Monthly Archives: January 2009

Carnival of the Mobilists #158

Another edition of the Carnival that is bursting at the seams this week, thanks to Tsahi Levent-Levi over at the Radvision blog!

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Horizon Report 2009

Besides the other important event 😉 , the Horizon Project issued its annual report for 2009 today.  According to the report, technologies to watch within the next five years include mobiles, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects. Put them all together and you have a vision of ubiquitous computing similar to what Weiser (see also here) envisioned back in 1991 and which has since been used, reused, revised, etc. by scholars such as Bell & Dourish (2005), and Rogers (2006).

This is the third year in a row that mobiles are a part of the Horizon Report, and their importance for education can no longer be ignored, really. However, the key trends I found to be most important have to do with teaching and learning, and research. With regards to teaching and learning the report states (p. 7):

There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy; and Students are different, but a lot of educational material is not.

With regards to research, the report indicates that:

Significant shifts are taking place in the ways scholarship and research are conducted, and there is a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy. A challenge cited as critical now for several years running, academic review and faculty rewards are out of sync with the practice of scholarship. Clear approaches to assessing emerging forms of scholarly practice are needed for tenure and promotion. Students who are living and learning with technologies that generate dynamic forms of content may find the current formalism and structure of scholarship and research to be static and “dead” as a way of collecting, analyzing and sharing results.

Change seems to be the key in all of this.

Just a glimpse at the report and my initial and cursory thoughts….. Definitely worth a read.

Carnival of the Mobilists #157

Great Carnival this week over at mjelly, lost of posts and the variety is better than it has been in a while. Not sure yet which post I like best this week, I’m still reading….

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Carnival of the Mobilists #156

Hosted by WAP Review, this week’s issue of the Carnival lists more predictions for 2009, and the best writing in mobile about Software and Service, Design and User Experience, Events, Marketing, and Strategy.

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Pockets of Potential…

 magic8ball

… is the title of a report that was just released by The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. The report “draws on interviews with a cross-section of research, policy, and industry experts to illustrate how mobile technologies such as cell phones, iPod devices, and portable gaming platforms might be more widely used for learning.” While the contents don’t feature anything really new, it’s nice to have a compilation of opportunities, challenges, and trends. In this respect, I would think this report will be especially useful to mobile hardware and software providers, if they are looking to get into the education market to have a lasting impact on teaching and learning, not to just make money.

In a nutshell, the report outlines:

  • Opportunities:
    • Encourage “anywhere, anytime” learning
    • Reach under-served children
    • Improve 21st century social interactions
    • Fit in with learning environments
    • Enable a personalized learning experience
  • Challenges:
    • Negative aspects of mobile learning
    • Cultural norms and attitudes
    • No mobile theory of learning
    • Differentiated access and technology
    • Limiting physical attributes (of mobile technology)
  • Market trends:
    • Extreme convergence
    • Location, location, location
    • Consolidation
    • 21st century button

To see the details for each of these bullet points  and how they tie in with the reports five goals of learning, developing, promoting, preparing, and stimulating, download the report :). Note that the report is written from a U.S. point of view.

It’s also interesting to compare this report with some of the predictions for the mobile industry that have already been made by people like m-trend’s Rudy de Waele (esp. read #s 3, 5, 7, and 9), Frederic Guarino,  mjelly (see #1, e.g.), and MobHappy’s Russell Buckley (see #3). In addition, make sure to take a look at this post by Helen Keegan, who warns us that there is no future of mobile if we keep making mistakes such as focusing on technology rather than people, creating applications and services for advanced users rather than average users, etc. This last post is definitely worth a read, and a lot of what Helen writes is almost directly applicable to education settings.

Speakign of education, there are many who have made predictions for mobile learning in 2009. For a sampling, see Handheld Learning’s Is the 21st Century Here Yet?, or predictions by Ignatiaweb’s Inge de Waard and Learnlets’ Clark Quinn. Interesting stuff….. As for myself, I think that we’ll see an increased use of the web on mobile devices (and not a separate mobile web) to access content and tools for learning in a variety of situations, and less dependency on specialized mobile apps to do the same.

Image Credit: “magic8ball” from lisawilliams’ photostream:
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Carnival of the Mobilists #155

A new year and a new carnival, hosted by Helen Keegan at Musings of a Mobile Marketer.

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Taiwan Trip, Day 6, Tainan, Taichung (Oct. 24, 2008), and Some Final Reflections

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Finally, then, am I finishing my reflections on my trip to Taiwan in October 2008, more than two months after I got back. I hope the wait was worth it ;). For me, the last day of school visits was probably the best of all, although it is difficult to say which school visit was my favorite; they were all that good! On the last day, we visited Chongming Elementary School in Tainan, a school with which I had worked online quite a bit in the APEC Cyber Academy. This school also has a very strong bilingual program, focusing on teaching English, which is one of the reasons why this school does very well in the ACA annual contests.

The visit at Chongming started with the usual welcome by students, accompanied by a display of some great student work:

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This was followed by a few short speeches and the exchanging of gifts. After that, we took a brief tour of the school on the way to the library for a puppet-making workshop. We made lots of new friends here and the event even made the local paper!

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Of course, the most fun part was actually using the puppets in a short play we did outside in a real puppet show!

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Lunch was great, as usual, and students had practiced very hard to explain what all the dishes were made of. There was so much food there, I don’t even think I was able to try one of each!

Our final visit was a brief stop at Taichung Industrial Senior High School, the largest vocational school in Taiwan. While we did see one CAD lab there, I was somewhat surprised to see a lot of classrooms looking like this:

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And that sort of leads me into some final reflections about my trip to Taiwan. After two months I’ve been able to distill the following:

  • The hospitality and generosity of the Taiwanese people is unrivaled, at least in my experiences abroad. We were treated like royalty everywhere we went (and we took lots of group pictures…)
  • Education is extremely important in Taiwan. Lots of money is being invested, teachers are very highly respected, students work hard and seem very motivated to succeed, and local PTAs are strong and very supportive of schools (including financially).
  • I did not see as much educational technology as I thought I would, based on what we worked on in the APEC Cyber Academy. Most computers were located in labs, either for language instruction or typing classes. Not a lot of time and effort seemed to be spent on other things such as Internet research or multimedia. However, I think more of that is coming, and it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for Taiwan.
  • In contrast, a lot of digital technologies are used in Taiwan, especially mobile phones. I saw kids as young as 8 or 9 with their own phones, using them for texting and voice calls. Email and IM are important too. Outside of school, kids seem to spend more time on the Internet than in school. Just like in the US, technology use in school and outside of school still seem pretty disconnected.
  • Kids work very hard and there is a lot of pressure, many kids told us they go to cram school after their regular day is over, and spend a lot of time in extra-curricular activities such as music lessons or sports (swimming, for example). In fact, some of the kids told me that they did all of their ACA projects outside of the normal school day.
  • Taiwan is extremely crowded and congested (seemed to be more so the case than when I visited Shanghai in 2006). There are people and scooters everywhere, as well as advertising (lots of visual overload).

So there you have it, my final post in a series of reflections on an absolutely amazing trip. The ACA Contest is scheduled to be held again in the Fall 2009, and I’m glad I’ll still be a part of it :). And finally, here are some of the people who made it all happen. I cannot thank them enough…

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L to R: Yi Lung, Dr. Chi-Syan Lin, Chung Chi