Developing Mobile Learning Experiences using the App Way CyberParks.

Philip Bonanno
March 3rd to 11th, 2016

The objective of this STSM was to develop on-line learning experiences using handheld devices and the WAY-Cyberparks App equipped with Augmented Reality. Two mobile learning experiences involving augmented reality were developed to be piloted in two different locations in Valletta, Malta. One was designed to be carried out at the Upper Barrakka gardens in Valletta about a historical event that took place during the 1565 Great Siege at Senglea Point on the other side of the Grand harbour. The second mobile learning activity will be carried out at the Argotti gardens Floriana, about aspects of history, architecture and botany. The development of these two mobile learning scenarios included various design aspects. Conceptual design focuses on defining the domain themes, type of learning and intended learning outcomes. Structural design involves the chunking and sequencing of the content and identifying the steps/options in the learning activities. Navigational design determines the mode of interaction both with the content and with the external environment. It also determines media integration in the learning activities based on a set of technical requirements that were communicated to the Research and Design team to align the pedagogical demands with technical affordances of the Way-Cyberparks App.

This STSM served to establish close collaboration between: WG1, WG3 and the TASK group for technology-enhanced learning within WG3 of the Cyberparks COST Action. It was also a collaborative experience between the three collaborating Universities (University of Malta, UNIVP M, Ancona, Italy and University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain). It also served to establish multidisciplinary collaboration between content experts involved in this project about Smart City Learning. The Cyberparks project was promoted at UnivPM during a seminar organised for students from the hosting Department. An exploratory visit was organized at two areas in the city that will serve as testing sites for the CyberPark application during the forthcoming meeting of the Cyberparks Action in Ancona (Spring 2017).

In the context of this STSM and the development of the two mobile learning activities using Augmented reality to be tested and piloted during the ICiTy conference in Malta 18 – 20th April 2016 , two research papers were co-authored. One was led by Dr Philip Bonanno, UoM, entitled: ‘A Connectivist Approach to Smart City Learning: Valletta City Case-Study’ (Bonanno et al 2016) and the other led by PhD student Roberto Pierdicca, UNIVPM, entitled: ‘The integration of an augmented reality module within the Way- Cyberparks App: The case study of Valletta city,’ (Pierdicca et al 2016).. Both these papers will be presented at the ICiTY conference in Malta (April 2016). A set of development specifications were identified for the technical team to customise the WAY-Cyberparks App with Augmented Reality for the developed Mobile Learning activities.

Through this STSM the collaborating institutions will continue to refine the developed mobile learning activities and develop similar others using the same model and approach. Continual discussions will take place to identify how the expertise of the participating academics can be integrated within the academic processes of the institutions and how to extend collaboration through the Erasmus+ Staff Mobility Programme. A number of co-authored papers are being considered for publication involving an article about this project in Maltese local newspapers and a paper about the evaluation of this project in Smart city learning for a leading journal in Mobile or Smart City Learning.