Friday, May 29, 2009

iPods in the Classroom

Just discovered a publication with lots of good information and suggestions for using iPods in the classroom. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catching up over the long weekend

In preparation for 3 upcoming workshops the first week in June, I have been reorganizing and reviewing my various notes during this long weekend. Thus just some random entries on my mind...

If you missed the LearnTrends e-Learning Tour last Thursday, you can access the recording here. Our mobile portion is the first video. You will see various types of mobile learning, hear an interesting podcast option, and learn about the iPhone/iPod Touch initiative at Abilene Christian University. It appeared that we had about 125 attendees and lots of good questions and follow up since then.

Any of you researchers with iPhones available who are crunching data and looking at different ways to visualize it, check out RoamBi. There is a TryMe application on the site to view from a desktop if you don't have an iPhone. Oh, did I mention that the app was free?

I have been excited about 2D barcodes for learning for some time, but now that they seem to have almost arrived in the U.S., there may be other options as well. This week there was an article in USA Today entitled "New '2D barcodes' puts info at the tip of your camera phone" which discussed some 2D initiatives with companies such as Nike, Sears and Hardee's. I have thought that once these readers were readily available on phones that it would be much easier to utilize them for learning. These codes are very popular in Japan and certainly could make it much easier to access specific content.

The USA Today article cites InfoTrends/CAP Ventures stating this year 89% of new mobile phones shipped to the U.S. will have cameras.

What else is there just around the corner for what I have been calling Point and Learn?
  • You may have seen Mobile Search by petitinvention. If not, check it out here.
  • There is also Wikitude here.
  • This month Nokia rolled out their Point and Find project in a limited area, but it could have a lot of potential uses for learning.
  • Check out the iVisit real time object recognition for the blind YouTube video for some very powerful capabilities.
Background video is available today even on the first generation iPhone that I have. A new app entitled Email 'n Walk was created for those who are engaged with their phones and don't look where they are going. Thus a view of one's surroundings through the working screen (see screen capture above.)

Not utilizing the camera, but GPS is an interactive 3D map from UpNext (UpNext NYC) to explore and search Manhattan. The app is available for the iPhone as well, and includes connections to Twitter and Facebook. Something like this could be used for new student or employee orientation to a campus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Design Considerations

These days I don't seem to find much time to develop actual mobile learning other than to create examples when testing various tools, but I do like to read Tom Kuhlmann's rapid e-Learning blog on development. This week his excellent description of push and pull e-learning fits right into mobile learning development.
"By changing the way you structure the information, you can quickly build the framework for more engaging and interactive courses. It’s just a matter of rethinking how you approach the course design.

When you push the information out, you spend your time trying to figure out the best way to get it to the learners and make it stick. On the other hand, when you design the course for the learners to pull the information, you spend your time figuring out how they would use it and then set it up for them to pull the content."
Some of the examples in the blog and in the comments could easily apply to mobile.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mobile ESL

Athabasca University in Canada has released their English as a Second Language course for mobile under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

There are eighty-six sections, each with exercises. Their hope -- according to their video -- is that non-English speakers from around the world are able to access it on their mobile devices and use it to learn English.

Access is via a browser at They hae also made the source code available for download.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Types of Mobile Learning

Most conversations about mobile learning I have had recently seem to start with the assumptions that mobile learning is e-learning on small screens. Although it can be that, it is so much more!

Mobile learning can occur in the classroom, during an online course or anywhere the learner has their mobile device. He/she does not even have to be mobile. It is not about the device, but about the connectivity, capabilities and experience. Access through mobile devices should be a choice and a part of the total learning environment.

I believe that we are at the beginning of discovering all the possibilities and benefits and have started a list of opportunities today. What did I miss? Please add your comments.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Military Mobile Learning

For the past couple years I have been aware of Vcom3D and the mobile learning work they have done for the military. Recently Newsweek featured their solution in an article Apple's New Weapon. I had seen demos as well, but had not done a thorough review.

In talking with Vcom3D a couple weeks ago, the CEO offered to send me a loaner iPod Touch unit with their learning modules to review.

It arrived this week and I expected to just unpack an iPod Touch. Imagine my surprise when I opened the box and found a miniature backpack or MOLLE.

It was quite heavy. I proceeded to unpack it and found a complete, very well-thought-out system with various fasteners and arm bands, speakers, and clips. It appears that some may even ship with solar chargers.

Today these units are used in operation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan by the Army, Air Force and US Military Observer Group. Modules are available for language and culture training in several languages and dialects, medical training and quick reference, plus equipment operation. Readily available when and where needed.

It is so evident that they considered the entire solution when deploying this important mobile learning. Great job Vcom3D.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nokia Life Tools

It looks like Nokia is getting ready to roll out their Life Tools, which include mobile learning. They are working with EnableM in India to provide language lessons, quizzes on English words and phrases, and the general knowledge information. The project was announced last November, but just rolling out now. (Thanks Twitter @shegeek.)

I talked with EnableM's COO last week who updated me on a number of exciting projects and plans to deliver these capabilities in other countries. I certainly plan to follow their progress with this exciting project.