Tag Archives: gps

Understanding the Potential

Boxes

So what comes first, technology or pedagogy?

For me one of the messages that comes out of the videos I was watching last week and resonates with me, is how the most effective way of using technology is where it is used to solve a problem.

The problem could be pedagogical, as with the teaching machine, that allows independent self-directed learning, or it could be social, as with Sugata Mitra’s hole in the wall experiment.

What I have noticed at conferences and online in social media is that this often results in the conclusion that we should put pedagogy first and before technology.

I do agree with that sentiment that we should start with the problem we are trying to solve and if it is a pedagogical problem then we should start with the pedagogy. We should the consider a range of technologies that could be used to solve that problem.

There is an assumption there that a practitioner is fully conversant in the ranges of technologies available and understands their potential for solving issues.

From working with practitioners is that they are not always aware of the different types of technology available and what their functionality and capabilities are. Without knowing what things can do and how they enhance and enrich learning, how can you make an educated choice about which is the right technology to use in which context? This is why I do think that sometimes we do need to talk about technology and how it can transform learning. This is not about solving problems with TEL, but providing TEL as a box of potential solutions to solve future problems.

Of course you are not going to be able to know everything, or understand how everything works to make use of it, but understanding the potential means that if you encounter a problem in the future then you will have a potential solution that can be worked on.

A secondary aspect that also needs to be considered is the transformative nature of technology. If we start talking about technology we might find there are new ways of learning, new pedagogies that could be exploited to solve problems. If we didn’t think about the potential of different technologies.

Technology can offer new ways of learning, that if we started from a learning perspective may be missed.

One example that comes to mind is GPS, location based learning can be transformative as it allows learning to happen in places that otherwise might be missed. If you think of those services on phones that remind you to buy something when you pass a particular shop, then put this into a learning context; imagine your phone alerting you to a building or location you are passing and how it relates to the current topic you are studying. You may not even realise that the location is connected, but GPS and location aware learning objects will help you to do just that. The problem here is about context-sensitive learning, but this just couldn’t happen in a classroom or lecture based scenario. Technology allows us to transform the potential for learning and create new ways for learners to access learning.

I do think we need to stop thinking about what we should focus on “first”, pedagogy or technology, but actually consider the context and audience we are working with.

If we are a teacher then more likely when working with learners, the TEL will be there to support the solving of a learning problem. The learning will come first in this instance, and the TEL will be supportive. However what if the teacher wants the learners to consider a range of technologies to support an assessment objective, in this instance then it makes much more sense to talk about the technology.

At a conference, training session or on social media, it can make sense that we start talking about technology and what it can do, rather than start talking about problems and pedagogy,

So what comes first, technology or pedagogy? Well both do, it depends on the context.

Image source.

aSmart HUD – iPhone App of the Week

aSmart HUD – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

This week’s App is aSmart HUD.

aSmartHUD is simple and clear vehicle digital dashboard.

£0.59

This App provides a simple heads up display that gives you an indication of your speed, direction and position.

It is designed so that you can “reflect” it onto your windscreen so you can pretend your car is a fighter jet!

A bit of fun really.

Get aSmart HUD in the iTunes App Store.

London Mini A-Z – iPhone App of the Week

London Mini A-Z – iPhone App of the Week


This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is London Mini A-Z.

This map is a digital rendition of the famous “London A-Z Mini Atlas” and covers an area from West Hendon in the North West to Grove Park in the South East. Add this application to your iPhone or iPod Touch and you will have instant access to all 352 pages of the London Mini A-Z printed map.

Covering 141 Square Miles (367 Square Kilometers) and with more than 32,000 streets and additional places of interest. This map is drawn by real cartographers with the detailed care and human touch of emphasis and colour that A-Z are famous for. Internet maps are OK but you really can’t beat the genuine article.

With the maps installed on your device there is never any need for an internet connection enabling you to access the map anywhere and at anytime.

£5.99

If you are as old as me you may recall buying maps rather than using Sat Nav or Maps on your iPhone.

