Mobile Learning Round-Up, Week 36

Well, this mobile learning round-up may become a regular feature here, hence the week number on the post. We’ll see… Lots of interesting stuff again this week:

Mobile Learning Stuff:

Texting? No, just trying to read chapter 6. According to the author of this New York Times article,

IN our digital age, miniaturization rules. This is a welcome thing — in most cases. Squeezing two billion transistors onto a small chip? All good. Squeezing an enormous printed textbook down to iPhone-size? Not so good. … Once cracked open, two facing pages supply about 155 square inches of real estate … The iPhone has a grand total of six square inches of display. In my opinion, no amount of ingenuity will enable textbooks to squeeze into a credit-card-size space.

Apple uses a tagline in its iPhone commercials — “There’s an app for that”— to convey the idea that its phone is adaptable to almost any purpose. But an app that makes the double-page spread in a printed textbook easily readable on the iPhone? There’s no app for that.

And yes, there is no app for that. the makers of the eTextbooks app for the iPhone are completely missing the point. A mobile device is not designed for displaying huge amounts of texts, let alone text that seems to be directly scanned from the textbook!! (take a look at the image from the NYT article and you’ll see what I mean). Just another ploy by textbook companies to make a buck, but I dont’ think this one is going to fly.

NYT06digi600.1Image Credit: NYT

Mobile Learning Projects:

blog-projektschule-02Image Credit: Projektschule Goldau

Schwyz, Switzerland. As a part of a 2year mobile learning pilot project, a class of fifth graders receive a free iPhone 3Gs. The kids can also use the mobile in their time away from school. The idea of the project is to help them integrate the phone into their “learning lives”

(via the mlearningblog).

I like this concept of “learning lives”, which nicely captures the affordances of mobile technologies for learning. A cursory look at the school’s blog (translated version) shows that this is a new project that aims at the following:

The children should use the device inside and outside the school as part of their personal learning and working environment and thus emancipated, and learn to deal critically with the future increasingly available information and communication technology (ICT).

acuconnectedImage Credit: Apple

ACU’s iPhone initiative: A year later (again via the mlearningblog), is an older post, but an interesting one nonetheless, because it reports on a conversation with the project team at ACU that to date has rolled out one of the largest iPhone projects in an educational setting. While they reported some of their earlier findings at the Mobile Learning Conference 2009 in DC, they now provide some more substantial findings (more of these to be presented in the research strand at Handheld Learning 2009 in October).

Podcasts:

Podcast_Logo_2-208Image Credit: Learning in Hand

The always prolific Tony Vincent has posted iPods Episode #18: iPod Touch Basics, a brief overview of what beginning users should know. Includes video and text transcript. Very useful…

Mobile Technology News:

apple-ipod-sept-09-1393-rm-engImage Credit: Engadget

Of course the big event this week was Apple’s It’s Only Rock and Roll (held on 9/9/09 no less). It did not feature the release of a new iPod Touch with camera as many had speculated. Are there  some glitches with the device, will we see it soon, or ever? In anticipation of the event,  prices on various current iPods were slashed. The big news at the event was the release of a new iPod nano with video camera (see also here), pedometer, mic and speaker, as well as an FM radio (beating Microsoft to the punch?). Interesting choice, and it turns out that all the hype around a new iPod touch with camera was just hype, or was it? I’d have rather seen the touch than the nano with a camera for educational purposes, but it seems that Apple is really focusing more on the devices’ price points and maybe is looking for a way to build an iPod touch with camera at a decent cost. While cost was not a real focus of the presentation, it seemed to be implicitly present nonetheless.

windows-marketplace-ofc-03
Image Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft, not wanting to stay behind, is trying to revive mobile, according to BBC News. Analysts are calling this effort (Windows Mobile 6.5) “lame, lame, lame, to say the least,” said Paul Rubens of Internetnews.com”.

asus-dual-screen-pcImage Credit: Engadget

Meanwhile, ASUS is planning a dual screen Eee reader, that is slated to become one of the cheapest e-book readers out there.

500x_palmpixi
Image Credit: Gizmodo

Palm is following its Palm Pre with the Palm Pixi, a smaller version of the Pre. No wifi though and it seems to be somewhat less powerful.

So … all in all another busy week in the world of mobile and mobile learning!

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