Monthly Archives: July 2009

Pew Report on Wireless Internet Use

Here are some interesting findings on wireless Internet use, just published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project (my emphasis added):

An April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows that 56% of adult Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means, such as using a laptop, mobile device, game console, or MP3 player. The most prevalent way people get online using a wireless network is with a laptop computer; 39% of adults have done this.

The report also finds rising levels of Americans using the internet on a mobile handset. One-third of Americans (32%) have used a cell phone or Smartphone to access the internet for emailing, instant-messaging, or information-seeking. This level of mobile internet is up by one-third since December 2007, when 24% of Americans had ever used the internet on a mobile device. On the typical day, nearly one-fifth (19%) of Americans use the internet on a mobile device, up substantially from the 11% level recorded in December 2007. That’s a growth of 73% in the 16 month interval between surveys.

The report summary highlights the following:

  • 56% of all Americans have accessed the internet by wireless means.
  • Use of the internet on mobile devices has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
  • African Americans are the most active users of the mobile internet – and their use of it is also growing the fastest. This means the digital divide between African Americans and white Americans diminishes when mobile use is taken into account.
  • Broader measures of use of mobile digital resources also show fast growth from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009.
  • Other access devices – iPods, game consoles, or e-books – for now play a small role in people’s wireless online habits.
  • When mobile users are away from home or the office, they like mobile access to stay in touch with others, but also to access information on the go.

So what should we make of this?? Given the current trends in mobile, these outcomes are not that surprising; the third one is an interesting one.  With regards to device use, Pew mentions laptops but not netbooks, unless that’s what they mean by e-books. It is also strange to still see them using the word “handheld” which seems very out of place and obsolete in the report. The last finding shows that technology users tend to work across a variety of devices, which reminds me of some of the work we’ve done in ubiquitous computing. And of course it goes to show the power of mobile when we’re, well, mobile.

If only education would take heed just a little more……

Carnival of the Mobilists #183


A somewhat short Carnival can be found this week at TamsIJungle.

To contribute to the Carnival, and you should!!, send your entries to

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Carnival of the Mobilists #182


The first mobile-hosted Carnival is #182 where a new member of our carnival hosting team Antoine RJ Wright spins a tale about a tent full of mobile expert bloggers and points us to their posts. Tiny url:

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

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An Update on NECC 2009: SIGML Forum (We Found Kilroy!)


Ran across this posting on the Ning group by Helen Crompton this morning, who was one of our volunteers at the SIGML forum at NECC in DC:

I have been asked to explain more about the NECC WWII session. For the session we had to have phone with internet connection. The session began with a quick history of the WWII memorial the design and some opposition incountered towards the memorial. As a quick overview we were then given a leaflet that told us to go to certain parts of the memorial, when we reached those parts we looked at our leaflet, read the short information there, then used the program Scanlife on our phones to scan the code for that section in our leaflets. The code took us to a web page or a sound file etc. giving us more details about that part of the monument.
While we were doing this there were a group of students being lectured to by a tour guide and they were more interested in what we were doing with the phones.
We have iTouches in school and I could download the app, they could then connect to the local wifi. I could use this to send the students off on a tour in the classroom getting them to work through problems on many subjects. If they went on a tour to the museum I could plan beforehand, they could find the artifacts and after scanning they could find out further information, or even listen to me as I tell them that they need to pay particular attention to.
I could go on forever with tasks I can set with this tool. Even young children could use this tool and it could connect to sound files.

I was especially pleased that she wrote the sentence I highlighted above. Goes to show what the power of mobile devices for students is these days. Thanks Helen!!!

Carnival of the Mobilists #181


Hosted by Andrew Grill at London Calling, this week’s review of the best mobile blogging comes to you from a city that has just hosted one of the world’s most famous sporting carnivals, the Wimbledon Championships.

To contribute to the Carnival, send your entries to

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Handheld Learning 2009 Deadlines

Dear Colleague

This newsletter is to remind you about some important deadlines that are fast approaching for this years Handheld Learning Conference – the #1 event for innovation in learning assisted by mobile computing technologies from smart phones to netbooks and the technologies already embedded in the lives of learners.

  • Early bird registration, free iPod touch & save £100* >>>
  • Handheld Learning Awards for Innovation >>>
  • Learners Y Factor >>>

*conditions apply

Early Bird Registration before July 31st

Register by July 31st for £325, save £100 and receive a free iPod touch!

We have just 750 seats for the main conference this year, more than half of these places have already been taken. Please book now to avoid disappointment.

For international delegates we also recommend early booking of flights through our official airline carrier, Virgin Atlantic, who are providing at least 5% discount off lowest published fares.

Register here

Conference programme here.

Confirmed speakers here


Nomination deadline: July 10th

One of the best award parties of last year with a refreshing, benchmark setting, approach to identifying and celebrating innovation amongst international practitioners and organisations.

