PhD Application

PHD Application

The Application of Location Enabled Body Worn Technologies In The Education Sector

Application for Admission Doctor of Philosophy University of of Wollongong New South Wales, Australia

Research Title

The Application of Location Enabled Body Worn Technologies In The Education Sector


  • Date of Submission - 19th March 2010

  • Date of Acceptance - 1st June 2010

  • Commenced - 1st June 2010

  • Completion - December 2017

  • Organisation - University of Wollongong Student Identification - 3929493 Degree - Doctor of Philosophy

  • School - School of Information Systems & Technology (SISAT)

  • Research Strength - Institute for Innovation in Business & Social Research (IIBSOR)

  • Supervisor - Associate Professor Katina Michael

  • Co-supervisor - Professor Teemu Leinonen - Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

  • Study Plan - Part-time


The rapid uptake of body worn, location enabled, mobile network accessible solutions for rich media creation and connection in extreme sports, military and medical sectors is now also challenging the mobile learning and distance education stereotype.

The re-purposed application of these technologies in the education and training sector is now opening up new domains for connecting learners with educators, which in turn poses substantial challenges for organisations as they grapple with the implications that this technology imbues.

Problem Under Investigation

This participatory research will engage the Australian education sector in investigative research of learning settings where it is critical or desirable to:

  • remain hands free

  • have the ability to record evidence using rich media

  • be remotely accessed / connected to trainers and assessors in the field as a desirable service delivery attribute

  • submit data sets that accompany the 'human' connection as a validation of participation in a learning experience

  • augment authenticated sources for an individuals prior learning ( experiential ) validation

A recent theory of networked learning which focuses on learning as making connections, namely Connectivist learning will inform this research from a contemporary pedagogical perspective. This will be balanced with a vast array of readings and attributions draw upon from other educational and related theoretical discourse.
According to Wikipedia (accessed 10 March 2010): Connectivism is "a learning theory for the digital age," [has been] developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes based on their analysis of the limitations of behaviourism,cognitivism and constructivism to explain the effect technology has had on how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn.

A key qualitative and quantitative cross-sector analysis of existing policies employed by organisations to protect the identity, cultural and civil rights of both learners and teachers, security of systems and infrastructure will be employed to contextualize individual and organisational stakeholder contribution.

Recent findings regarding the socio-ethical dimensions for body worn technologies with an uberveillant potentiality in a sea of federated identity by Micheals, K. & Michaels, M. (2010) will also inform the parameters of scope to this research.

Theoretical Orientation

This participatory research will engage individuals and groups from select Australian education sectors in a qualitative and quantitative, cross-sector analysis of existing use of location enabled body worn technologies.

A focus on educational organisations policy development to protect the civil rights of both learners and teachers as they transverse the security of networked systems infrastructure is a perceived outcome to be derived from this body of research.

Considering the array of features and attributes these technologies avail, this research study will draw upon understandings expounded in systems theory, elements of constructivism as a pre-cursor to a connectivist theoretical framework and elements of existentialism to reference the positive applied use of these technologies in a broader social and public context.

Implications of research

This research will interrogate cross-sectorial trial groups and individuals as they articulate implications and socio-ethical dimensions for the 'shape' of learning as organisations come to grip with location enabled, body wearable and embeddable technologies.

Throughout the journey of research inquiry there will be a constancy of reference to examples of current use of these technologies in the field and to the decision making processes employed by organisations as they govern the use of these technologies. This research inquiry will also detail the challenges that individuals and organisations alike surmount as they endeavor to address the potential of these technologies in their respective learning spaces.

This research will inform:

  • reliable applied contexts for these technologies in an educational setting

  • policy development to guide the dimensions of application

  • identify and interrogate the implications of this technology on educational arrangement

  • affordance issues that may emanate from introduction of these technologies in the learning / teaching setting.

Background to the Study

The purpose of this research is to identify junctures of organisational vigilance as these body-wearable nodes of connectivity move quickly towards an uberveillant grid.

Likewise, the basis of the research is to build a body of evidence of current uses of these data sets to inform critical debate that will influence policy affecting the educational purpose of these wearable and connected technologies.

Four key messages resonate clearly from the latest iteration of the New Media Consortium's publication of the Horizon Report (2010) currently affecting the practice of teaching, learning, and creative inquiry:

1. The abundance of resources and relationships made easily accessible via the Internet is increasingly challenging us to revisit our roles as educators in sense-making, coaching, and credentialing
2. People expect to be able to work, learn, and study whenever, wherever they want to
3. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud- based, and our notions of IT support are decentralized
4. The work of students is increasingly seen as collaborative by nature, and there is more cross- campus collaboration between departments

A myriad of online social networking and mobile enabled learning technologies are extending these current trends further into the realms of hyper- connectivity where the boundaries between work, study, family life and social engagement are blurred and often inter-connected. Some would refer to this phenomena as the true advent of networked learning where the individual, the group and the network build social-sense making or a living literacy that embodies electronic connections amongst all other human communication considerations.

These networked human relationships according to theorists like George Siemens and Stephen Downes amongst many are evidence of the rise of connectivism, a preferential digestion of life based learning that is connection dependent and technology enabled.

A vast and incredibly rich body of investigative interrogation by Professor Steve Mann, mobile learning application in the tertiary sector by Professor Anthony and Jan Herrington as well as next social revolution activists Howard Rheingold, Joichi Ito and Danah Boyd provide a strong foundation for informing such connectivist notions.

A substantial gap exists however in research as to the implications that these networked technologies are presenting for organisations where a greater range of educational sectors adopt an evidence based approach to data collection, authentication and validation of knowledge skill.sets of learners using geo-locative enabled body-wearable technologies ie. PoV.

This research presents an opportunity to rigorously investigate where the applied use of these technologies are having an impact on learning, where the history of my own application of mobile learning in a range of educational and related industry sectors will further inform existing bodies of knowledge and an opportunity to deeply consider the implications that this investigative research may unveil.

Significance of the Study

This research study will examine the affects on learners and educators alike of emergent geo-location bundled 'validation' authentication for evidence based assessment, recognised prior learning process (RPL), recognised current competency (RCC) or general knowledge acquisition service delivery.

There is evidence to suggest that there are socio- ethical dimensions to the use of these technologies to achieve this authentication validation. Given the infancy of measures to provide vigilance of how these data enabled services intersect in a co-operative of industry interests, there is a distinct possibility that this research will provide insight into policy needs for organisations seeking to employ such technology enabled learning.

This research will endeavour to influence education and training policy as it provides answers to networked learning opportunities considering a number of core and essential understandings:

  • that security, privacy, social and cultural issues emanate from the use of body-worn location enabled rich media technologies in cross-sector educational settings

  • future effects of using these technologies are influencing educational policy governing educative arrangement

  • disruptive benefits or risks of body-worn location enabled rich media technologies upon existing organisational networked learning infrastructures

  • learning design and development needed by organisations to embrace changes brought about by employed use these technologies in learning settings is subsequent of introduction

Aims Of The Study

This research aims to analyse, define and describe praxis oriented methodology that informs the development of policy considerations for utilizing body-worn location enabled technologies as part of the greater networked engagement profile in an organisation.

This research endeavor will closely align educational developments in the mobile learning field with that of socio-ethical studies into the use of these technologies for other purposes.

Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of the research are build a body of evidence from situational, theoretical, applied and summative research findings to compose articles that guide organisations utilizing body-worn location enabled mobile learning technologies as part of the greater networked engagement profile.

Objectives can be broken down into six main areas:

  • Literature Review - conduct a systematic review of literature in this and other fields of related matter

  • Investigation - identify of policy and procedures governing the use of these technologies for educational purposes in all organisations

  • Qualitative and Quantitative Assay - survey identified project participants, focus groups use of these technologies and perceptions imbued;

  • Collection - collect media rich examples of existing use of body-worn location enabled mobile learning technologies as part of the greater networked engagement profile

  • Analysis - examine and report upon trial, control and other groups data to support findings article creation;

  • Summary - summation of findings to inform articles that build recommendations and guidelines for policy development.

Problem Statement

The use of body worn, location enabled technologies to provide a rich and authentic body of learning resources and experiences is under investigation, as data bundling is now increasingly incorporating geo- location as a subset of visual, audio and other recorded encrypted information.

