Category Archives: psp

So no PSP Phone then?

After the success of the iPhone as a gaming platform, to me it made perfect sense that the PSP be given a phone capability. Sony’s PSP has been reasonably successful as a gaming platform, but add a phone into the mix, add the Sony PlayStation branding and we might have seen an interesting phone.

Mobile Magazine reports that due to internal disagreements, it is looking like that there will now not be a Sony PSP phone.

Sony Ericsson was planning a PSP phone but has been refused the brand

Sony is understood to have refused to allow Sony Ericsson the use of its PlayStation brand, after the handset manufacturer presented a pitch to the board late last year.

Sony Ericsson was planning to develop a PSP phone to capitalise on the growing success of the gaming sector, and after the success of Cyber-shot and Walkman handsets.

Sources said the refusal to sanction the brand on the handsets in December has prompted a fallout between Sony and the mobile phone joint venture.

A PSP with phone capabilities would have been a device I think many of our younger learners would have purchased and used.

The PSP has certainly been working for us as a mobile device for learning especially when using the camera. We are thinking of getting the GPS module for them and hopefully we can find a roughened case for the device so we can use it in the field (literally in a field up a mountain).

So no PSP Phone then?

As a footnote, nice to see Wired reporting on the Mobile Magazine story using my photograph of the PSP.

“learning by stealth” on the PSP

gamesindustrybiz has an interesting and informative interview with Marco Minoli from Slitherine Software.

Slitherine Software are a games based company but with a slant.

Well, it’s very simple – we make history-based games. That’s our core, and I think while there are other companies who make a variety of products, we have a very clear idea of what we want to do. That’s what’s important for us – our licenses and the types of games we create.

It has to be cultural and entertaining – history is culture, and we don’t want people to notice that they’re actually learning something while they’re playing, that’s the goal. Because retail hates edutainment and culture, they just don’t like it. As soon as you say “culture” they tell you they won’t sell it.

The goal for us has always been to get people to learn by stealth, and movies like Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan – they’re entertainment, but they’re also giving some educational learning content too.

Though making a lot of PC software, they also see the PSP as having real potential as an edutainment device (though like most people I can’t stand the term edutainment).

But I think the PSP is more of a suitable platform right now, and I think at the moment it’s the console has the most potential to target new consumers.

From a learning perspective I do believe that the PSP has a lot to offer learners, and certainly my experiences with our MoLeNET Glossy project last year back this up, the PSP was the most used and popular mobile device we used, over other devices such as the iPod touch and the Asus EeePC.

Will be interesting to see if the PSP starts to have more educationally orientated content, the Nintendo DS certainly at the moment seems to have more non-gaming titles in its catalogue, though PSP sales outsell DS according to Minoli.

I’ve seen sales charts for some territories now and a top ten PSP game sells more than a top ten Nintendo DS game.

What do you think, is the PSP the future of mobile learning?

Original source of news, PSP Fanboy.

Top Ten Technologies of 2008

This is a list of technologies which I have used extensively over the last twelve months. The reason for the list was partly down to the lists Steve Wheeler has been posting on his blog, and a prompt from him on Twitter. This is not an exact copy of Steve’s format I have also worked on a list of web tools as well. I do quite like this format which gives an opportunity to review and share the tools which have made a difference to the way I work and have enhanced what I do.

Here are my top ten technologies in reverse order.

10.    PSP

So it’s not the best selling portable gaming machine of 2008, that goes to the Ninetendo DS, and yes the text entry is awful. However from an e-learning perspective, the most successful device I have demonstrated, used, and also used by learners has to be the PlayStation Portable, the PSP. Unlike the iPod touch,  the PSP does not require iTunes and can be connected to a PC via a simple USB cable. With extras you can use Skype, record video and audio, and use GPS. The PSP also has built in speakers which means you don’t always have to use headphones. However it comes with no onboard storage, so you will also need to buy a Memory Stick Duo for it. The wireless browser is okay, but nowhere near the level of usability or sophistication of the iPod touch browser. If you do have a PSP or get a PSP, make sure you get the camera. The camera which as digital cameras go is pretty poor quality at 1.3MP and a poor lens, does capture images and video. The key why it works (and works well with learners) is that reviewing the images and video is easy on the big screen (well for a mobile device) and certainly much easier than small pocket digital cameras.

9.    Asus EeePC

It was announced in 2007, but didn’t really start shipping until 2008. I got an early 2GB model and was impressed as were lots of other people. We did go out and buy a bundle of 4GB models with webcams and were impressed even more. Yes the screen is small at 7″, the keyboard is small, the onboard storage is small, the battery life is low. However the smallness is one of the EeePC’s strengths and the price, well you couldn’t grumble about the price. For the price you get a machine which is entirely suitable for surfing the web, e-mail and the odd bit of creating documents, presentations, audio and video recordings. Probably the biggest impact of the Asus EeePC has been on the market and we have seen every major manufacturer jump on the bandwagon and produce their own versions. Some are bigger, most are more expensive, but the market now has a wide choice of small netbooks (as we are calling them) to choose from.

8.    iMovie ’08

I didn’t like iMovie ’08 when it first came out in July 2007, so much so that I didn’t go out and buy iLife ’08 for my home Macs. At work when I got my new 24″ iMac it came with iMovie ’08 so I asked for iMovie HD ’06 to also be installed. However due to using some HD cameras (see below) I was “forced” to use iMovie ’08. The more I used iMovie ’08 the more I grew to like it. I like it so much now that it is my movie editor of choice. It does take some getting use to, and the desktop layout is totally different to the ’06 version. Once you get pass that (and on the basis you don’t need special effects) iMovie ’08 is a very sophisticated program which allows me to create quite complex videos, such as this one I created for the JISC Online Conference.

7.    Sony HDR-SR8

So you want to shoot HD footage? To be honest there are a plethora of HD video cameras out there at a range of prices. This is at the high end of the consumer market, though you do get a lot of features. Key ones for me are, a decent lens, full 1080i resolution, a 100GB on board hard drive, and I also had a selection of microphones as well. I used it a lot for taking video this year and very pleased with the end results. Easy to import the video into iMovie ’08, edit and export.

Top Ten Technologies of 2008

This bloopers tape from the JISC Online Conference uses a lot of footage take by the HDR-SR8.

The HDR-SR8 is also quite good at taking still photographs too. The SR8 model is now no longer available, but other Sony HDR Cameras are.

6. Panasonic HDC-SD5

There are two HD cameras on my list, the Panasonic HDC-SD5 is cheaper than the Sony HDR-SR8, it does not have the capability for external microphones and only has an SD slot for capturing video and images. However it is a lot lighter and smaller than the HDR-SR8 and this was it’s main strength, I could drop it in my pocket and then be able to take footage very quickly and easily. As the footage was on an SD card, cards could be swapped over, so as footage was imported and edited, the camera with another card could be used to shoot new footage  – a real asset in a college with limited resources. The classic ALT-C videos I did, the Digital Divide Slam and the Dinner video were both recorded using the HDC-SD5 and I was impressed with the quality of the footage and even the audio capture on the Slam video.

Like most HD cameras, it has been replaced by a newer model, the Panasonic HDC-SD9 but you can still buy the SD5 if you want.

5.    Edirol R09

So my phone can record audio, as can my PDA; however when it comes to recording audio quickly and easily but at a quality that is good enough to listen to, the Edirol R-09 is for a me a must have device. Recording as either WAV or MP3 direct to an SD card, the audio quality is excellent. Very easy after recording to connect a USB cable and copy the recordings over to edit in Audacity or Garageband. It is very portable and the fact it uses AA batteries means if they run out, they are easy to replace. Main downside is cost, but in this case I do believe it is very much you get what you pay for.

4.    3G USB Stick

I have been using 3G for years, but my Vodafone 3G USB Stick has been fantastic this year. In metropolitan areas I have been getting very fast download speeds, almost as much as the advertised 7.2Mbps! When there is no wifi, or the wifi is patchy, or the wifi costs too much, the 3G has provided access to the internet quickly and easily. It works well across most of the country (well where I have travelled to) and has enabled me to stay in touch via the web and e-mail.

3.    JoikuSpot

A simple idea which just works. Basically it turns my Nokia N95 into a wireless hotspot, allowing me to connect multiple wireless devices to my phone’s 3G internet connection. I start JoikuSpot and once started I can then join the wireless and surf the internet. Usually I am using my iPod touch or my MacBook Pro. The Light version only really does internet, it doesn’t allow e-mail or https for example, whereas the Premium version does; this is the reason I upgraded to the Premium version and very pleased I am with it. The main downside is the impact it has on the battery life on the Nokia N95, down to less than four hours, often less!