One of the things I use to buy a lot were A to Z books of various places I went to as either the provided maps were useless or I was. More often then not I would forget them the next time I was in the city and would buy a second (or even third copy). You would think I could just pop into the newsagents and flick through the A to Z and

This app is bascially a virtual recreation of those A to Z books. With the advantage that as it is on your iPhone it will be lighter and easier to carry. You can locate yourself using the phone’s built in GPS which is helpful; and you can use multi-touch to zoom in and out as well.

So why not use the built-in maps function? Well that App as good as it is, does depend on having a good internet connection. You would think in central London that this wouldn’t be a problem and most times it isn’t a problem however of course when you do in fact need it for real, is when the 3G network will let you down.

So for the iPod touch, the App starts to make even more sense with its dependency on WiFi and no 3G.

Now this is a useful app if you travel to lots of different places in London and want to ensure that the maps are on the device. If you only visit the big smoke now and again, I suspect the built in Maps app will be more than sufficient.

AudioBoo – iPhone App of the Week

AudioBoo – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is AudioBoo.

Update: App is now called AudioBoom.

Audioboo is an application for recording and sharing your voice with the world. This free version allows you to create audio up to 5 minutes in length and post that to your own account on the web. You can add titles, tags, geolocation info and a photo to the recording before you upload it and we’ll save all that with the file. The audio can then be shared with your followers or via Facebook, Twitter & more social networks by managing your account at http://audioboo.fm.

In addition, you can also listen to featured, followed, popular, recent and nearby boos in the app and view photo & location details if attached.

All audio is converted to an mp3. You don’t need to create an account to start recording but it’ll certainly help you keep track of your boos in the future.

Free

This has been one fun app to use on the iPhone. So what is Audioboo? Well it’s a service I first saw demonstrated at the All Together Now event at Channel 4.

To put it simply it is an App on your iPhone that allows you to record an audio recording, add your location, a picture, tags and upload the lot to a website.

This has some real  potential for learning activities. As you have an account on the website (not essential but recommended) your recordings are kept together and also have an RSS feed as well, which people can subscribe to via iTunes or other podcasting applications.

For example, imagine that your Travel and Tourism students are out on a field trip, they can record an image of each tourist destination, they can record a description,  add relevant tags, the iPhone adds GPS coordinates, and the lot is uploaded to the web. Back at college they can create a media rich presentation using the recordings and images and create a map using the geo-data.

It also acts as a simple mp3 recorder, and these mp3 files are then available to download from the Audioboo website.

I have mainly used Audioboo to show people what Audioboo can do. I hope to in 2010 use Audioboo to do a regular short podcast.

I do like Audioboo, it is such a simple concept, but executed really nicely and has the potential to be a very effective tool for learning.

Update: App is now called AudioBoom.

TomTom UK & Ireland – iPhone App of the Week

TomTom UK & Ireland – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is TomTom U.K. & Ireland.

Cost £49.99

So you need to know where to go?

You need to know how long it will take?

You need to be able to find an alternative route just in case?

Then the TomTom App could be the perfect app for you…

Okay this is one of the most expensive Apps in the iTunes Store and if you already have a TomTom or GPS then you certainly won’t want to buy this. However if you are looking to get a SatNav then getting one for your iPhone is certainly a real possibility.

Now to use this in the car you either need to get a car charger or the TomTom iPhone Car Kit. Now this adds another expense to the cost.

This is not a cheap SatNav, you can get much cheaper standalone SatNav devices from other places. However if you prefer to carry only one device (or not too many devices) then having a SatNav on your iPhone can make a lot of sense. The TomTom App also works as a pedestrian SatNav (ie when walking around).

The iPhone already has the GPS chip, however in order to make best use of the TomTom App then you really need the 3GS model with the digital compass. You can use the TomTom App on the 3G model however when you are in urban areas with lots of turns it doesn’t really work as you would like it to.