The effects upon the individual private learning space and an organisations ability to handle these technologies in the context of existing ICT infrastructures gives rise to serious implications, now and into the future.

The focus of this research is to determine what these implications might mean for those who are using body worn technologies and the potential for what this technology might risk or benefit the user. The lack of information as to the applied use specifically of POV technologies in education and training suggests that there is also a lack of rigour inherent with a mobile learning solution policy inclusive of this technology.

This research posits a Connectivist theoretical framework as most suited to examining the risks inherent with adding more veillance to flexible education settings and provides an inclusive and networked approach to informing policy that currently governs the distance or flexible education in that organisation.

Research Questions - Hypotheses

The hypotheses of this research is that location enabled body wearable rich media learning technologies will have a profound impact on the shape of learning design and development as these technologies become a popular and approved way to provide connection, evidence of authenticated participation and evaluation in an educational context.

The study will prove that there is a need to define, describe, and interpret the current socio-ethical dimensions to the applications of these technologies in order to to better direct educational ICTs policy.

Not limited to:

  1. What are the implications inherent with the use of location enabled, synchronous, body wearable, rich media technologies ie. PoV for contemporary education and training ?

  2. Where do practical examples of synchronous learning sustainably employ location enabled body wearable learning technologies in an educational global context ?

  3. Which socio-ethical considerations will guide the future use of location enabled body wearable rich media learning technologies in an educational global context ?

  4. In what ways is geo-location a necessary validation attribute for augmented and/or synchronous technology assisted networked learning ?

Definition Of Terms

  • Participatory research - Throughout this research study the primary researcher and all research participants will be actively encouraged to actively use, wear, explore, interrogate practically and investigate by action all aspects of the technologies and concepts associated.

  • Networked learning - as defined in many online articles, journals and citations; where the learner

  • Socio-ethics - Socio-ethics covers the relation of the individual with the group and with society, as the individual acquires the skills for social life with others and the conduct of ‘normal responsible behaviour’ (Leal in AI Soc 9:29–32, 1995) as cited by Satinder P. Gill in Socio-ethics of interaction with intelligent interactive technologies published in AI & Society , Volume 22, Number 3, January 2008

  • Blended learning (flexible) – A combination of face- to-face and online learning experiences that represents a restructuring of the teaching and learning interaction in ways that extend the capabilities of both approaches (Vaughan & Garrison, 2008)

  • Inquiry based learning – An approach to learning in which meaning is constructed through critical analysis, reflection, construction and confirmation of worthwhile knowledge (Vaughan and Garrison, 2008)

  • Self directed learning – Usually informal and individualised, self-directed or independent learning is based on a guided mentoring process rather than the transmission of information (Dent and Harden, 2005)

  • Small group learning – Indicative of a student- centred approach to learning, small group learning is characterised by student participation and interaction, where the size of the group is less important than it's characteristics (Dent and Harden, 2005)

  • Life-based learning - refer to Marie Jasinski, Robby Weatherly and Maret Staron

  • Connectivist learning - refer to George Siemens and Stephen Downes

  • Location enabled technologies - refer to data sets - geo-data

  • Body wearable technologies - POV etc.

  • Social software – A collection of online technologies (e.g. blogs, wikis and podcasts) that enable people to have an online presence, to interact through comments and to serve as a vehicle for self- expression (Mason and Rennie, 2008)

  • Student-centred learning – In this approach to learning, what the student learns is emphasised, rather than what is taught. As a result, students are given more responsibility for their education and the role of the educator changes from a transmitter of information, to a facilitator of learning (Dent and Harden, 2005).


My current employment status is full-time as

Operations Manager with Streamfolio Pty Ltd. - http:// (formerly EDUPOV)

Streamfolio is an Australasian product and service based company focused on providing the highest quality point-of-view and complementary technologies to a diverse client portfolio. Due to the parallel scope of this research study and the nature of the products and service rendered by Streamfolio I am making an open declaration of my financial position and interest in this commercial venture.

The nature of my employment is to oversee the day- to-day operations of the company, both as an equal share director and as an employee.

