Monthly Archives: March 2009

Carnival of the Mobilists #167

Hosted by London Calling, this week’s Carnival represents many countries……

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

Carnival of the Mobilists #166

This week’s episode comes to us courtesy of WIP Jam Sessions, who says that “the Carnival is worth waiting for”!! So what are you waiting for?

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

Carnival of the Mobilists #165

Hosted by VisionMobile, this week’s episode contains “a truly diverse amount of topics keeping bloggers busy from App Stores to Net Neutrality and Voice…”

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

Laptops of the World


… is the title of a post on the Good blog. It is a thorough and thought-provoking comparison of the use of digital technology, specifically laptops, in schools in the U.S. (featuring Philadelphia’s School of the Future) and Norway. According to author Daniel Brook

In inner-city Philadelphia, a pilot program is arming its high schoolers with laptops. But in countries like Norway—and increasingly in the developing world—that’s the norm. Why is the United States so behind? And is it worth it to play catch-up?

…while the United States integrates computers on the patchwork, pilot-program model of developing countries like Peru, many of our economic peers—especially in technophilic Scandinavia—are embracing them as universal, an essential part of 21st century education. As an American high school student might ask: What’s up with that?

 He concludes that it all boils down to the fact that:

In the United States, laptops are too often regarded as a silver bullet that can transform an under-performing inner-city school, replacing traditional modes of learning. In Norway, laptops are seen as a necessary add-on to keep students up-to-date in a changing world.

The article raises a lot of important issues, and in my mind, they are more big picture questions than purely digital technology ones:

  • Replicability: the School of the Future is enormously expensive ($62 million plus) for it to be replicated on a large scale. Yet, countries like Norway and Scotland seem to have found ways to integrate technologies in K-12 on relatively large scales. Granted, they are much smaller than the U.S., but they have found a way to do it. Maybe the U.S. can learn a thing or two from them.
  • Attitudes toward education as a whole. Brook’s conclusions speak volumes for the difference in attitude between the U.S. and countries like Norway. It seems like in the U.S., we are constantly looking for the one magic solution that will solve all problems (in schools and beyond).
  • What kids know and can do: According to the article:  “Shortly after observing a class of Norwegian 17-year-olds competing to design the cheapest functional bridge (freeware courtesy of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point), I am back at the School of the Future. Sitting in the Philadelphia math class, it is hard to imagine that these students are the same age as they plot simple inequalities like “-2 < x < 3″ on a number line… Without the requisite background math skills, it’s virtually impossible to do more interesting work like bridge-building. In the Norwegian class, the latest technology allows students to do ever more sophisticated tasks. In Philadelphia, despite the technology, the students lagged far behind grade level.
  • And of course societal problems in general: “As Professor Ketelhut puts it, “It’s frustrating when people think we can find a single thing to ‘fix’ the schools. Maybe their home is condemned and they’re living in a car. The School of the Future is not going to change that student’s life. Six hours a day isn’t going to fix what happens the other 18 hours of the day. We can’t give every kid a laptop like that’s going to change everything.”

Interesting article, definitely worth a read. Of course, the solutions to these problems aren’t easy ones, and I’m not sure how fair and equitable the comparison between the US and Norway is, given the differences between the two countries. However, it is worth looking at the differences in mindsets, and to take a look at what is working in Norway and why. And as a final thought: it’s not necessarily the type of technology that’s at stake here.

Image Credit: “Globe post card sample 2”, from Mishel Churkin’s photostream:

Google to Offer Free Phone Service


Google announced its new service, Google Voice, on Thursday. According to the New York Times:

Google stepped up its attack on the telecommunications industry on Thursday with a free service called Google Voice that, if successful, could chip away at the revenue of companies big and small, like eBay, which owns Skype, telephone companies and a string of technology start-up firms.

Kim Peterson (MSN Money) wrote an interesting piecesummarizing what others have already said about the service, which will come with a lot of features. Whether it will be able to successfully compete with the Internet calling giant Skype remains to be seen. I’m interested in seeing how the voice and Internet-based components of this service will interact and interface with each other. What I like about this service is that it is “platform” agnostic, i.e. calls can be routed to any kind of phone. And, this is just another reason to get rid of your landline.

However, the service does of course raise some potential issues that need to be explored, mostly having to do with your privacy (or increased lack thereof). According to the NYT:

Google Voice may raise more hackles with privacy advocates, and perhaps regulators, than it does with competitors. The service would allow Google, which already collects vast amounts of data about the behavior of Internet users, to gather information on their calling habits.

“It raises two distinct problems,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “In the privacy world, it is increased profiling and tracking of users without safeguards. But the other problem is the growing consolidation of Internet-based services around one dominant company.”

The Informer has another interesting take on a Google-controlled world

Image Credit: Google,

Carnival of the Mobilists #164


It’s Monday, and time for another issue of the Carnival of the Mobilists. It’s an honor for me to be able to host the Carnival, and for the third time already. While the economy is hitting on some lean times, the same can not be said for the amount of submissions to the carnival this week. Thanks to everyone for some great contributions this week on a wide variety of topics. And off we go….

Mobile Applications and Development

Lots of interesting news in the area of mobile applications and development this week. Jamie Wells at Mobilestance wrote an interesting post about Google’s development of the Android OS, and wonders if Google is really commited to native app development or whether it will move its apps into the cloud once web app performance is more up to snuff. Tom Deryckere shares his visions for making Drupal a mobile CMS system. James at mjelly took the UCweb mobile browser for a test drive . Take a look at James’ post to read his review and download the browser for yourself.


Mobile Communication

We use our mobiles to communicate in lots of different ways, but Tsahi Levent-Levi at Radvision argues that mobile VoIP apps are “not really made to stick“; hop on over to his blog to find out why. On the other hand, Toni Ahonen posted a long and well-thought-through anwer to the question: 3 billion use SMS, what does that mean? In addition, Andrew Grill over at London Calling discusses a “Eureka moment with twitter + mobile + search that should be worrying the heck out of Google”.

Mobile Content

Besides communicating, we use our mobiles to access all kinds of content. Aaron Chua from Wild Illusions makes the case for the mobile ebook market picking up pace. However, Judy Breck questions whether we need to duplicate information that is already available online into packaged content for one app or another. Interesting juxtaposition…


Mobile Marketing

Some of the content comes to us in the form of advertisements. Matt Radford at discusses that advertising on mobile phones is most effective when you get consumers “to want to install it themselves”, by focusing on two movie tie-in iPhone apps that don’t need connectivity to deliver their message. And, once you’ve come up with that brilliant marketing strategy, Russell Buckley at mobhappy reveals 10 secrets to winning advertising awards.

Mobile Statistics

Of course, to be a successful advertiser you need access to demographics and statistics. Chetan Sharma’s wireless data market update is a comprehensive update of said market in 2008, focusing on the 4th quarter, while Andreas Constantinou looks at 8 Megatrends that are shaping the mobile industry in 2009. Volker Hirsch also chimes in with a post entitled Recession? Where?” Asks the Smartphone… “. There’s lots to be gained from these three posts, but even so, Barbara Ballard cautions us to be careful with your statistics, as published reports on mobile use leave her with more questions than answers.

Post of the Week

A difficult decision this week, but the honor of best post goes to Andrew Grill at London Calling, with Toni Ahonen’s coming in a close second. Congratulations to both on some insightful writing!

Next week’s Carnival of the Mobilists will be hosted at VisionMobile. Keep up the great writing and don’t forget to submit your posts for next week to As always, both new and seasoned writers are welcome to contribute 🙂


Image Credits: various pictures called Carnaval Weert 2009 from FaceMePls photostream:

Apple Exclusive Event for HHL members

Apple have contacted the Handheld Learning Community to offer members an exclusive opportunity to attend a free event they are hosting in London on March 12th. Here are the details:

The Rise of Mobility in Education

This event looks at the opportunity mobile IT devices give Educators to implement a stimulating 21st Century Learning infrastructure across their institution. More and more students are coming to school with mobile devices like iPod touches and iPhones. These devices provide easy, inexpensive access to virtually any Internet medium and augment notebook computers in exciting ways.

  • How can you use these devices for constructive purposes in the classroom?
  • How do they fit into an existing digital learning environment with notebook computers?

In this session, attendees will explore the models used to deploy mobile devices in the classroom. The briefing will be led by Gordon Shukwit, the Director of IT and Learning technologies group for Apple Worldwide Education markets. His team works globally with education institutions, government agencies and International schools as they define new learning environments. The event is aimed at Headteachers, ICT Leaders and Advisors from Schools and FE Colleges.

Date: 12th March 2009
Venue: EBC London
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm or 14:00 to 16:00

Attendance via registration only at

See also the thread on the HHL forum.