Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mobile Phones to Monitor Teenagers Mental Health

Thanks to Holly Hart for forwarding a very interesting article about monitoring and behavioral change using mobile phones. Not mobile learning, but an important pilot to help in the treatment of 14-24 year-olds with depression issues.

The program was created by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI) and funded by the Telstra Foundation for two years. The program monitors "each young person's mood, stress levels, coping strategies, alcohol and cannabis use, exercise, eating patterns and general lifestyle factors." By using the communications capabilities of mobile phones and SMS messages, MCRI hopes to better capture information and provide earlier treatment.

There are other pilot behavioral change projects taking place in such areas as executive coaching. It will be interesting to follow these projects and see how what they find can be applied to learning.

Blackboard Goes Mobile

Congratulations to Blackboard for releasing their first mobile learning app. This is further indication that there is definitely movement in the direction of mobile for learning. (Desire2Learn had already released 2GO for use with the BlackBerry.)

I did download the Blackboard application on an iPhone, but don't have a BlackBoard account so can't really test it. The comments in the Apple App Store are quite negative. Have you tried it? If so, what is your reaction?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Children and Mobile Phones

Thanks to BECTA in the UK for pointing out a report entitled Children’s Use of Mobile Phones — An International Comparison February 2009. Details are taken from interviews and data from Japan, Korea, China, India and Mexico. There is a lot we all can learn from such global initiatives.
"Mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous and, in line with this trend, children’s use of mobile phones has increased to the point where mobile phones are becoming commodities for them."
Included in the report is a section on mobile phone literacy as well as an appendix with examples of use of mobile phones by children in target countries.

The 60-page report was published in 2009 by the GSM Association and the Mobile Society Research Institute within NTT DOCOMO and is available for download here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mexican Mobile Learning Initiative Info

Tecnol√≥gico de Monterrey has implemented a large mobile learning initiative and has posted a YouTube video. Check it out here

Most is in English, but when a speaker is Spanish, there are subtitles (even though they are not that easy to read.)

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Visit to Abilene Christian University

Today I was excited to visit the folks at Abilene Christian University (ACU) in Abilene, TX, to talk about mobile learning. Their ConnectEd initiative has been well covered in just about every publication that covers education and technology, plus they have shared a lot of information through their website and blogs. I have followed ACU since I first saw their video last year and all was pretty well as I had expected. Lots of students with iPhones or iPods and lots of activity.

I was unable to attend their sold-out conference at the end of February due to another commitment, but all their materials are (or very soon will be) on their ConnectEd Summit 2009 site.

As a bit of history I learned that, like other institutions, ACU had been looking at laptops and tablets for students. At a group meeting to discuss ubiquitous computing, someone asked how are we going to restrict these cell phones? 98% of the student population used these devices. Luckily rather than to outlaw or otherwise restrict them, they embraced them and supported the constant connectivity.

The excitement of the faculty and staff to think outside the box and better prepare students for the new connected world was impressive, plus the members of the team were very open and willing to consider new ideas. When I arrived they were discussing the new integrated curriculum they are planning. They continue to think of how they can improve the student experience and are anxiously awaiting the news tomorrow of version 3.0 details for the iPhone.

What I didn't expect to be impressed by was their library. They have created a very active center where students can talk aloud, collaborate and receive assistance. They can also grab a cup of coffee or drink from the Starbucks right in the library. There are areas for students to receive help with their writing, presentations, research, and technical issues. There is even a copy center. What they are planning on the floor above is to expand this center for assistance with creating videos, audio or other types of multimedia and to integrate these materials into their presentations and other work.

If you get a chance to visit them or attend one of their next conferences, I would definitely recommend it. In any case, keep your eyes on ACU as we can all learn from them.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dial M for Mobile

Thanks to Kristen Beattie for pointing me to Dial M for Mobile, a very nice article about the potential for mobile phone use in schools, while also explaining some of the concerns. The PDF article is available online here from BizEd January/February 2009 issue.

Several quotes from both Liz Kolb of Madonna University and Quasy Mahmoud at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, caught my eye:
  • "It's important to start looking at the cell phone as the Swiss Army knife of learning, rather than as the most annoying thing in the classroom." (Kolb)
  • "The average cell phone today has more computing power than many of the computers of a few years ago, and many are equipped with video recorders, cameras, and other features. All of these could be used to improve the learning experience." (Mahmoud)
  • "I think in a few years, faculty will have no choice but to use cell phone technology, so why not be leaders and start now?" (Mahmoud)
I also loved the Getty Images photo of the Swiss Army knife phone.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Thomas Edison College Courses Proposal

There was an interesting column yesterday by Bob Braun of the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. It seems that Thomas Edison College is lobbying members of Congress for funding to put their entire catalog of over 250 courses on flash drives, mainly for the military who are overseas with no Internet connectivity.

This is an interesting proposal with a number of challenges even for the most serious learner, but I wonder if they are aware that flash drives are not allowed by the military due to security concerns. It would be good if they and the members of Congress would look into that issue before considering funding.

Check out his column as there are some interesting comments.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

M-Learning Game Report

Thanks to the folks at Games, Learning + Society (GLS) in Madison, I just discovered "Experiencing the Past through the Senses: An M-Learning Game at Archaeological Parks" by Carmelo Ardito, Paolo Buono, Maria F. Costabile, Rosa Lanzilotti, Thomas Pederson, and Antonio Piccinno, University of Bari, Italy.
"M-learning—the combination of e-learning with mobile technologies—captures the very nature of e-learning by providing users with independence from the constraints of time and location. To exploit the potential of mobile technologies for learning, researchers must define new teaching and learning techniques. The Explore! m-learning system implements an excursion-game technique to help middle school students (ages 11 through 13) acquire historic knowledge while playing in an archaeological park."
The full 5 page report is available here. Unfortunately when they scanned it, the last page came out quite dark, but it is an interesting read.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kindle on the iPhone

Last week I met with a great group from a middle school in San Antonio, TX, about mobile learning. The conversation came around to school in the future and I mentioned "Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns" by Clayton M. Christensen. I did not have my Kindle with me, as I usually don't carry it unless I will be on an airplane for a long flight. (No I don't have the new version of the Kindle, or I may have been carrying it with me.)

In any case I could not remember some parts that I had marked with a highlight.

That won't happen again; as of this morning I downloaded the new free Amazon Kindle application to my iPhone and within seconds I had access to the books I had purchased from Amazon and could now view them on either device -- and sync them between each other should I read on the iPhone and want to continue on the Kindle or vice versa.

The scrolling is to the right or left -- not up or down and there are options to change the font.

I do use my Kindle for reading PDFs rather than to print them to paper, but Amazon did not have those to transfer. Now that would really be great. For now I definitely will look more favorably to purchasing more books on the Kindle.

Is this mobile learning? Perhaps not, but I would consider it mobile performance support and a very useful and exciting development.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Zealand Mobile Learning

In searching for some reports from the recent Mobile World Conference in Barcelona I ran across the Unitec New Zealand wiki and a wealth of information on mobile learning initiatives in New Zealand over the past three years or so. There are presentations, videos, slideshows, discussions and numerous references.

Let's see now, where does a person even start? I know that it will take me some time to peruse, but wanted to share these wonderful resources now.

The initial site updated last week is MobilePedagogy2 -

Other New Zealand mobile learning materials can be found here:
Mlearning Workshops -
MlearnBlogging -
MlearnMovingmobile -
MlearningOverview -
Mlearning Trials -

Review on iPod Wins Game

Both the Guardian Sportblog and The Daily Telegraph in stories today in the UK today credit the iPod for the United's football win.
"United's goalkeeping coach Eric Steele had made a compilation of video clips of Tottenham's players taking penalties in previous matches and put them onto an iPod so Foster could get a glimpse of where they were likely to put their spot-kicks.

In the final moments before the shoot-out Foster could be seen intensely studying the iPod with Steele. It was time well spent."
Looks like just-in-time mobile learning or mobile performance support to me. Agree?