So why not just use the Maps App that comes with the iPhone? Well though the App can use the GPS chip, and can be used for directions, it doesn’t have turn by turn directions that the TomTom can. Though the main reason you don’t want to be using the Maps App is that the maps are not held locally and need to be downloaded from a server. This is fine if you have a good fast 3G connection, less so if you are in a rural area. The Maps App also only works properly when you are connected to a phone network. I found that out when I was in New Zealand recently. I had turned on Airplane Mode on the iPhone and was using the wifi and when using the Maps App the iPhone decided that I was in Kobe Airport in Japan, even though I was in Auckland. When I switched the phone mode on, it then found me accurately in Auckland. It should be said of course that the TomTom would not work in New Zealand either as I only have the UK & Ireland version. Though the TomTom New Zealand App is available.

GPS and location services offer many possibilities for learning, though a SatNav App may not be as useful as other Apps which make use of the GPS chip in the iPhone.

The key question about the TomTom is, does it get you to where you need to by the time you need to, then yes it does. Is it value for money, no it’s not the cheapest option and for a lot of people a dedicated SatNav is probably a better option. Does it offer much for learners? No not really.

Sony Camcorder with GPS

hdr-tg5vI am really starting to see some of the real educational possibilities of GPS and location based learning. One of the key features of using images in location based learning is the ability to add geo-data the images and video taken by a camera.

Sony have announced a new HD Camcorder with GPS capabilities.

Perfect for travelers, this camcorder features a built-in GPS receiver that automatically adjusts your camcorder’s clock to the proper time zone and lets you view your current location on the LCD map display, as well as “tag” your shooting locations. You can view your tagged videos and pictures via the Map Index function or after you’ve downloaded them to your PC.

As with any HD camera, the technical specifications are pretty good.

Capture all the action on your next trip with this ultra-portable, titanium-bodied Handycam® camcorder. It features Full HD 1920 x 1080 video recording, 4MP still shots.

Sony have also moved to solid state media as well.

Record to 16GB embedded flash memory or choose instead to record to removable Memory Stick PRO Duo™ media

Overall an interesting camera, but does GPS add the value for what is still an expensive camera.

GO!Explore for the PSP

Back in October 2007 I blogged about GPS on the PSP.

The Playstation Portable (PSP) is as you may guess from the name usually used for playing games. However it has other tricks up its sleeve including so I read the possibility of GPS.

Today GO!Explore for the PSP arrived in my office. As well as a car cradle and charger, GO!Explore for the PSP consists of an UMD disk with maps and software and a GPS antenna which screws into the USB port on the top.

I have not had a chance to try out the GPS as I couldn’t be bothered to go out in the cold, so will probably have a go tomorrow. The software works well, but would (according to the software) work better from a memory stick. The 3D graphics are a nice touch and will be interesting to see how much of the UK is in 3D (I have expectations it is only London).

You can’t use the camera and GPS at the same time, but with limited ports on the PSP that was to be expected.

I am not sure if it is a cost effective solution, especially as some satnavs can now play audio and video files. However if you already have PSPs, then adding GPS via GO!Explore I think is a serious option to consider.

As I said in 2007, the ability to use GPS on your PSP opens up a range of learning scenarios involving maps, GPS and images.

GO!Explore for the PSP

Where am I?

On Friday the 27th February I gave a few online presentations (conferences) for the MoLeNET programme.

One was on GPS and location based learning.

Presentation on on GPS and location based learning using mobile devices, it covered some of the GPS devices out there and how location based learning can be used.

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.

3D GPS

Do you have a GPS or satnav and still get lost?

Could it be because the maps on satnavs look like maps rather than the place where you actually are?

Though I think GPS devices have a place in learning and especially mobile learning they do have a requirement that the learners understand maps and the concept of maps and am not sure that all do.

In Korea we are seeing the future of satnav with the map been replaced by a 3D view of the road you are on.

3D GPS

Thinkware announced the launch of its premium navigation device ‘iNAVI K2’ in Korea market, which is equipped with its dynamic electronic map of 3D space representation ‘iNAVI 3D’.

Adopting 8GB SDHC memory card and 256MB of RAM, the iNAVI K2 provides useful information on the 3D environment structure through a 4.8-inch WVGA(800 x 480 resolution) LCD in a photo realistic way.

Of course with initiatives like Google Street View in the US, eventually we may see (in the UK) photo-realistic 3D environments on satnav devices.

This all means for learners that they will find using GPS devices much easier to use for location based learning activities.