Category Archives: Handheld Computing

Handheld Learning Presentation Proposals Due Soon!!

handheldlearning 2008

On Friday, May 30, to be exact. I’m still working on mine, how about you?

So far, all indications are that Handheld Learning 2008 is going to be the best handheld learning conference yet. The list of keynotes is first-class, and it’s worth attending the conference just to see them. However, I’m mostly looking forward to see what will happen when 1,000 people or so all have access to the same device (a Nintendo DS) for the duration of the conference.

You can register for the conference here.

 Submit your presentation proposals here.

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RCETJ Special Issue on Learning While Mobile

In the past couple of months I’ve been the guest editor for RCETJ’s special issue on learning while mobile. The issue went live this afternoon, and I’m very pleased with the way it came out.  

Here is the lineup (articles are all freely accesible):

Bridging the Gap? Mobile Phones at the Interface Between Informal and Formal Learning
by John Cook, Norbert Pachler, and Claire Bradley

Affordances of PDAs: Undergraduate Student Perceptions
by Yanjie Song and Robert Fox

The Effect of Information Visualization and Structure on Mobile Learning
by Hyungsung Park

Using Place as Provocation: In Situ Collaborative Narrative Construction
by Deborah Tatar, Steve Harrison, Alli Crandell, and Matthew Shaefer

A Personalized Mobile Mathematics Tutoring System for Primary Education
by Xinyou Zhao and Toshio Okamoto

Thanks to all who contributed!!

To subscribe to the journal, please go here.

RCETJ publishes the original, refereed work of researchers and practitioners twice a year in multimedia electronic format. It is distributed free of charge over the World Wide Web to promote dialogue, research, and grounded practice.

Image Credit: RCETJ logo at

Carnival of the Mobilists #120; Death of the Mobile Web?

You’ll just have to find out the answer to that question yourself, so head on over to Skydeck for this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists!

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:


Handheld Learning 2008

 handheldlearning 2008

Handheld Learning 2008, the world’s premiere conference on mobile learning, is on for Oct. 13-15 in London! The conference website went live yesterday, and how!! Even though I’m on the advisory team for the conference, Graham Brown-Martin told me he had a few surprises in store. And did he! Check out the list of confirmed speakers:

The provisional program isn’t bad either, and can be found here. I’m already looking forward to the conference and I hope you are too (At least some of you are, the first registration came in within 10 minutes of the conference site going live). This one is very highly recommended, but make sure to register by July 31 to receive your FREE Nintendo DS!!

Also don’t forget that Handheld Learning 2008 follows right on the heels of mLearn 2008 in Shropshire, making it very easy (and tempting) to attend both.

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Carnival of the Mobilists #119

From mobilejones:

What’s amazing about this week’s offerings is that they themselves are a reflection of mobile’s push to data and multimedia in 2008. Handset companies, former handset companies, Internet companies, new entrants and social networking giants are all involved in mashups of services. And this CoM is a mashup of various media types to capture it all and bring to you….

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Becta’s Emerging Technologies for Learning, Volume 3

Becta has just published the third volume in its series Emerging technologies for learning, an annual publication. This series is worth a read, and I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas from it in years past. This year’s line-up includes articles on

Given the impressive line-up of authors I have to say that I’m proud and a little humbled to have been asked to contribute to the 2008 volume of the series. Highly recommended!!

Image credit: “nptechtag”; cambodia4kidsorg’s photostream:

Mobile Roundup of Sorts

 As I’m trying to get caught up on my reading about mobiles and mobile learning, I run into all kinds of interesting odds and ends. Here is a brief roundup of some of the things I’ve been looking at lately:


WLE’s occasional papers #1 Mobile learning: Towards a research agenda“. Edited by Norbert Pachler, this is an interesting collection of six papers, all arguing for the need for more theoretical work in the field of m-learning (and I would concur). Some work is being done, as is illustrated, example, by Wali, Winters, Oliver (“Maintaining, changing and crossing contexts: an activity theoretic reinterpretation of mobile learning” in the March 2008 issue of Alt-J; abstract is here), and earlier by Uden (“Activity theory for designing mobile learning” in the International Journal of Mobile Learning and Organisation), and of course “A theory of learning for the mobile age“, written by Sharples, Taylor, and Vavoula for the The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research

Research Methods in Informal and Mobile Learning is a book of proceedings from a December workshop, consisting of 15 papers that explore how me might go about doing better research in the area of mobile learning. I’m still reading this one, but so far it’s been an interesting and I think important piece. I’ve always believed that as learning (and learners) changes so should our ways of researching it. I’m proud to say that even though I wasn’t able to attend the conference myself, I did contribute a presentation and a paper.

This is not so much a publication as it is a good resource for many things having to do with mobile and learning: mLearnopedia. I’m surprised I haven’t run across this before, trawling the net for mobile learning resources. This is a worthwhile resource, with lots of links to current news and events in mobile learning.

Mobile phones for learning

A while ago, Dean Shareski wrote an intersting post about using cellphones as learning tools with an accompanying video, describing an experiment with mobile phones to see  “Can this powerful device help students learn?” The answer for now is a qualified yes, I would say.

