Telepresence with IPads: Learning and Collaboration in Lower Secondary Schools

Bente Meyer
Aalborg University, Denmark


Distributed learning is a growing issue in education following the mainstreaming of technologies such as videoconferencing. However, though distance and distributed learning have been common in adult education and business since the 1990s little is still known about the use of videoconferencing in elementary education. This paper reports from ongoing research in three rural schools in Denmark where the use of 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. Preliminary results of the research suggest that telepresence could be enhanced in schools by seeing it as a broad framework for collaboration between schools, in which different kinds of connections – both synchronous and asynchronous, mediated and face-to-face, large screen and desktop interaction – can support the placement of schools within the community and in the global context of learning.

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