2.    iPod touch

So it’s not an iPhone, but the iPod touch can pretty well do a lot of what the iPhone can do. It is cheaper and there is no monthly charge. Yes there is not SMS, no phone capability, no GPS, no camera and no 3G; however pretty much it can do everything else an iPhone can do. Of all the mobile devices I have used (and as you might expect I have used a lot) the iPod touch has provided for me, through its wifi connection, the best mobile browsing experience. Whereas on the Nokia N95 I will use the browser to find traffic or train information, on the iPod touch I will use the browser to browse the web and browse for some time. It makes browsing on a mobile device not only a usable experience but a pleasurable experience. The screen on the iPod touch is really nice and as a result video looks great. The touch interface is the best I have ever used, very intuitive and easy to pick up, oh and it works. You will need to consider that the touch interface does mean the screen gets grubby pretty quickly and the included cloth will need to be used on a regular basis. Another key advantage for me is the wealth of applications available and there are some really good ones out there. I have found that I am using the ones which interact with Web 2.0 services the most such as Evernote, Twitterfon and Facebook. One feature which works really for me is the ActivSync integration with Exchange, this means for work e-mail and calendars I can access them anywhere with a wifi connection. As it is a live connection, there is no need to sync and that is what sets the device apart from Windows PDAs I have used in the past. I do find typing on the iPod touch very simple and much nicer than using a phone keypad, but I know for some it’s not their cup of tea. Overall I really like the iPod touch, it exceeded my expectations, I use it on a daily basis and I can’t even really imagine what the next generation version will be like.

1.    Nokia N95

My number one device for 2008 is the Nokia N95 8GB
mobile phone. For me the Nokia N95 is much more than a phone, it is a device which allows me to create upload and connect. Like the iPod touch I use it on a daily basis, though to be honest rarely as a phone or for SMS. The 5MP camera has an excellent lens and can be used to take some nice photographs. I use Shozu to automatically upload my photographs to Flickr or Facebook over the phone’s 3G connection or if in the right place over wifi. The phone also takes some nice video as well and I can use Shozu to upload that as well automatically. The Nokia N95 does come with a web browser, which is usable, but nowhere near as nice as Safari on the iPod touch. However all is not lost, using JokiuSpot (see above) I can turn the N95 into a wifi hotspot and use the N95’s 3G connection and the iPod touch for browsing, job done. Video works well on the N95 and simple MP4 files work well, though the screen is small, the phone comes with a composite video cable which allows you to show what is on the phone on a video screen or through a projector. The onboard speaker is okay, though the one on the Nokia smaller N73 seems louder! The s60 operating system does allow you to install third party applications and I do like the Jaiku application over the mobile Jaiku interface and there is also an s60 Twitter application too. Qik on the N95 turns it into a broadcast device, Qik is a service which allows you to stream live video from your phone to the internet and it can be very effective. I also use the phone to read QR codes which it does quite well. The N95 also has built in GPS and though routing software is extra, for checking where you are using Nokia Maps the phone works great. I also like how Shozu geo-tags the photographs I upload to Flickr too. It’s not all perfect, the device is very chunky and very thick, if you like thin phones, then you won’t like the N95. I am not a great fan of the keypad, but it’s better than some I have used, and to be honest I don’t like phone keypads anyhow!

Overall though, on the basis of how I use the N95, how often I use the N95 and how annoyed I get when it runs out of battery, the Nokia N95 is my number one technology of 2008.

Top Ten Technologies of 2008

What is yours?

Doing other things with PowerPoint

There are some other nice things you can do with PowerPoint presentations apart from show them as just presentations, or even view them again.

PowerPoint slides can be easily saved as images as mentioned by Phil in his blog posting on this issue.

Show them on a mobile device, ie a mobile phone, a PSP, an iPod or similar. It should be noted that the iPod touch (and the iPhone) can show PowerPoint presentations natively using the media viewer. Presentations can either me sent via e-mail or moved to the iPod touch using one of the file management applications now available for it.

You could also incorporate the images of the slides into Microsoft Photostory 3 and add narration or even more images.

Phil in his blog posting talking about loading the images ontot a DVD.

I suppose you could even burn them onto a DVD and look at them on your TV via a DVD player: now that’s an exciting night in!

In terms of DVDs, one thing that I have done is to use Apple’s Keynote to import a PowerPoint presentation, and add a voice over and export as a movie. This movie as well as being exported to various mobile devices or embedded onto a webpage and I have taken this movie and burnt it to DVD.

One of the reasons for doing this is that some learners may not have a computer at home or a media capable mobile device, but probably have a (£15) DVD player from Asda or similar.

Today a lot of teaching staff are still using PowerPoint, but there is nothing to stop them or learners viewing those presentations in different ways and on different devices.

What we do is provide the hardware and software so that learners undertake the conversion process themselves. Though we are looking at tools to make the process easier and more transparent.

The mobility of learning: using mobile learning to rethink the digital divide – done!

I ran a workshop at ALT-C yesterday afternoon on mobile learning though didn’t have time to blog about it yesterday.

Session seemed to go well though I did have about sixty people in a long narrow room.

The feedback from the session can be found here:

http://altcworkshop.blogspot.com/

Please feel free to add comments to people’s blog posts.

Recorded Gabcast podcasts from my sessions at #altc2008 today. They are online now at http://tinyurl.com/hood2feedback

Say goodbye to the computer mouse

According to a Gartner survey we are going to see the end of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

The BBC reports:

It’s nearly 40 years old but one leading research company says the days of the computer mouse are numbered.

A Gartner analyst predicts the demise of the computer mouse in the next three to five years.

Taking over will be so called gestural computer mechanisms like touch screens and facial recognition devices.

With devices such as the Wii remote and the PlayStation cameras which allow you to interact with the game visually I can understand where this report is coming from.

However…

We are still using the keyboard aren’t we?

Say goodbye to the computer mouse

Sketching on the PSP (or teaching an old dog new tricks)

One of the advantages of giving technology to learners is more often then not they will teach you what it can do.

We have been using PSPs (with the camera attachment) with a group of 14 year old learners. This is part of our MoLeNET project.

They have been using them to create stuff.

One of them today told their tutor about the effects option (something I had certainly missed) and the tutor told me.

One of the nice effects is the Sketch effect.

Sketching on the PSP (or teaching an old dog new tricks)

Now from a photography purist perspective you should really shoot in full colour and then use filters for this kind of effect.

Well that’s all nice and dandy if you have the computers (and software) to do this, but sometimes you don’t and come on let’s be honest a 1.3MP camera (which is what you have on top of the PSP) is certainly not a high end camera.

It’s actually quite an effective effect and much better than other sketch type effects or filters I have used.

Alas you can’t capture video with a sketch effect (though I am thinking if I can using a Pinnacle device we have.

Need to write a guide.

PSP or iPod touch, that is the question?

I believe that the iPod touch has a lot of potential when it comes to mobile learning.

I think the SDK gives a whole new way of working with the iPod and Exchange intergration via ActivSync allows it to be used at an enterprise/institutional level that wasn’t possible before.

In our MoLeNET project we have a group using the iPod touch and another group using the iPod classic. If you remove the wireless aspect, the classic (or nano) is a much more flexible device. What makes the touch special is the wireless capability.

The fact you can browse the internet, use e-mail, web widgets, etc… on the iPod touch makes it much more usable for some aspects of learning than the “traditional” iPod.

My colleague Alan though mentions one failing of the iPod touch over other iPods. With the nano and the classic you can use them as USB storage devices to store files, however this is not possible with the iPod touch.

You will need to consider that the touch interface does mean the screen gets grubby pretty quickly and the included cloth will need to be used on a regular basis.

Another disadvantage is that it can’t play Flash based content.

So what about the PSP?

PSP or iPod touch, that is the question

Well it has a bigger screen for one thing and it can play games!

I do like the PSP and at £120 is cheaper than the iPod touch.

It does not require iTunes and can be connected to a PC via a simple USB cable. With extras you can use Skype, record video and audio, and use GPS. The PSP also has built in speakers which means you don’t always have to use headphones.

However it comes with no onboard storage, so you will also need to buy a Memory Stick Duo for it. The wireless browser is okay, but nowhere near the level of usability or sophistication of the iPod touch browser.

Text entry is, well let’s just say, it’s interesting compared to other devices, it does mean that entering URLs is not easy.

The PSP can play “some” Flash based content.

So which one do I prefer?

Well I do use both on a regular basis, but for me the iPod touch wins out.