Monthly Archives: March 2008

Carnival of the Mobilists #117

According to the mobilestance blog, Carnival of the Mobilists #117 is Here! Happy reading….

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Comfort Foods Meme


Ok, so I got tagged by Scott McLeod in his comfort foods meme. He’s got some interesting choices, although they do not quite match mine. Since I like food ūüėČ I figured I’d post some of my choices, in no particular order:

  1. Soup. Any kind really …
  2. Mashed potatoes
  3. Mountain man (you have to be (or have been) a Boy Scout to appreciate this one!)
  4. Lasagna
  5. Hot chocolate

Alright, I did my part. How about you? And specifically:

Gotta stick with the mobile learning crowd!!

Image Credit: “Potato Soup”; from Average Jane’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¬† ‚ÄúCan this powerful device help students learn?‚ÄĚ 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

It’s Not on the Test

Here is an interesting take on NCLB and high stakes testing, provided by singer-songwriter and storyteller Tom Chapin. Once you’ve listened to the song “Not on the test“, make sure to read the statement and facts pages as well. The line that stands out most to me is this one:

Sleep, sleep, and as you progress
You’ll learn there’s a lot that is not on the test.

And by the way, there is no mention whatsoever of technology in the song, so that must not be on the test either …..

Image Credit: Not on the Test:

Carnival of the Mobilists #116

Hosted by the Situational Marketing blog, this week’s Carnival is quite an eclectic collection of posts. Happy reading!


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Carnival of the Mobilists #115

This week’s Carnival is hosted by Andy Grill…

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PEW/Internet Report on Mobile Access to Data and Information


I ran across the latest two reports by the Pew/Internet and American Life Project today, entitled: Mobile Access to Data and Information. It’s more of a brief than a¬†full-blown report, but interesting nonetheless. ¬†

According to the Pew website, this report describes that:

62% of all Americans are part of a wireless, mobile population that participates in digital activities away from home or work. Not only are young people attuned to this kind of access, African Americans and English-speaking Latinos are more likely than white Americans to use non-voice data applications on their cell phones.

Another insteresting finding in the report is that with the changes in access, there are also changes in how people value their media access tools, with the cell phone now being the most valued one. Nothing really surprising here. However, the report also found that “for the most part, untethered access is not a substitute for online access at home”. For more detailed information about usage patterns by age and ethnicity, take a look at the full report.

While the numbers quoted in the Pew report on mobile data are not really surprising, it was put into a little bit different perspective when reading a non-US response to this report, in this case by Andy Black. He states that 

I have rightly or wrongly always had the opinion that North America and specifically the US was a bit behind us due to variety of factors.

  • complex networks
  • role of free local calls etc etc

This report seems I think to support that view.

Based on what I know about the mobile phone world in the US as compared to the rest of the world (especially Europe and Southeast Asia), I would probably agree with him. However, I would also add that one of the problems with mobile phone use in the US is the fragmentation of networks, i.e. every provider has its own proprietary stuff. Not very conducive to large scale developments in mobile phone technology if you ask me (aside from the contractual hell many companies put you through).

The second Pew piece is a two-page¬†memo entitled Seeding The Cloud: What Mobile Access Means for Usage Patterns and Online Content.¬†It accompanies the mobile access report. It makes the case that Internet access and usage on mobile phones tends to be less ‘elitist’ (i.e. more affordable for more and a greater variety of¬†people). Consequently,

it is important to recognize that the users in this emerging environment look different than those of the late 1990s desktop era. Groups that have in the past trailed in ‚Äútraditional‚ÄĚ internet access are in a better position to shape cyberspace as the internet becomes more accessible using wireless devices.

This last comment is an important one when we put it within a context of digital technology use in education. An increasing number of students is accessing the Internet from mobile devices, whether it is to access information or upload content to share with a wider audience. Therefore, we need to take a closer look at their usage patterns, and how we can take advantage of those for educational purposes. More importantly, we need to consider what we as educators need to do to make sure that students understand the importance of using this ubiquitous access to information in ways that are constructive, responsible, and safe.

Image Credit: “First land based wireless mobile: 1901”, from abaporu’s photostream: