These technologies both make use of Bluetooth to passively alert an individual’s smart device to the availability of information relevant to that location and so provide an ambient layer of information within a physical space. The signals from these beacons can be interpreted by software on the learner’s device and used to automatically trigger particular actions or the presentation of relevant information, such as by locating the individual on a building floor plan and highlighting currently free PCs or alerting them of outstanding books when entering the library, while Eddystone can also directly broadcast URLs that can be accessed without the need for a dedicated app.
Adjusting the transmission range of the beacons means that the area in which a specific beacon is detectable can be controlled, enabling the zone in which a particular action triggers to be as small or large as the purpose requires. This could be used, for example, to promote a survey to all students in a café or social area or to provide access to videos, sketchbooks, other works in the student’s portfolio, etc. to people when looking at a particular item in an art degree show.
These features – adjustable range and the passive receipt of personalised content – offer great potential for augmenting learning spaces throughout educational establishments by creating virtual ‘learning zones’ where particular types of interactions are encouraged in specific areas. This presentation provides a brief background to the development of Bluetooth Beacons, outlines several situations where they could be used to either enhance learning or support other aspects of campus life. It will also report on the authors’ research, highlighted in the NMC’s Horizon Report 2016, into integrating beacons into a studio space shared by Graphic Design students and their tutors and offer an opportunity to discuss the potential of these device within a learning context.
The paper related to this project has just been published and can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v24.32166
Thank you to those who attended the session. The slides are now available at: http://www.slideshare.net/IanGlover2/augmenting-formal-and-semiformal-learning-spaces-by-creating-learning-zones-with-bluetooth-beacons
A paper about beacons and this project is currently under review with ALT’s journal and I hope that it will be published soon, however…[Read more]