Category Archives: mobile

Turn off that mobile

This is the presentation I gave in July at the event, CILIP’s Mobile Technology Executive Briefing.

Is there a role for mobile devices in the modern library? What are the issues, challenges and opportunities of using mobile devices to support learning and resource discovery in the library? From communication, collaboration, storage, notes, books, journals and more, mobile technologies are changing the way in which users can and are using libraries.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #084: The Legacy of MoLeNET

MoLeNET was a three year multi-million pound programme of mobile learning projects for Further Education, funded by the LSC and managed by the LSN. Two years on what is the legacy of MoLeNET and where are we with mobile learning now in FE. Have other sectors listened and learned from the lessons of MoLeNET. Listen to the legacy of MoLeNET.

With James Clay, Lilian Soon, David Sugden and Ron Mitchell.

This is the 84th e-Learning Stuff Podcast, The Legacy of MoLeNET.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: The Legacy of MoLeNET.

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

e-Learning Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2011

A somewhat quieter year this year with just over 150 blog posts posted to the blog.

As I did in 2010 and 2009 here are the top ten blog posts according to views for this year.

10. Using the VLE more

This posting was very much an opinion piece on how learning technologists could engage teachers in using the VLE more to support learners. The key behind this quite short post was about moving the responsibility of using the VLE to the practitioner, and their continuing personal development in the use of the VLE.

9. Moodle 2 Teacher’s Guide

This post proved popular and it was an opportunity to remember where I had seen this great guide to Moodle 2, but also embed it into the blog using Issuu.

8. 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip

The eighth most popular post this year was from my ongoing series of ways in which to use a VLE. This particular posting was about embedding a comic strip into the VLE using free online services such as Strip Creator and Toonlet.

It is quite a lengthy post and goes into some detail about the tools you can use and how comics can be used within the VLE.

The series itself is quite popular and I am glad to see one of my favourite in the series and one of the more in-depth pieces has made it into the top ten.

7. Paper Camera – iPhone App of the Week

This review of Paper Camera as part of my App of the Week series certainly struck a chord with many who thought the app was excellent.

This really nice image manipulation app creates cartoon or sketch like images from either your photographs, or applies the filter in real time so you can see what your image will look like through the live image from the camera.

The review which included images I had created using the app, demonstrated to readers what the app was capable of, but also some of the limitations. For me I only review apps that I use and think can be of value to my readers (well apart from one or two exceptions where I want to tell people not to buy the app).

6. “The Best Moodle Tools You’ve Never Used”

Tools such as Moodle have a range of functions that I know many of our staff are using, but of course not everyone knows everything. I like this presentation from the Columbian MoodleMoot 2011 by Michelle Moore, in which she explains some of the other functions of Moodle that can be used to enhance and enrich course delivery.

I do like that I can embed presentations such as this into my blog using a service such as Slideshare. It means I can easily share things I have found, but also curate them with other finds for sharing with others.

5. So how are students using mobile phones?

A simple infographic on how US students were using their mobile phones proved popular and demonstrate their is real interest out there about mobile learning and the use of mobile phones for learning.

4. Podcast Workflow

This was probably my favourite post of the year and is also the longest blog post I have ever written at nearly 4000 words! The post outlined how I recorded the e-Learning Stuff podcast and went over the planning, the technical techniques for recording, editing and distribution. It was a post that I had been writing for a year or so, but back in July decided to finish it off and get it published.

3. Tintin – iPhone and iPad App of the Week

So my third most popular post on my e-learning blog is of a review of a game for the iPad… It’s not even a very good review, as at the time of writing that blog post I hadn’t even played the game as I wanted to see the film first! The reason why it is popular is that the blog post had quite a high search engine ranking and people clicked to see what it was about… I expect they were slightly disappointed.

2. Ten ways to use QR Codes

This post was a very reactionary post to all the posts I was seeing at the time about how to use QR Codes.

Sorry, this is not a blog post on ten ways to use QR Codes, but it is a blog post about what you actually can do with QR Codes. There are in fact only five ways to use QR Codes! Once you know what you can do with QR Codes then you can build learning activities round those functions.

Got people thinking.

