Friday, April 24, 2009

Is "Mobile" Limiting Our Discussions?

Lots more mobile learning discussions this week... On Monday I presented at the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association Conference, Tuesday and Wednesday attended the Design4Mobile Conference virtually as well as attending the Mobile Learning Innovation: Healthcare Leads The Way webinar by Ambient Insight, and on Thursday discussed mobile learning on the Masie Consortium call (with over 250 registered participants.)

Starting the discussion of mobile learning is often difficult because of existing perceptions about what it is, let along what it can be. With the K-12 audience it tends to be more about policies that prohibit the devices, than about the potential of having ubiquitous digital access to the world.

Most people unfortunately think of mobile learning--or mlearning--as elearning on a small screen. I think that a definition of “learning at the point of need” used by Dr. Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher may make more sense.

Should we drop the word mobile? Is it keeping us from discovering the potential?

I depend upon my always-available, always-on mobile devices throughout the day whether I am on the road or in my office, and continue to find more benefits. We are carrying a powerful multimedia computer in our pockets and purses. Isn't it really more about the capabilities, availability, connectivity, useful applications, and convenience?

The power of always-available access to learning materials for review, expert assistance, updates on what I have already learned, or new learning when I need it (or can find the time) can’t be underestimated.

What do you think, should we come up with another term for this powerful continuous learning tool? Would that help to change the discussions about the potential for the future? Please leave your comments below.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Preparing for a Charter School Conference Presentation

In preparation for a K-12 mobile learning presentation tomorrow in Wisconsin, I have been trying to catch up on my reading.

I discovered a few new (to me) interesting resources including:
I was also pleased to see the ASTD Resources on Mobile Learning and very happy that they had some of my materials at

If you would like to see my presentation (minus some videos), I just posted it on SlideShare.
(The presentation was created and will be delivered using Keynote, but since it would not upload to SlideShare I had to move it to PowerPoint and lost some of the formating. If anyone has any tips for using SlideShare with Keynote, please leave a comment. Thanks.)

New School Alert System

This week I received a message from Jonathan Hoover about a new application his not-for-profit organization had released. I do not recommend products, but thought that this sounded like something that may be of interest to school administrators reading this blog. Note that I have not tried it, but if you have a need, it should be worth a look.

Through Schoohoo ( he and his wife programmed an application to deliver free school alerts to schools of any size and at any grade level "From Preschool to Ph.D."(tm).

Alerts are sent via text message and email to parents, students, faculty, staff and others in the community about emergencies, but also weather closings, holidays, other days off, registration dates/times, PTA events, and the like. Parents can sign up themselves, so the school doesn't have to maintain the database. There will be a short advertisement included, or an advertisement-free version is available starting at $500 per year.

Check it out and if you try it, please let us know how it works.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cutting Through the Hardware Confusion

Not necessarily about mobile learning per se, but a resource from CES (Comsumer Electronics Association) cuts through the choices of carriers, devices and accessories. It is called the Wireless Phone Buying Guide. Check it out here.

Let's hope they keep it up-to-date.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Busy Week for Mobile Learning

Where do I start?

This week I went to Washington DC for a couple days, so have been trying to get through all the updates that weren't otherwise posted on I haven't read through all of the following, but wanted to share these great resources.

  • Stanford University started an iPhone Application Programming course this week and has made the slides and video available through iTunes U here. You can subscribe to the new lectures which are posted each Wednesday and Friday for this ten week course.
  • A new 320-page book entitled “Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training” edited by Mohamed Ally and published by Athabasca University is available for sale or as a free PDF download. (Click on eBook for the PDF download.)
  • The International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM) has released issue Vol. 3, No. 2 (2009) with some very interesting papers. The objective of the journal is to publish and discuss fundamentals, applications and experiences in the field of interactive mobile technologies in learning and teaching as well as in industrial and other applications. There is no fee, but you will need to register.
  • The abstracts from the 3rd WLE Mobile Learning Symposium: Mobile Learning Cultures across Education, Work and Leisure in London, UK, on 27 March 2009 have been posted.
  • Weeding through all the joke posts on April 1st, I am glad that I didn't miss Tom Kuhlmann's blog titled “Here's What You Need to Know About Mobile Learning.” It definitely is a lot of fun!
  • For an overview of all the major mobile stats, check out Tomi T Ahonen's post “The Size of the Mobile Industry in 2009,” a short overview of major stats.
  • AT&T announced its second annual Big Mobile On Campus Challenge, a national higher education contest for mobile application development with a $10,000 Scholarship award available. “The contest recognizes innovative and creative mobile applications that enhance academic performance, build campus community and help to improve campus operations.” There are three categories: mobile learning, mobile identity and student system integration.
Lot's of reading for the weekend and beyond...