Learning through telepresence with iPads: placing schools in local/global communities

Bente Meyer (Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 16 November 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present findings from an ongoing study in three rural schools in Denmark where videoconferences are used as part of the teaching at lower secondary level. The research focuses on how students learn from videoconferences that are both one-to-many and peer-to-peer. Videoconferencing, conceptualized by the schools in question as telepresence, is performed in a unique combination of desktop interaction through mobile devices (iPads) and studio-based large screen lectures and interaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Data have been collected through multi-sited ethnography, which has contributed to mapping relationships between schools and studying their collaboration through telepresence. As collaboration between schools is built into the project, multi-sited ethnography has followed telepresence as a phenomenon that emerges within these collaborations, i.e. the idea is that looking at it from one locality is only seeing it partially.

Findings

Preliminary results from the project suggest that schools need to work more on organizational frameworks for collaboration and that synchronous connections could be extended through asynchronous communication to support the potential of collaboration via telepresence with iPads.

Research limitations/implications

The study has followed schools for two years in the initial development phase, but can be further qualified by following the next phase of the project, which will be initiated in the Autumn of 2015.

Practical implications

The study has implications for the development of telepresence practices in which mobile devices are used in home classrooms and combined with stationary devices in auditoriums. In addition to this, the study provides examples of how schools can collaborate through telepresence activities in which both teacher-driven and student-driven activities are involved.

Originality/value

The study fulfils a need for knowledge about ways in which telepresence and videoconferencing is used in elementary education and for different educational goals.

Keywords

Citation

Meyer, B. (2015), "Learning through telepresence with iPads: placing schools in local/global communities", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 270-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-09-2015-0027

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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