Augmenting paper-based learning with mobile phones

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    Keywords:Paper-based learningMobile learningLine numbers

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    paper textbook with a mobile phone and to treat the combination as a whole to facilitate verbatim

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    in collaborative learning tasks (e.g., McDonald et al., 2005; vanBoxtel and van der Linden, 2000). To students, these printed bookscould also be perceived as critical vehicles for acquiring knowledge(Garner, 1992) or principal sources for receiving specic coursecredits (Westhues, 1991).

    When studying a lesson from a textbook, students often under-line key sentences or take selective verbatim notes (cf., Wade et al.,

    Recently, many Web-based support tools promoting annotationor asynchronous group discussion have been developed to facili-tate reading or collaborative knowledge construction (e.g., Cadizet al., 2000; Guzdial and Turns, 2000; Marshall, 1998; Rau et al.,2004). These online support tools, when employed for educationalpurposes, would potentially improve opportunities for note-takingand add variety to the use of students notes. In addition, the toolscould also be used to support the resolution of students compre-hension difculties by bringing students questions to public dis-cussion. However, the offer of Web support seems constrained bya learning environment or location, which may be inconsistent

    * Corresponding author. Tel.: +886 3 4227151x35327; fax: +886 3 4273485.E-mail addresses: (P.-Y. Chao),

    Interacting with Computers 21 (2009) 173185

    Contents lists availab


    .e ls(G.-D. Chen).characteristics of paper could support reading processes (OHaraand Sellen, 1997; Sellen and Harper, 2003) and facilitate coopera-tive work among group members (e.g., Luff et al., 1992; Mackay,1999; Nomura et al., 2006). According to Weiss et al. (2000), mosthigh school science teachers in the USA reported using at least onecommercially published textbook in their classes. The use of papertextbooks could help teachers prepare course instruction(McCutcheon, 1981; Thornton, 1991) or could support students

    mation (Amer, 1994; Marxen, 1996), the improvement in learningwould rely on the opportunity and the ways in which students takenotes or review the selected information (Kiewra, 1985). Moreover,students generally encounter comprehension difculties whenclarifying confusing passages or technical terms in text. An inabil-ity to resolve these difculties may lead to construction of incom-plete representation of the text (Cain et al., 2001) or a lack ofmotivation to approach current and future learning tasks.1. Introduction

    For decades, paper and traditionauseful tools that support of knowled0953-5438/$ - see front matter 2009 Elsevier B.V. Adoi:10.1016/j.intcom.2009.01.001note-taking, resolving comprehension questions, and receiving reading recommendations. The textbookparagraphs were augmented with line numbers to facilitate coordination between the mobile phone andthe paper textbook. An eight-week comparative study was conducted to explore the use of two readingvehicles. The results and ndings show that using a mobile phone to augment paper-based learning istechnically feasible and seems to promote the application of verbatim note-taking and posting compre-hension questions for discussion. However, the results of two course tests indicate that consequent learn-ing improvement seemed inconsistent among the students. A six-week case study was also conducted toexplore the implications of the augmented support to students learning practice. The ndings show thatmobile phones as learning supportive tools to augment paper-based learning could support studentsplanning and management of learning strategies or activities. The portability of mobile phones and papertextbooks and the ubiquitous connection of paper-based learning with an online learning communitymay provide the exibility in planning ahead for suitable learning strategies or activities and mayenhance students assessment for management of students learning goals.

    2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

    s have been serving asnsive tasks. The unique

    1990). These rehearsal strategies help the students select andacquire important information (Weinstein and Mayer, 1986).Although the adoption of strategies such as underlining text or tak-ing notes could foster the intentional recall of the extracted infor-Available online 8 February 2009improvement in learning may depend on the opportunity and quality of which students apply note-tak-ing, review notes, or enhance comprehension through questioning. This study aims to complement aAugmenting paper-based learning with m

    Po-Yao Chao *, Gwo-Dong ChenDepartment of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Central Univer

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 13 January 2007Received in revised form 17 December 2008Accepted 28 January 2009

    a b s t r a c t

    Paper and traditional bookand school learning. Althouing may foster intentional

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    No. 300, Jung-da Rd., Jung-li City, Taoyuan, Taiwan, ROC

    ave been serving as useful tools in supporting knowledge-intensive taskslearning strategies such as selective verbatim note-taking or question-ask-all or resolve comprehension difculties in paper-based learning practice,

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  • materials on a handheld device (e.g., Marshall and Ruotolo, 2002;Pettit and KuKulska-Hulme, 2007; Robertson et al., 1997; Waycott

    witand Kukulska-Hulme, 2003). Despite the convenient, ubiquitousaccess to the course materials, participants in these studies also re-ported difculty in reading or awkward input on a small screen.This physical constraint may force readers in order to ip pagesfrequently to acquire sufcient context for reading orientation(Jones et al., 1999) and would hinder students from acquiring com-prehension by applying effective learning strategies such as under-lining, taking notes, or posting questions. Other studies treatedhandheld devices more as supportive tools than as primary readingvehicles per se to facilitate information organization (e.g., Corlettet al., 2005; Luchini et al., 2003), collaboration (e.g., Pinkwartet al., 2003; Zurita and Nussbaum, 2004), communication withmessages (e.g., Markett et al., 2006; Seppl and Alamki, 2003;Thornton and Houser, 2005), or material reference (e.g., Smrdaland Gregory, 2003). However, few of these tools emphasized theidea of facilitating information integration between the supportivetools and the primary information sources, thus possibly overlook-ing the opportunity to minimize the input overhead or amplify thecomplementary use of different information sources. For instance,students could extract important sentences from a textbook bycopying rather than by entering sentences as carry-on notes or asparts of questions in a discussion forum. Summarized supplemen-tary information on a handheld device could also refer back to de-tailed textbook paragraphs to encourage intensive reading forbetter understanding. These potential benets of reusing or coordi-nating diverse information resources accentuate the need to incor-porate mobile supportive tools with paper documents orsurrounding resources to collaboratively achieve goals of offeringlearning supports.

    This study introduces a ubiquitous learning support systemprototype that integrates mobile phones with paper textbooks tofacilitate students reading and to promote the resolution of com-prehension questions. By attaching paper pages with line numbers,this design enables coordination between mobile phones and pa-per textbooks, giving students the capabilities to extract sentencesas verbatim notes and to post questions about confusing passagesthrough mobile phones on a discussion forum. Students can thenreceive Short Message Service (SMS) notications of answers tothe requested questions and can share their extracts or questionswith others. An evaluation that consisted of two studies containingobservations, interviews, diaries, and questionnaires was con-ducted to assess the design and to explore the implications of theseenhanced capabilities for students reading practices.

    The rest of this article is organized as follows. Section 2presents abrief survey of related research. Following this, we describe pro-posed approaches to incorporatingmobile phoneswith paper docu-ments and learning communities in Section 3. Section 4 presents anoverview of the proposed system, together with the user interfacesofmobile applications andpaper documents. To assess the proposedsystem, Section 5 presents the design of the evaluation and the con-sequent results. Section 6 discusses and explores the ndings andimplications of the evaluation results. Conclusions are nally drawnin Section 7, along with suggestions for future research.

    2. Previous research

    Several prototypes incorporating computing devices with paperwith the ubiquitous nature of paper-based learning practice. Dueto the high portability of handheld devices, several studies have of-fered ubiquitous online support, allowing users to read digital

    174 P.-Y. Chao, G.-D. Chen / Interactingdocuments have been developed (e.g., Klemmer et al., 2003; Liaoet al., 2005; Luff et al., 2004; Mackay et al., 2002; Parikh et al.,2006; Wellner, 1993; Yeh et al., 2006). These systems demonstratethe incorporation of computers, handheld devices, or digital penswith physical paper artifacts. DigitalDesk (Wellner, 1993) is a sem-inal prototype that successfully combines the advantages of bothcomputing devices and physical paper documents. Mackay et al.(2002) proposed the a-book prototype to augment biology note-books using mobile devices. This compelling a-book allows usersto associate information scribbled in notebooks with informationfrom external resources through a graphic tablet and a PersonalDigital Assistant (PDA). Books with Voices (Klemmer et al., 2003)is a useful paper book that enables direct, random access to videoclips by scanning tagged barcodes on paper pages. Luff et al. (2004)proposed a useful linking mechanism that allowed users to accessdigital resources simply by hitting anchors on a paper surface usinga co-axial electronic pen. Liao et al. (2005) and Yeh et al. (2006)further allowed manipulation of digital documents by drawingcommand gestures via a digital pen on printouts. These mecha-nisms or techniques, bridging communication between computingdevices and paper documents for information integration, enablelocations on a paper page to serve as useful anchors to electronicresources. Similarly, the proposed system codes locations of sen-tences with line numbers and implicitly permits links to electronicresources. Moreover, the line numbers enable sentences as individ-ual elements for extraction and further manipulation. The pro-posed system aims to integrate the reading vehicles of mobilephones and paper documents while retaining high portability ofthe integrated devices in order to t the nature of paper-basedlearning.

