Pre-Service Teachers in a Ubiquitous Computing Environment: One-to-One Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)

Project Number
OER 21/08 CWL

Project Duration
April 2009 - February 2014


It is anticipated that personal wirelessly-networked technologies will become ubiquitous in the lives of learners over the next decade. The ready-to-hand access creates the potential for a new phase in the evolution of technology-enhanced learning (TEL), characterised by continuity of the learning experience across different scenarios (or environments), and emerging from the availability of one computer per student. The development in the one to one ubiquitous computing learning environment, supported by theories of social learning, situated learning, and knowledge-building, will influence the nature, the process and the outcomes of learning (Chan et al, 2006). Existing research show that ubiquitous computing has the potential to develop students' technology skills, provide opportunities for greater Internet and information access, enhance communication, enhance equity , promote student learning, enhance relevance of higher education, improve teacher efficiency, and even change the nature of education. It would be of great practical importance if we are able to fully investigate this potential and understand how it canbe realised in the specific context of pre-service teacher education in Singapore. The ubiquitous computing for learning studies was mainly conducted on students who have one to one access of computers. So far there is few research reported on pre-service teachers who are equipped with laptops at 1:1 ratio at a cohort level. The 2009 January intake of trainee teachers at NIE will become the first batch to be each equipped with a laptop, and thus have 24/7 access to computers. Both opportunities and challenges can be anticipated in the ubiquitous computing environment, which may include, to name a few, the possibility of laptops to distract students during lectures, lack of effective utilisation, as well as the need for more training and additional technical support. An understanding of the intended and unintended usage and consequences is necessary to promote the realisation of the advantages of a ubiquitous computing programme, thus advancing the potential impact of the one-to-one laptop access. This project will examine the usage and impact of laptops on teaching and learning to understand the possibilities and challenges of the ubiquitous computing environment aimed at achieving multiple dimensional learning goals of pre-service teachers. The study is expected to garner useful information for decision-making. It will enable us to get first-hand experience with the implementation of the ubiquitous computing environment. On the operational level, it will help faculty at NIE to effectively make the course more student-centred in the ubiquitous laptop environment, and allow the technology support department to better assist and anticipate the needs of the trainee teachers. As more and more institutions of higher education invest heavily in ubiquitous technology, research as the proposed study on the usage and consequences of ubiquitous computing will also be helpful to education technology researchers and professionals.

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series 13-005: ICT Experiences and Competencies of Pre-service Teachers in the Digital Age

Related Projects