services/advisory/janet-multi-site-connectivity-advisory-service/publications-and-case-studies.html

Mobile Learning 2012

This paper looks at what mobile learning might mean for a student in 2012 by exploring what they  are doing  and how they are doing it.  Written in 2005 it says:

“It is based on the assumption that computers and mobile phones will continue to become smaller and lighter and have improved battery life.  I would expect students in 2012 to be expected to provide their own computing resources for everyday functions, with the institution providing some specialist equipment.  Many students will have a fairly powerful desktop computer (costing perhaps £200), a smart phone / PDA (costing perhaps £100- £200).  The smart phone would have a fold out or roll up screen somewhere between A4 and A5, would have all the functionality of a current laptop and would be able to connect to networks using wire, wireless (for instance in college) and using mobile phone technology (by then 4G or 5G probably offering around 5 Mbit/s). This would fit in their pocket and have a fold out keyboard as well as handwriting and voice recognition.  It would also serve as a music and video player probably holding hundreds of hours of video, or thousands of hours of music.”

Published in Interactions, University of Warwick, Issue 25, 2005  http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/ldc/resource/interactions/archive/issue25

Ubiquitous and mobile Computing

Ubiquitous computing can be defined simply as all staff and students having networked computers  at all times that they are studying, allowing them access to communication, office productivity and  (re)search tools.

Ubiquitous computing makes a significant difference precisely because the tools are available whenever they are wanted by the student.  When only 50 or 60% of a class can read a teacher cannot use hand-outs, cannot write things on the board or ask for written work without thinking of an alternative for those who cannot read.  The same is currently true of computing.  The teacher or lecturer has to consider whether or not the class will be able to access computers to do the work, what effect that will have on those who do not have their own computer and so on.  When you know that all the students have a computer available whenever they want then everything changes.  New forms of teaching can emerge which use ubiquitous computing in the same way that new forms of teaching emerged when writing became ubiquitous.

Three papers outlining the issues are available:

Closely related to ubiquitous computing is the idea of mobile computing, whereby the computer  (laptop, PDA or smartphone) can be used anywhere including on the move.  A discussion paper on  the issues is available  here.

Wireless computing

The use of wireless networking is becoming increasingly important in education and opens up a  wide variety of possibilities for enhancing teaching.  Wireless networks present a number of interesting new teaching possibilities because they allow computers to be used wherever required.

main report with details of wireless networking, how it can be used to enhance teaching and  learning with examples

summary report  2 sides version and 4 sides version

update  to main report

Connecting access centres

This brief report outlines some of the ways in which access and outreach centres can be connected to the network, recognising that one solution cannot work for all.  It will consider urban and rural, close to the parent college and far from it and even networking centres that the college doesn't own, but may rent for a few hours a week (such as a church hall).