Here is a more recent article from eSchoolNews that discusses how institutions of higher education are responding to the iPhone’s popularity. While it is great that different institutions are beginning to cater more to mobile users, I think there is a real danger in what some institutions like Abilene Christian University are doing by focusing on one particular device. It’s the connectivity that counts, not the device that’s used for it, and who knows, we may laugh at the site of an iPhone in 3 to 5 years… As I’ve said before, the focus should be on providing content.

A whole other take on learning with mobile phones is described by Ken Banks, founder of, in his article “Reaching out through mobile technology with the humble SMS” Looking at the bigger picture of things, Ken describes some of his work with mobile technology in Africa. He argues that the three keys constraints to advancing mLearning in developing countries (and I’d add elsewhere as well) are mobile ownership, mobile technology, and network access. These are probably more constraining in developing countries because of a lack of alternative technologies (as for example is described in Dean’s piece).

However, as Ken Banks concludes:

Mobile technology has revolutionised many aspects of life in the developing world. The number of mobile connections has almost universally overtaken the number of fixed-lines in most developing countries in the blink of an eye. If further evidence were needed, recent research by the London Business School found that mobile penetration has a strong impact on GDP. For many people, their first ever telephone call would have been on a mobile device. Perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, their first geography lesson will be on one, too.

Student voices

Via Andy’s Black Hole, I ran across this video on BBC News, called Children’s love of mobiles. It’s about a group of kids in the UK who filmed the making of their video report about mobile phone use. As Andy says, it’s well worth a watch.

Another interesting piece is Next generation learning, produced by Handheld Learning for Becta. The video is a nice mix of children and adults speaking about  the use of consumer electronic devices and entertainment software for learning. A few notable quotes out of this one:

  • “I don’t think there’s a big difference between learning and entertainment” (student) 
  • “We need good teachers to keep up with this generation” (Prof. Stephen Heppell)

And while you’re on Handheld Learning’s Blip TV site, check out some of the other videos that are there.

Padding to protect pedestrians ...

Finally, for the funny story of the week, head over to Fox News for its story “Padded Lampposts Tested in London to Prevent Cell Phone Texting Injuries” and PollyPrissyPants comments entitled “Why don’t we just walk around in protective bubble gear?” Even though this story is a couple of weeks old, it was too good to pass up.

So there you have it, as the title of this post states, a mobile roundup of sorts…

Image Credits:

“The Brawley Roundup”; from independentman’s photostream:

“Padding to protect pedestrians” from

Carnival of the Mobilists #102 is out

All the way from Egypt, Tarek Ghazali brings us this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists. Lots of good contributions this week, including some on mobile Internet, the death of the wristwatch, and P2P for mobile networks. I’m off reading!!


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Carnival of the Mobilists #101


The Carnivals just keep on coming! Episode #101 is now online at Martin’s Mobile Technology Page. News from all over the world this week, as well as a link to a very interesting post by Judy Breck about an impending cell phone initiative in New York City schools, called the “Million” program.

What are you waiting for! Go check it all out.

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

mLearn 2008: Call for Proposals


Even though it’s still almost a year away, there is already a call for proposals for mLearn 2008. I’ll be there, will you?


mLearn, the world’s flagship mobile learning conference, will take place in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ironbridge,the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, in Shropshire, England, in October 2008. The conference started in Birmingham and has since taken place in London, Rome, Cape Town, Banff and Melbourne.

The aims of the conference are to bring together leaders in mobile learning research, developers and practitioners in a environment that will stimulate discussion, innovation and excitement.

Formats and Deadlines:

· Full papers: 8 pages, final date for submission for review is 14 April 2008 midnight GMT

· Short papers: 1 page, final date for submission for review is 28 April 2008 midnight GMT

· Posters: 1 page, final date for submission for review is 28 April 2008 midnight GMT

(other categories to follow)


· mobile learning, mobile knowledge, mobile societies: covering discourse, identity, knowledge and learning with pervasive, ubiquitous, mobile technologies; social, individual and cultural aspects of mobile learning

· devices, systems, technology and standards: convergence, diversity, frontiers, and trends

· mobile learning landscape: work-based, informal, subject-specific, context-aware, social

· mobile learning for all: inclusion, assistivity, scalability, embedding, participation, development, evaluation, evidence, and assessment

Review Panel:

*Dr Mohamed Ally, Athabasca University, Canada *Dr Inmaculada Arnedillo-Sánchez, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland *Jill Attewell, Research Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning, LSN, UK *Dr Tom Brown, Midrand Graduate Institute, South Africa *Professor Tak-Wai Chan, National Central University of Taiwan *Dr Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, University of Nottingham, UK *Dr Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Open University, UK *Professor Chee-Kit Looi, National Institute of Education, Singapore *Professor Angela McFarlane, University of Bristol, UK *Dr Marcelo Milrad, Växjö University, Sweden *Dr Dick Ng’ambi, University of Cape Town, South Africa *Professor Roy Pea, Stanford University, USA *Professor Mike Sharples, University of Nottingham, UK *Dr Mark van’t Hooft, Kent State University, USA *Professor Herman van der Merwe, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa *Professor Earl Woodruff, University of Toronto, Canada

We anticipate linking with two respected journal for special editions. Proceedings will have an ISBN number

The conference dates are: Wednesday 8th to Friday 10th October 2008.

Further details and templates: &

For informal queries on submissions, contact John Traxler, Brendan Riordan or Chris Dennett via the conference web-site.


Image Credit: mLearn 2008: