Mobile Access to Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton

Tag Archives: video

The use of mobile devices to create ‘augmented contexts’ in the field

Description: This report describes the CONTSENS project (using wireless technologies for context sensitive education and training). The project uses multimedia information, delivered on mobile devices, to supplement a field trip experience for Archaeology students visiting a site. The content included custom-built 3D visualisations of the architecture and multimedia descriptions, delivered in-context in various parts of the site, using the GPS on the mobile devices. The report suggests that the provision of this information extended the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) of the students, allowing them to increase their understanding through interaction with the content as well as with their peers.


You will need:

  • the visualisations and multimedia resources for this project were built using a custom development and player called Mediascape. You can see a similar tool on the Futurelab Create-a-Scape site.
  • Students on site will need access to a device that can display the resources, with GPS if you want them to be triggered by the student’s location.


Cook, J. (2010) Mobile phones as mediating tools within augmented contexts for development. In Brown, E. (ed.). Education in the Wild: contextual and location-based mobile learning in action. A report from the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-Vous workshop series. University of Nottingham: Learning Sciences Research Institute (LSRI). Available online at: [Accessed Jan 2011]

The pedagogy discussed in this report is expanded in: Cook, J. (2010). Mobile phones as mediating tools within augmented contexts for development. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 2(3), 1-12.
Available from: [Accessed December 2010]


Field trip support: dynamic visualisations for understanding biodiversity


Students on a field trip to the sea were provided with mobile video devices (portable DVD players) with multimedia information about fish species. One group were provided with a DVD of dynamic visualisations, while another group used static ones.
The project was evaluated at three levels: micro (the usability of the devices in the context of the learning activity); meso (the impact on learning); and macro (practicability of including this type of activity into a course). Students were tested on their ability to identify species before and after the activity.
The students found the devices easy to use, and there is some evidence that having access to support materials in the field was both motivational and beneficial to students’ learning.

You will need:

  • Video content (develop your own, or check for existing clips you can re-use)
  • Mobile devices to play back the video (this could be handheld devices like iPods, or portable DVD players if you plan to supply the clips on DVD.

Tip: don’t rely on your students having access to the internet (e.g. to watch clips on Youtube or the video streaming server). Wifi and 3G connections can be unreliable and expensive in fieldwork situations.



Pfeiffer, V.D.I., Gemballa, S., Jarodzka, H., Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2009) Situated learning in the mobile age: mobile devices on a field trip to the sea. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17 (3), 187-99.
Available online at: [Accessed Jan 2011]