2 nd National Workshop on Handheld Computers. Mobile Learning for the Computing Discipline 24 November 2005 Usability and the Loneliness of the Long Distance Learner Agnes Kukulska-Hulme Institute of Educational Technology The Open University. Overview. Perspectives on usability
2nd National Workshop on Handheld Computers
Mobile Learning for the Computing Discipline24 November 2005Usability and the Loneliness of the Long Distance LearnerAgnes Kukulska-HulmeInstitute of Educational TechnologyThe Open University
“Going on sale in Japanese electronics shops today is Fujitsu’s Raku-raku – a handset that includes all the usual features of a mobile phone, but with one crucial difference:
it slows the caller’s voice down to a manageable pace.
… the device will make straining to hear a grandchild’s telephone jabbering a merciful thing of the past”
“..it’s impossible to maintain good posture when using these gadgets…
… People tend to sit slumped, with their neck stuck out and looking down at these small screens. That can cause compression of the nerves that run from the neck, down the arm and into the hand…”
–comment by a physiotherapist
Advice given in the column:
Keep use of handheld devices to a minimum – no more than three minutes of continued use without a break.
…do they look like they’re learning?
Without technical support
With suspicion of illegality
Recent projects – sources of information:
Prepared for JISC-funded project on Wireless and Mobile Learning in the post-16 sector
Prepared for the book: Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler (eds) Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers,Routledge
Prepared for Becta-funded project on Use of Tablet PCs in Schools
POSITIVE ASPECTS (1)
The immediate readiness of PDAs makes them ideal to grab a few moments useful working time at times and in locations where even a laptop would not be useful.
The ability to ‘beam’ items between PDAs encouraged collaboration and communication.
POSITIVE ASPECTS (2)
POSITIVE ASPECTS (3)
Students change graphics, make choices about how they receive messages, e.g. via website or mobile phone.
It may be easier to record thoughts as they occur,
and to have spoken words converted to electronic text, or to download audio files to a PC and send by email.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS (1)
When the batteries ran out the PDA lost all its stored data and 3rd party applications.
The iPAQ [PDA] memory was considered to be too small to hold the course resources, additional PDF and media files and any added software, whilst leaving any space for games and music files.
A climate of nervousness was created… students were concerned about incurring debt.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS (2)
Students reported problems with seeing the PDA display
(screen contrast was very poor – good lighting conditions needed or use of backlight which used more battery power).
The sleeve and wireless PC card made the iPAQ too heavy and too large for comfortable use and the ability to store in a pocket.
Weak signal or no signal in some locations
Educational Contexts of Use - Patterns of use
Educational Contexts of Use – demands on the user
PC vs. handheld usability - Some enduring factors:
PC vs handheld usability - Some new issues:
Positive effects – e.g. always on
Negative effects – e.g. short battery life