1. The VLE is Dead – The Movie

So the most viewed post this year was from 2009 and is the video of the VLE is Dead symposium that I was part of at ALT-C 2009. Considering this post was originally published in September 2009, the fact it is my most popular posts demonstrates the enduring substance of that debate. Is the VLE dead? Well the debate isn’t, it’s alive and well.

A Mobile Learning Journey

I recently gave a presentation at an event about my mobile learning journey, here are the slides.

Of course one of the challenges with a Slideshare presentation is the lack of context and what I actually said. I think it demonstrates how a presentation in isolation is less useful than the presentation in its entirety. Something that practitioners needs to consider if they are uploading presentations to the VLE or using a service such as Slideshare. Of course you could upload an mp3 recording of the presentation, but that implies you did make a recording… alas I didn’t.

Turn off that phone! Mobile technologies in the library

At UKSG’s 34th Annual Conference in Harrogate I ran a couple of breakout workshop sessions on the use of mobile devices in the library.

Is there a role for mobile devices in the modern library? What are the issues, challenges and opportunities of using mobile devices to support learning and resource discovery in the library? Is it time to stop telling people to turn off their mobile phones? From communication, collaboration, storage, notes, books, journals and more, mobile technologies are changing the way in which users can and are using libraries.

The presentation first looked at the importance of changing cultures and resistance to change, before we discussed in small groups the potential of mobile devices in the library.

Here are my slides from my presentation.

This is a recording of the workshop.

Download the recording (in mp3 format).

Nicole Harris wrote a very nice review of the session.

Mobile Web Applications Workshop

If you are going to the Plymouth e-Learning Conference then you might want to come to Mark Power and my workshop on mobile web applications.

Recent times have seen the field of mobile technology grow almost exponentially, leading to institutions increasingly recognising the importance of delivery of content and services to users through their mobile devices. In many cases this can simply be delivered using the web, optimising your websites for use on the smaller screens of today’s mobile devices. However, in some cases you may wish to deliver a service that takes advantage of the native capabilities of today’s powerful smartphones, such as GPS for location-based services for example. Or you may simply want to deliver the whole “app experience”, with touch screen interactions and interface animations.

However, with today’s students carrying a vast array of mobile devices that operate across a massively fragmented and shifting market, institutions can find themselves wondering how to deliver content and services specifically designed for mobile use most effectively. Apple’s App Store? Android? Blackberry or Microsoft Phone? Each has created their own app ecosystems.

This workshop will give delegates an overview of the how the web gives us an attractive and viable solution that can overcome the fragmentation in the mobile app ecosystem and deliver cross-platform services and content. The workshop will allow delegates to examine the potential of Mobile Web Applications to support teaching and learning and improve institutional administration. Delegates will work on potential scenarios for using Web Applications in their own institutions. Delegates will gain an understanding of the workflows and tools that are needed to build Mobile Web Apps.

The Plymouth e-Learning Conference runs from the 6th to the 8th April 2011 and our workshop is on the 7th April.

Windows Phone 7 Launch

Today saw Microsoft launch a new attack on the mobile market with Windows Phone 7.

In a market that was at one time dominated by Nokia and RIM, Microsoft are now entering a more crowded market with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android both having a hefty marketshare.

It’s not that Microsoft haven’t been here before, Windows Mobile devices have been available for years. However where Microsoft failed on these devices (same reason they failed on the tablet) was trying to recreate the desktop experience on the mobile device. They thought consumers would prefer an environment they were comfortable with, certainly that on the surface makes sense, so devices had a Start button and looked and felt like Windows XP. However the reality was that the touch interface, the stylus interface did not integrate well with a desktop like experience and as a result you got frustrated and annoyed.

Windows Phone 7 is different and has a touch interface that looks nothing like a Windows desktop.

So what did Rory Cellan-Jones ask Microsoft about the new Windows Phone 7 and what is it capable of?

Note from the video that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t do Flash.

There is also no copy and paste.

Now both of those sound familiar….

One thing that I do agree with Rory about in his blog article is

The other reason this is so important is that Microsoft has realised that all the action, all the innovation, in the world of communications technology has now moved to the mobile. It’s where the next billion consumers are most likely to get their first taste of the internet; it’s where new ideas like app stores or location-based services or augmented reality are being tried out.

I’ve said before that mobile is now and mobile is here now. It’s not that the next big thing is going to be mobile, it already is. Innovation now is in the mobile sector of the market, these are the devices that our learners are buying and using. The age of mobile is now.

