You are here:

Digital Places: Location-based Digital Practices in Higher Education using Bluetooth Beacons

, , Sheffield Hallam University, United Kingdom

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Amsterdam, Netherlands Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


The physical campus is a shared space that enables staff and students, industry and the public, to collaborate in the acquisition, construction and consolidation of knowledge. However, its position as the primary place for learning is being challenged by blended modes of study that range from learning experiences from fully online to more traditional campus-based approaches. Bluetooth beacons offer the potential to combine the strengths of both the digital world and the traditional university campus by augmenting physical spaces to enhance learning opportunities, and the student experience more generally. This simple technology offers new possibilities to extend and enrich opportunities for learning by exploiting the near-ubiquitous nature of personal technology. This paper provides a high-level overview of Bluetooth beacon technology, along with an indication of some of the ways in which it is developing, and ways that it could be used to support learning in higher education.


Glover, I. & McDonald, K. (2018). Digital Places: Location-based Digital Practices in Higher Education using Bluetooth Beacons. In T. Bastiaens, J. Van Braak, M. Brown, L. Cantoni, M. Castro, R. Christensen, G. Davidson-Shivers, K. DePryck, M. Ebner, M. Fominykh, C. Fulford, S. Hatzipanagos, G. Knezek, K. Kreijns, G. Marks, E. Sointu, E. Korsgaard Sorensen, J. Viteli, J. Voogt, P. Weber, E. Weippl & O. Zawacki-Richter (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (pp. 950-959). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved February 17, 2019 from .

View References & Citations Map


  1. Allurwar, N., Nawale, B. & Patel, S. (2016). Beacon for proximity target marketing. International Journal of Engineering and Computer Science, 5(5), 16359-16364.
  2. Bae, M.Y. & Cho, D.J. (2015). Design and implementation of automatic attendance check system using BLE beacon. International Journal of Multimedia and Ubiquitous Engineering, 10(10), 177-186.
  3. Bazzanella, L., Roccasalva, G. & Valenti, S. (2014). Phygital Public Space Approach: A Case Study in Volpiano. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal (IxD & A), 20, 23-32.
  4. Bohonos, S., Lee, A., Malik, A., Thai, C. & Manduchi, R. (2007). Universal real-time navigational assistance (URNA): an urban bluetooth beacon for the blind. In Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGMOBILE international workshop on Systems and networking support for healthcare and assisted living environments. New York: ACM. 83-88.
  5. Chang, Y.J., Chu, Y.Y., Chen, C.N. & Wang, T.Y. (2008). Mobile computing for indoor wayfinding based on bluetooth sensors for individuals with cognitive impairments. In Proceedings of 3rd International Symposium on Wireless Pervasive Computing, 2008. New York: IEEE. 623-627
  6. Estimote. (2016). Launching Estimote Mirror-The world’s first video-enabled beacon. [Online] September 14th 2016. Available from
  7. Gibbons, C. (2015). (i)Beacons for recruitment. [Online] April 20th 2015. Available from
  8. He, Z., Cui, B., Zhou, W. & Yokoi, S. (2015). A proposal of interaction system between visitor and collection in museum hall by iBeacon. In Proceedings of 10th International Conference on Computer Science& Education (ICCSE), 2015. New York: IEEE. 427-430
  9. Jenson, S. (2016). What we're exploring with FatBeacon. [Online] August 18th 2016. Available from McDonald, K. & Glover, I. (2016). Exploring the transformative potential of Bluetooth beacons in higher education. Research in Learning Technology, 24.
  10. New Media Consortium. (2015). The NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Museum Edition. New Media Consortium. Available from Noguchi, S., Niibori, M., Zhou, E. & Kamada, M. (2015). Student attendance management system with bluetooth low energy beacon and android devices. In Proceedings of 18th International Conference on Network-Based Information Systems (NBiS), 2015. New York: IEEE. Pp. 710-713.
  11. Reed, R. (2015). Beacon Deployment Delivers Benefits for Airports and Passengers. Airport Magazine, 27(1).
  12. Thamm, A., Anke, J., Haugk, S. & Radic, D. (2016). Towards the Omni-Channel: Beacon-Based Services in Retail. In Proceedings of International Conference on Business Information Systems. Berlin: Springer International Publishing. 181-192.
  13. Thompson, D. (2013). Using iBeacons to disable apps and phone features. [Online] October 17th 2013. Available from
  14. Willshaw, G. (2015). Opening doors with Bluetooth Beacons. [Online] November 12th 2015. Available from

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact