Designing a self-contained group area network for ubiquitous learning

Nian Shing Chen, Kinshuk, Chun Wang Wei, Stephen J.H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


A number of studies have evidenced that handheld devices are appropriate tools to facilitate face-to-face collaborative learning effectively because of the possibility of ample social interactions. Group Area Network, or GroupNet, proposed in this paper, uses handheld devices to fill the gap between Local Area Network and Body Area Network. GroupNet is an independent network where all members are located at the same place and all handheld devices involved in it are interconnected by peer-to-peer wireless technologies. The GroupNet concept proposed in our study is more focus on how to design a mobile learning management system which can better support mobile learning for a small group of learners with effective social interaction within proximity. This paper describes the architecture of GroupNet and demonstrates its functionality in the specific area of mobile learning. GroupNet uses handheld devices as the main hardware and GroupNet architecture consists of four layers. Various mobile learning scenarios are also described in detail to give guidance to instructors. These scenarios apply GroupNet to collaborative learning activities and situated learning activities. With rapid growth of mobile technology and global business context, many more possible scenarios of using GroupNet are expected to emerge in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-26
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008


  • Group area network
  • Mobile learning
  • Mobile learning management system
  • Ubiquitous learning


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