See photo’s from last years Awards here

Without commercial or agency bias, anybody is free to nominate themselves or those individuals or organisations who they believe have innovated to improve learning, teaching or training using mobile computing technologies. A panel of independent judges produce a shortlist of finalists from these nominations, then the winners are decided by public vote using non-premium rate SMS.

Winners are announced at a free to attend party for 600 people on Monday 5th October.

This is your opportunity to celebrate your colleagues and the fast paced innovation happening in this area.

Please nominate here


Submission deadline: July 10th

A very successful part of our free Handheld Learning Festival day where 5 teams or individuals aged 6-16 are selected to present their innovative learning techniques or projects to an audience of up to 100 delegates and a panel of friendly judges.

See photo’s from last years Y Factor here

A terrific way of involving learners in the conference whilst providing the opportunity to share some of their experiences and knowledge of the technologies that are already embedded in their everyday lives. All participants receive gifts with the winning presentation being given the opportunity to present to the main conference the following day.

If you know of young learners that are doing something wonderfully new and innovative then please encourage them to make a submission and get involved, it is entirely free and great fun.

Make your submission here

Thank you for reading. Please help us spread the news about this event by forwarding this email to your colleagues and do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.

Register now and see you October!

The Handheld Learning Team (meet us)
The Advisory Group (meet us)

brought to you by Learning Without Frontiers

NECC 2009: Hall Davidson on Mobile Phones


From Banned to Planned: Cell Phones in Schools” is the title of Hal Davidson’s spotlight session this year (session materials are here). I figured I’d go see him again this year as I really enjoyed his talk at NECC 2008 in San Antonio. The room seemed emptier than last year, which seems a little odd, as there has been a lot of talk about mobile phones and mobile learning at NECC this year (however, more people did enter during the session, which was quite entertaining).

Hall compared NECC 2008  and 2009, 2 cell phone sessions as compared to 13 this year!!

Hall Davidson first mentioned polleverywhere and Liz Kolb’s book on cellphones. He then proceeded to give Liz a call, and talked with her about Hall asked Liz about her favorite site and she mentioned and how some teachers she knows use the tool. Lots of shameless plugs here, but some useful resources as well…

Rethink, return, rename: Why are we still calling our mobile phones cell phones? In Korea and other parts of Asia the device is called a hand phone (hence many of the advertisements there show a hand holding a phone). In Japan it’s called a “keitai”: a device that’s with you all the time: “snug and intimate technosocial tethering .. a mundane presence in everyday life” (quote from the Personal, Portable, Pedestrian book).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is covered by mobile phones, according to Davidson (ironic but true):

  • basic physiological needs: order pizza
  • safety and security: anti-bullying friend
  • belonging: texting, networking
  • esteem:
  • self-actualization: turn your phone off

Mobile: It’s America: free speech, freedom of the press, right to assemble (mob!!), petition the government. As compared for example to how these freedoms are currently being stifled in Iran, following its presidential election.

So what name should we give a mobile phone? Telepotent? Telemundo? Some answers that are given via polleverywhere are communicator, telemanager, infophone, …..

Challenge-based learning: finding answers to questions, basically… (not sure how this is so different from problem-based or inquiry-based learning, other than that you could potentially get your answers quicker).

The new student skills: national texting competition: texting the alphabet backwards, texting the Gettysburg Address while being distracted, text and dodge. The point is: students like their phones.

Shows qik and how you can embed it in Google Earth, pretty cool stuff…

Notion that a cell phone is different: it’s an input, output, and analysis device.

Shows Shazam, the music recognition software.

Shows QR codes! Example: CAOS Living Book, a book of QR codes that’s constantly updated, because the data behind the QR codes is updated. I wonder if he knows about the SIGML forum from yesterday.

Using QR codes for assignments is a possibility, and Hall also showed an example of codes that will then show 3d images on a computer screen.

Amazon has acquired an image recognition technology company. Hall described a scenario where you could take a picture with your phone of a pair of shoes somebody has, and Amazon can then hook you up with the same pair.

Called Vicki Davis who was presenting in another session. She didn’t pick up, but Hall had one of her videos that shows how you can determine mobile phone technologies for classroom use. CPA: cost per assignment use.

Joe Fatheree (at the session): talked about how he started using mobile phones in his classroom, when he found out how a kid one day shot a video using just his mobile phone.

Need to create a pathway to success:

  • brainstorm how to use phones with kids (link to standards) -> action plan
  • work with administrator next to find a way to make this work
  • communicate with parents: letter and parent survey (find out what phone plans they have)

Location-based teachable moments in student lives. Text a writing prompt as an assignment.

All in all another entertaining session and a great way to wrap up NECC this year, well almost.

Image Credit: Rob Pettit: