Personal Learning Environments in Smart Cities: Current Approaches and Future Scenarios
With the increasing number of the global population living in densely populated and technologically advanced urban spaces, the notion of smart cities is gaining importance, especially in view of citizen engagement, learning and participation. We propose to consider smart cities as learning spaces and call for innovative pedagogical approaches for using technologies embedded in physical environments to support connected and ubiquitous learning in smart cities.
In this paper, we discuss smart cities as spaces for constructing Personal Learning Environments. Our special focus is on mobile and locative media, which open new possibilities of interaction with the surrounding environment. In technology-rich infrastructures such as smart cities, physical objects, including buildings, works of art or points of interest, can become part of the learning environment. When mediated through technologies, e.g. by means of mobile and locative media, the surrounding physical environment and the digital environment can be dynamically merged into augmented, ad-hoc Personal Learning Environments.
In this paper we give a short introduction to smart cities, smart citizens and smart city learning, and go on to outline some innovative applications of mobile and locative media in urban spaces, including open badges, smart glasses and mobile tagging, and discuss their potential for learning. Followed by these examples, we discuss educaching as an approach to smart city learning and provide some practical examples based on the example of etiquetAR, a mobile, locative application that allows creating interactive tags to support augmented learning experiences. We then present the results of an international, explorative study on smart city learning, which we conducted with educators from Europe, North America, South America, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific. Based on the synopsis of current research and practice and the results of our study, we argue for an extended view of Personal Learning Environments which are not permanent, but created ad-hoc and adjusted dynamically by connecting virtual and physical spaces in smart cities.