    Systems for integrating handheld devices with heterogeneouscomputing resources have also been developed (e.g., Myers,2001; Pham et al., 2001). Pham et al. (2001) introduced a Compos-ite Device Computing Environment (CDCE) framework thatdynamically integrates small-screen devices with surroundingcomputer resources to augment these small-screen devices withvarious computational capabilities for situated interaction. Myers(2001) introduced the concept of multi-machine user interfaces(MMUIs) for coordination among heterogeneous computing de-vices. Both the CDCE framework and the MMUIs imply a notionin which a handheld device should achieve task goals in collabora-tion with environmental computing resources, rather than per-forming the overall tasks alone.

    Data input could be facilitated by indicating indices to text orservices via mobile phone (e.g., Marsden and Jones, 2002; Parikhet al., 2006) or by extracting information from paper via digitalpens (Anoto Group AB; C-Pen; Nokia). Marsden and Jones (2002)proposed a short-cut technique to access hierarchical menus viamobile phone keypads. Users who wanted to access a function inthe hierarchical menus could spell out the function name and pressnumeric keys corresponding to the rst two letters of the functionname. Parikh et al. (2006) paired a mobile phone with a paper doc-ument containing visual codes to facilitate data collection fromrural micronance groups in India. These visual codes were two-dimensional data glyphs that can be recognized by camera-equipped mobile phones. Both the short-cut and data glyphtechniques employ index mechanisms to reduce or to eliminatedata entry into mobile phones. Similarly, line numbers on printedpages act as indices to specic segments of passages for textextraction in this study. Although camera-based digital pensdemonstrate a convenient way to extract information, they gener-ally require special paper with dot patterns for recognition (cf.,Anoto Group Nokia) or probably discourage text annotations on apaper surface for the sake of recognition accuracy (C TechnologyAB, 1999).

    The use of SMS messages to facilitate discussion or interaction

    h Computers 21 (2009) 173185among students has been explored (e.g., Bollen et al., 2004; Mark-ett et al., 2006; Salter, 2004). Students have been found to appreci-ate these instant messages during or after a class. Bollen et al.

  • tags, such as page numbers, line numbers, or item symbols, aremore familiar to readers than others. Readers would treat the tags

    witas integral parts of a book and consequently minimize distraction.The other tags including barcodes or visual codes (e.g., Klemmeret al., 2003; Parikh et al., 2006), tend to be technology friendly,facilitating the incorporation of computing devices, but possiblyreduce readability. Students learning about computer programsor foreign languages are familiar with line numbers tagged besidelines of sentences for reference. These line numbers help synchro-nize the focus of discourse among a teacher and students during alecture, better associate expository text with language examples inlearning materials, and promote exchanges of opinions duringgroup discussion. Furthermore, the line numbers are comprisedof digits and are thus compatible with mobile phone keypads,which are designed for entering numbers. Thus, line numberscould potentially act as a bridge between paper documents andthe electronic world while maintaining the readability of the text.

    Almost every sentence in a paper book has a xed location that(2004) used PDAs to emulate SMSmessaging for the support of dis-cussion in a literature course. These SMS messages were later inte-grated into a graph-based, collaborative discussion tool for furtherreuse. Salter (2004) found that SMS techniques have the potentialto increase effectiveness of and participation in online discussionby distributing alert messages to students in order to help themavoid constantly checking a discussion forum. Both studies...


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