It amuses me to see people still saying that mobile is going to be the next big thing in education. Our learners are already mobile and already using mobile devices, we’re playing catch up now, not setting the agenda.

So am I going to buy a Windows Phone 7 device?

Possibly.

Libretto is back!

I recently talked about how the age of mobile is now. In that post I talked about how I once had a Toshiba Libretto (long since sold on eBay).

Netbook News have posted that Toshiba have announced the release date of a new Libretto.

Toshiba have finally given a solid release date for the Toshiba Libretto W100 dual screen notebook “thing” over in Japan. Last we heard it would be arriving late August but the official word now is that the W100 will go on sale and ship on August 11 next week, so it’s certainly ahead of schedule

So currently Japan only, and no news if it will ever get to Europe. Lots of nice Sony devices have never arrived despite sucess in Japan, so I am holding out no hopes for the Libretto. The price is quite expensive too, about $1100.

What’s interesting about this device is that it has dual screens. One main screen like any other laptop and a touch screen that is used instead of a keyboard. Not sure how that would work in practice though.

I quite like the look of this, don’t think I will get one even so.

The age of mobile is now

I have been talking about using mobile devices for a long time now, well before I started working at Gloucestershire College (and all that MoLeNET stuff), well before my time at the Western Colleges Consortium (and that Mobile on a VLE presentation).

Despite protestations about screen sizes, lack of power, inferior operating systems, we are now seeing the rise of the mobile device as the next big step in computing.

The first computers were BIG and clunky and you didn’t just use them, you booked time slots to use them.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers!”
Attributed to Thomas Watson of IBM, but in fact no evidence to say he ever said it.

Computers then became the mainstay of business, something to do business on.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

With the rise of the personal computer and importantly the explosion of the internet in the late 1990s, not only did we see computers in the home, we also saw a lot more personal computers in education.

Laptops at this time were expensive, but small portable ones were available, I really liked the Toshiba Libretto that I bought at that time.

In 2000 I was working at @Bristol in the centre of the Bristol Harbourside, one project we worked on was using the HP Jornada  and using JetSend technology to “squirt” URLs to the device that would then access the webpage over (what was then) a spiffy wireless network.

It was at this point that I could really see some real benefits of using mobile devices for learning, and using devices that weren’t laptops.

Over that decade we did see the emergence of the laptop over the desktop, more and more people would buy a laptop rather than a desktop for their main computer.

During that time I did a lot more work on using mobile devices for learning, focusing on multimedia content on devices such as PDAs, Media Players and mobile phones.

I remember in about 2001 driving up the M5 and getting stuck in one of those traffic jams in the early evening. My wife was watching the Matrix on my iPAQ PDA. I had converted a ripped DVD (uh oh I know) that I had converted into a MPEG1 video file, placed on an IBM Compact Flash Microdrive and played it back on the iPAQ using PocketTV. As she watched the film people in the cars looked into ours in awe and curiosity about what was that glowing light in our car. Of course today everyone can do this, but at the time it was both clever and geeky!

“I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen.”
Steve Jobs of Apple in 2003.

The seminal presentation of mine, Mobile Learning on a VLE, at the JISC 2006 Online Conference really got a lot of people thinking about using mobile devices and put my name out there as a leader in mobile learning.

There were many others at that time who were also following the same journey as myself, people like Mick Mullane, Lilian Soon, David Sugden and others. We were all very passionate about using mobile devices for learning.

Despite our passion, we still heard the resistance from practitioners (and sometimes from learners, but usually practitioners) that the screens were too small, they weren’t powerful enough, battery life was too short.

We, with others, were very much involved in the MoLeNET programme and that has had a huge impact in FE in kick starting the use of mobile devices for learning.

Mobile devices in the last few years have also dramatically changed too. Mobile phones have moved on from phones that just made calls and SMS, to mobile computers. Apple have also changed the landscape, first with the iPhone, then the iPod touch and now the iPad.

“There are no plans to make a tablet, it turns out people want keyboards…. We look at the tablet, and we think it is going to fail.”
Steve Jobs of Apple in 2003.

Innovation now is in the mobile sector of the market, these are the devices that our learners are buying and using.

The age of mobile is now.