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Library iBeacons Project

Author: Kate Green   1st March 2015

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One of the Disruptive Media Learning Lab’s most exciting new projects is the Lanchester Library Beacon project, in which iBeacon technologies will be installed at various locations in Lanchester Library; if successful, these technologies may be installed at other locations across the Coventry University campus. iBeacons (Apple Trademark) use Bluetooth wireless networks to broadcast information to mobile devices when the devices are within a certain locational radius. Although they have often been used in commercial settings (for example in car parks, to indicate where free spots are available via a mobile app), this project represents one of the first uses in the higher education sector in the UK.

Dr Sylvester Arnab of the DMLL (Senior Research Fellow) is working with Katherine Plunkett (Senior Project Manager), Kirsty Kift (Academic Liaison Manager), Gemma Tombs (Senior Research Assistant) and Kate Green (Unit Administrator) to pilot and evaluate the use of Beacons with Get Ifinity. In the first pilot study, Beacons will be installed in the Disruptive Media Learning Lab as part of the 2015 Expo event. These Beacons will be used to provide information about sessions to attendees, as well as prompting questions at particular locations across the Lab.

In the second pilot study (to be carried out in spring/summer 2015), Beacons will be installed on the second floor of the Lanchester Library, and a mobile application will be developed to help students navigate around the floor. This floor has been chosen as it hosts many of the resources which students are likely to seek out when studying for their examinations, such as journals, silent study rooms, and study help guides. The results from these two pilot studies will provide valuable information on the usefulness of Beacons as long-term educational tools as well as for specific events.

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