Literature Review - Introduction

This research study will reference theoretical frameworks to guide and form the foundation upon which concepts can be realized as an interrogative praxis with research participants.

References to scholars current thinking on the associative implications and challenges this research may pose for organisations will form the basis for recommendations for those seeking policy development and solutions in this field of endeavor.

A praxis approach to knowledge inquiry

Contemporary discourse in a cross-sectorial assay of education appears very divided as to the virtues of either school of thought where value of the institution versus it's perceived demise is under question. This is

very apparent in current debates between adopting an OER model for organisations building learner engagement as opposed or in conjunction with the use of the closed LMS (Blackall, L. 2010).

Given the rapid adoption of technology mediated learning, in some cases as the only mechanism for learner engagement, it is essential that theory which underpins the development of curriculum to suit differing education and learner needs must also reference the practical application of concepts in education and training settings. This research aims to posit the theory of Connectivism as a benchmark in the praxis approach to knowledge acquisition that embrace the use of technologies and social interaction associated. Some would refer to this as an advent of networked learning where the individual, the group and the network build social-sense making or a living literacy that embodies electronic connections amongst all other human considerations.

Donald G. Perrin, Executive Editor of the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning says the theory of Connectivism:

"combines relevant elements of many learning theories, social structures, and technology to create a powerful theoretical construct for learning in the digital age".

The nexus, or praxis intersection point between research and applied use of technologies to engage the learner and better prepare the educator are a key feature of this body of research into the implications that location enabled body worn technologies are giving birth to, particularly when considering organisational, social and community policies governing their use.

With a praxis approach to knowledge inquiry there is an ability to draw upon a vast body of beliefs, theories and doctrines to guide research methodology and likewise to inform it from a theory that posits "know- where" as a new knowledge aptitude.

Chaos, Disruption & The Role Of Network

Global connectivity afforded by internet provision and the extension of this connectivity through the use of mobile enabled technologies has challenged all manners of social, judicial and cultural disposition in the last decade on an immense scale. The access to just-in-time facts, ease of connection between intelligent objects and the economy of simulation and virtual worlds has undoubtedly re-shaped all manner of human interaction.

The re-shaping has also afforded new opportunities for globally networked entities to be less inhibited by a geographical disposition and to embrace "know- where" as a key attribute of node in a networked entity. An extract of George Siemens seminal paper on the theory of Connectivism posits "know-
how" "know-what" and "know-where" as crucial conduits in meta-learning, where networked unity is considered just as important as the learning itself.

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self- organization theories. Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing. Connectivism is driven by the understanding that decisions are based on rapidly altering foundations. New information is continually being acquired.

Illich (1971) in his publication Deschooling Society on the other hand purports that any attempt to institutionalize learning in a universal context, despite the proliferation of technology enhanced

communication, will fall short of where humans transformation is most acute, that condition of acceptance of difference and the ability to impart social and emotional accord. These schools of thought, and in some cases rejection of technology as a mediating force, provides a core foundation upon which to test the premise that there are profound implications yet to be discovered in the proposed body of research.

The research may also reveal:

  • the juncture between sound learner oriented educative arrangement and the need for creative exploration within certain constraints

  • a work / life orientation to knowledge building using these technologies as an element of strength based approach to workplace development ( Weatherley, Jasinski & Staron 2006)

  • the dimensions of risk analysis deemed appropriate to inform a learner oriented organisational context

  • the "shelf-life" of wearable technologies as a hybrid form of rich media learning object creation

Wearables - Technology As Bodily Function In Education

Steve Mann is credited with the creation of the human intelligence concept where the relationship between human and computer are inextricably intertwined, a theory of the wearer and the computer with its associated input and output facilities not as separate entities, but a synesthesia of wearer's senses and technology grid.

Mann is also credited with creation of mobile blogging (glogging) as part of an existential suite of human learning and many other forms of research into the use of technologies as a human wearable. These are considered foundational references in a variety of contexts that have informed continued investigations of possibilities for networked learning using human wearable technologies.

Challenges - Ethics of The First Person Perspective

Michaels, M.G. and Michael,K. (2009) in their article A Research Note on Ethics in the Emerging Age of Uberveillance (Überveillance) provide a picture
of technologies unleashed without a true commensurate assessment of what they will mean in terms of socio-ethical implications.

This perspective provides a guide for consideration in the context of this research study in the privacy, security and civil rights of the individual and the collective when considering the uberveillant advanced location-based services for humans of which are now part of current industry earnest.

Many popular educational discourses posit and refer to technologies by their device type rather than their physical wearable attributes so this research also aims to inform the discourse from a "embodiment" trajectory.

The shift in nomenclature provides a need to protect the interest of the learner and the educator in their endeavors whilst not restricting the commercial, industrial or social aggregation potential of such interrogative activities if required.

Research Design

Methodologies employed to derive data that will inform this research:

1. Define the educational sectors:

  • Empirical definitions

  • Associated pedagogy

2. Identify and investigate:

  • Conduct Case Studies - define how stakeholders are using POV technologies in their respective sectors

  • Define Stakeholders - assay of the 'viewer, the viewing and the viewed' - identify diversity, conflict or balance achieved

  • Data Analysis - happens, has happened or is determined as yet to happen

3. Development Framework:

  • Approach - using POV informed from data collection in differing educational contexts examining differing complexities

  • Consider - socio-ethical considerations to act as guide for data collection

  • Conduct - Delphi study, experts panel, focus group, un-focussed discussion

  • Review - Peer validation

4. Description - Articles and Presentations

* A table containing phases of the project with methodologies down the side axis will be installed here as a picture.


The following methodologies will be employed to derive data that will inform this research:

  • Literature Review - Extensive investigation of scholarly and industry oriented publications in this and other related areas

  • Interviews - Stakeholders, expert panel, focus groups, industry representatives and others using audio, photo and video documentation

  • Case Studies - Delphi oriented, proforma guided and annotated with participants

  • Focus Group - A cross-sector, global collective of stakeholder informants

  • Surveys - Statistical, experiential, qualitative, quantitative, deliberative and summative

  • Work Samples - a data repository design for approved use of digital samples from participants in the study

  • Networks - use of syndicated online applications or events for data harvesting

This research project will draw upon a wide representation of industry, cross-sectorial education, information communication systems, the Arts and broader public interest groups to realize:

  • the development of an appropriate research data collection model for examining the use of these technologies with trial groups or individual participants

  • documentation that identifies gaps in existing, new and emergent bodies of knowledge that inform implications for using location enabled body wearable technologies in education and training

  • case studies that better articulate affects that these technologies may have upon the engagement of the learner and educator in differing education & training ICT contexts

  • articles that influence considerations by organisations to constructively inform organisation policy governing the use of these technologies in an educational context

  • a body of rich-media resources that have been derived from field observations, interviews and examples of application of these technologies in each respective domain of research interrogation

Research Setting

This research will be conducted with participants from cross-sectorial organisational, business and individual workplace settings. Anonymity where required or where privacy of individuals participation in case studies or investigative research is required will be adhered to as well as application of all Ethics Committee considerations. Implications looking outwards in differing age groups will form the basis to conducting analysis of data across all stakeholder groups involved in this research.

Study Design

Researchers must employ careful consideration when examining the context for, the applied use and the potential misuse of information communication technologies hence the need to employ a variety of approaches to derive useful and valid data for inclusion consideration.

To ensure the rigor of this research, the use of both investigative and participative modes of inquiry will form the basis for the collation of data, composition of findings, presentation and review.

The interrogation of existing ICT policies in the education sector juxtaposed with the applied use of these technologies guided or otherwise by this policy will require a thorough literature review and will require aptitude in impartial separation of opinion from fact. To ensure an autonomy of data collation, the main design of the study will involve action research methodology where immersion as investigator is exclusive of the participative approach to exhaustive inquiry in this field. Where perceived conflicts of interest emerge, delegation of research duties will be involve carefully, informed contingency measures.

Likewise, a number of digital and non-digital research methodologies will only be employed to interrogate selected stakeholders as to their aptitude, attitude, application or intended use of these technologies within the parameters of their respective domains if and when they unconditionally surrendered permission for inclusion in the study. The autonomy and the rights of the individuals and organisations included in this research will be

The realisation of the research study comes with acknowledgement of the many persons and organisations that will form the focus group, the expert review panel, stakeholders, participants and all who contribute to it's inception.

