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A walk on the WILD side: How wireless handhelds may change computer-supported collaborative learning

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Designs for CSCL (Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning) applications usually presume a desktop or laptop computer. Yet future classrooms are likely to be organized around Wireless Internet Learning Devices (WILD) that resemble graphing calculators, Palm, or Pocket-PC handhelds, connected by short-range wireless networking. WILD learning will have physical affordances that are different from today’s computer lab, and different from classrooms with 5 students per computer. These differing affordances may lead to learning activities that deviate significantly from today’s images of K-12 CSCL activities. Drawing upon research across a range of recent handheld projects, we suggest application-level affordances around which WILD-based CSCL has begun to organize: (a) augmenting physical space, (b) leveraging topological space, (c) aggregating coherently across all students, (d) conducting the class, and (e) act becomes artifact. We speculate on how CSCL research may consequently evolve towards a focus on kinds of systemic coupling in an augmented activity space.
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Keywords: CSCL controversies; Handhelds; WILD (Wireless Internet Learning Devices); augmentation frameworks; classroom workflow; collaborative learning architectures; data mining; design; shared knowledge; wireless networking

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: SRI International 2: Stanford University

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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