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Volume 18 / Issue 16

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-018-16-2252


The Educational Affordances of Widgets and Application Stores

David Griffiths (The University of Bolton, United Kingdom)

Mark William Johnson (The University of Bolton, United Kingdom)

Kris Popat (The University of Bolton, United Kingdom)

Paul Sharples (The University of Bolton, United Kingdom)

Scott Wilson (The University of Bolton, United Kingdom)

Abstract: In order to provide interoperable services to a range of applications, platforms and devices a number of open source applications have been developed, many of them within the Apache Software Foundation. We analyse the way that these relate to research and development in education, which has also informed the functionality which they offer, providing a case study of the relationship between generic open source infrastructure development, and the discourse around pedagogy. The functionality foreseen for Personal Learning Environments and for the learning design approach to face-to-face learning is identified. The capabilities of Apache Wookie (incubating) W3C Widget Server are compared with this desired functionality, and the unfulfilled functionality identified with a particular focus on the need to support teachers control over their technological environment in response to emerging conditions in the classroom. The application store ('app store') is identified as a key software paradigm for meeting the unfulfilled functionality, and the ways in which it can support teaching practice are explored. A number of current software projects, and collaborations between them, are described which are contributing to providing a coherent infrastructure for building app stores. Finally some areas of functionality which remain pending future research and development are identified.

Keywords: Apache, EDUKapp, Omelette, Personal Learning Environment, ROLE, Rave, W3C, Widget, Wookie, affordance, app store, iCamp, iTEC, learning design

Categories: L.2.1, L.2.2, L.3.0, L.3.6