Title: “Learning 2.0 with special needs”

University: KULeuven

Promotor: Prof. E. Duval

Coordinator: José Luis Santos

Description: This thesis is about how web 2.0 applications and hardware devices like the iPad can change the way we teach and learn things. For example, a lot of students at the moment are too shy to actively participate in interactive lessons and because of that a lot of perhaps really useful input is lost. With the help of connected iPads (or other mobile devices) it could be possible to give anonymous input in an easy way. This input can then be gathered by the teacher. This can give more confidence to those shy students and motivate them to participate in future interactive lessons when they see that their input wasn’t as bad as they thought. Another aspect is in what way can the iPad replace paper? Wouldn’t it be healthier for the back if students don’t need to bring all those heavy schoolbooks anymore but instead just one device of 500 grams?

Because of the wideness of this subject the thesis will concentrate mostly on how this can be used in the special education. I have noticed that a lot of people with a mental disorder, like my brother, can work better with computers and touchscreen devices than that they can with pen and paper and I’m certain that if he could use such device during math lessons that he would make a lot more progress and be more motivated.

So concretely this means that we must iteratively investigate what the demands would be for such a system. Every device of the students should be able to communicate with the device of the teacher (or maybe also with each other for collaborations). This should go in an efficient way so no time is lost in the beginning of the course. We will also have to investigate which communication channel is the best for this kind of application (bluetooth, WiFi, 3G,…). So this thesis touches a lot of aspects, learning 2.0, developing an application on a touchscreen device, the communication between the devices and human computer interaction.

All the posts about my thesis can be found here.

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