Data Collection and Analysis

This research study will be conducted in 5 sequential modes of engagement known as phases. Each phase contains a series of actions and implementation methods to gain the data required to compose a collection and to conduct a thorough analysis.

Phase 1 - The first stage of the study will involve a comprehensive literature review of both local and international publications that are present, recommended and affiliated with all areas of the research endeavor.Given the focus of this research in the educational sector with reference to applications and affiliated research in other areas such as the military and law enforcement, there is consideration for review "expert panel" that is a representation

of sector constituents. Data collected from this phase will be subject to formatting and referential acknowledgement using an appropriate referencing format and literature creation tools.

Phase 2 - identification, recruitment and engaged response of stakeholders to study intentions within the constraints of the socio-ethical dimensions both determined as appropriate for and permissible for use within the context of the study. This phase of the study is about building relationships with identified stakeholders and engaging them in anecdotal, conversational and openly permissible modes of

communication in preparation for refinement of selection. This inquiry will gather quantitative and qualitative evidence of the use of these technologies in the education sector in the form of surveys, questionnaires and other agreed formats. Where required, a self-developed cover letter to facilitate informed consent will accompany each and every facet of the inquiry.

Phase 3 - The third phase of the study involves actively engaging selected stakeholders who have been identified and who have agreed to intensive inquiry of their application of POV technologies in their respective sector, business or domain of enterprise. This phase aims to engage a large number of experts and/or stakeholders in a process of coming to agreement on literature recommendations, case study selection, digital data collation etc. without necessitating their leaving their usual domain otherwise known as a Delphi study. A circulation of documents or options papers in electronic and other formats so that all comments and suggestions can be noted will be employed

Phase 4 - The fourth phase of the study will involve a peer review of the developed framework with which to frame recommendations, findings and insights. The framework will be composed in three parts which examine the context in which the existing body of knowledge presents itself, the considered assay of the knowledge with a view to identifying implications and considerations to build recommendation and finally an informed, peer referenced and annotated presentation with which to prepare for description of the study.

Phase 5 - The fifth phase of the study will involve the preparation, collation, review and dissemination of presentations in article form for peer and public feedback prior to submission for publication.

Ethical Considerations

As this research involves humans of all ages and from differing geographical jurisdictions there is a distinct need for ethics consideration at the outset to:

  • identify the established project cohort

  • identify subject and project participants

  • make application to the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee via the Ethics Officer at the University’s Research Office to conduct this research upon approval of application

  • employ recommendations throughout research project

All study and project participants will be formally invited to participate in the study and informed that their participation in the project is voluntary with a distinct proviso that they may withdraw from the study at any stage, and that there will be no negative consequences should they choose to do so.

Each phase of the project will be inform participants in order for them to make an informed choice about participating. Participants will be required to complete a written consent form for all / part participation to ensure anonymity and confidentiality as requested, as identified and in proof of publication.

All matters of open engagement that contribute to publication will be carefully vetted in consultation with the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee and only rendered inclusive to the studies upon such consultation.


The research study will be conducted over a three year period employing a sequential and chronological implementation of each defined phase of the study as follows;

Phase 1 - Systematic Literature Review - Formation of Networked Reference Group

Phase 2 - Stakeholder Engagement - Participative Related Fields Research - Existing Applied Use Analysis

Phase 3 - Collation and Analysis - Quantitative / Qualitative

Phase 4 - Review - Organisation / Peer

Phase 5 - Presentation - Evaluation feedback to inform publication

Expected Outcomes

The expected outcomes of this research project include:

  • the development of an appropriate research data collection model for examining the use of these technologies with trial groups or individual participants

  • documentation that identifies gaps in existing, new and emergent bodies of knowledge that inform implications for using geo-data-enabled body wearable technologies in education and training

  • case studies that better articulate affects that these technologies may have upon the engagement of the learner and educator in differing education and training ICT contexts

  • articles that influence considerations by organisations to constructively inform organisation policy governing the use of these technologies in an educational context

  • a body of rich-media resources that have been derived from field observations, interviews and examples of application of these technologies in each respective domain of research interrogation


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