Augmented reality m-learning concept

30 11 2006

Who do I go and see if I’ve got an idea for a mobile device? 🙂

Bringing together the ideas of augmented reality, wearable technology, and mobile learning, here’s a concept for an m-learning device that allows the learner to “see” and interact with learning opportunities and activities in real-time and in their immediate physical context, thanks to a curved, flexible, transparent, wearable LCD screen that can be stowed over-the-head when not in use.

The outside of the visor is a touch screen, enabling direct interaction with the visor without removing it or having to blindly grope for buttons on one’s ears. Using image recognition as well as a built-in camera, GPS and compass, the unit can determine appropriate learning materials, according to the user’s preferences.

Update: Textually.org recently referred to an article from The Economist, with some similar predictions for the future, including an eerily similar vision of where mobile technology, augmented reality, and wearable technology could intersect:

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Mobile phone convergence (humour)

30 11 2006

If you’re running a mobile learning workshop, it’s always good to find a related funny to engage your audience. 

What with the increasing number of features being packed into mobile phones, this is the video funny that had to happen. This video is in Dutch, but you’ll still get a good laugh at what the future might hold for mobile technology, featuring the Sumsing Turbo Xi Multitask cellphone – it slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries…

(via Gizmodo)

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iTube: Get YouTube videos for your iPod/PDA

29 11 2006

https://i1.wp.com/www.informativos.telecinco.es/imgsed/ipod_video.jpgThere’s lots of really great YouTube videos specifically created with instructional delivery in mind; and an even greater number of other YouTube videos that can be used to stimulate discussion or debate, provide expert opinions on various issues, or simply engage learners.

However, YouTube videos are encoded in the highly efficient, but poorly cross-platform-compatible, Flash Video (FLV) video container. Even if you manage to download a YouTube video, you need a special FLV player to play it, or you need to manually convert it to another codec to play it in standard computer-based or portable media players.

Now there’s a better way to access YouTube videos for teaching and learning, to deliver them via computer or mobile digital devices. iTube runs on your PC to automatically download and convert YouTube videos to MPEG format, which can play on all PCs, and/or MP4 format, which plays on iPods (and many mobile phones). It’s 100% free and contains no spyware or adware. The free version only works with YouTube, but there are also plugins available for other major video download sites, including Blip.tv, Google Video, and MySpace.

(via HotMilkyDrink)

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Japanese food data: a model for m-learning?

29 11 2006

In Japan, 2D barcodes are used to provide consumer information for a range of food products, allowing consumers to make informed choices. But could this model of tagging products with digital “links” also be used to enable both informal, lifelong, situated learning, as well as enhanced safety and first-aid practices in the future?

More and more people outside of Japan are catching on to the concept of encoding information that can be read by ordinary cellphones. Microsoft have only recently implemented a beta version of such a system with Windows Live Barcode; but in Japan, over 30 million people already use their mobile phones to digitally retrieve information from advertising, media, and food packaging, using QR Codes (as illustrated below).

qrcodes.jpg

Hank Green at the Treehugger blog notes the kind of information consumers might want to know about the food they’re buying, to enable them to make informed choices:

We need to tell where it came from, what it contains, the labor conditions of it’s harvest, how it’s going to taste, if it’s good for us, and whether we’re getting a good deal.

Hank further notes that the use of QR Codes to provide consumer information is common practice in Japan:

Almost all cell phones sold in Japan today contain QR code readers, and the Japanese Food Safety commission has already begun to notice preferential purchase of locally grown foods due to the QR tags. It turns out that knowing more about food actually results in buyers making better decisions…who’d have guessed!? Now I guess we’re just going to have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up.

Here’s an example of some sandwiches labelled with QR Codes – as a consumer, you would be able to find out everything you need to know about them with an ordinary cameraphone, loaded with reader software:

Encoded product information like this could provide a model for creating informal, lifelong, ubiquitous, situated mobile learning. Although QR Codes can store over 4,000 alpha-numeric characters within a single barcode, information could also be accessed via a QR Code containing a URL – launching a product web page for any product that provides details of what it is, what it does, or what it’s made of. The model need not be retricted to food items – potentially, clothing (manufacture & care instructions), tools (model & safety data), or chemicals (materials safety data sheets), for example, could benefit from this approach.

A student or worker who needed information on a particular chemical or tool would be able to access the information when and where they needed it. Since many first aid situations, for example, occur inconveniently far from an internet-connected computer, accessing materials safety data anywhere would be an enormous advantage, that could help save lives, as well as provide learning opportunities.

In a completely different industry, QR Code links on garment care instructions could enable students, trainees or workers in fashion or retail industries develop their knowledge of garment manufacturing processes and materials. Consumers would also have more ability to make informed decisions about locally or ethically manufactured products, to enable them to make better choices.

I think it’s going to be several years before we might start seeing products labelled with digital “links” to more information in this way; much depends on mobile telecommunications manufacturers and/or providers seeing the potential of these technologies to provide a useful data service for their users, and incorporating 2D barcodes into mobile handsets at point-of-sale (or manufacture), to remove the need for users to locate and install their own software.

However, with widespread use and obvious success in Japan, I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before the technology becomes readily available in other parts of the world, triggering a global surge in user-centric mobile data use.

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US m-learning industry worth US$460 million and growing…

29 11 2006

According to this press release, the US mobile learning sector was worth US$460 million in 2006, and is growing at a rate of 27.2% p.a. It is expected to have a value of US$1.5 billion by 2011.

MobileLearningAmbientInsight.jpgThere are now waves of new products hitting the market including language learning, test prep, training podcasts, personal learning tools, location-based services, device-embedded reference, wireless decision support, and handheld continuing education content.

“Unlike elearning which is dominated by corporate buyers, Mobile Learning is being driven by consumer, government, and healthcare buyers,” said Sam Adkins, chief research officer.

The press release links to an executive summary of the research report, which provides the following key findings:

 The largest revenue opportunity for suppliers throughout the forecast period is the demand for Mobile Learning packaged content. The second largest revenue opportunity for suppliers is the demand for content development services and content conversion services.

The largest buyers will be the local, state, and federal governments followed by consumers. The single largest vertical demand is in the healthcare industry. There are several major growth factors driving the US Mobile Learning market:

  • Content developers and publishers are aggressively converting legacy content and developing new rich multimedia Mobile Learning content
  • The rapid evolution of powerful convergent and connected wireless handheld devices with mobile Web browsers
  • The availability of advanced mobile operating systems, robust mobile application software, and rich client interfaces
  • User interface technology that overcomes the limitations of the small device footprint of most handheld devices
  • The aggressive continuation of the rollout of third-generation (3G) cellular networks in the US that began in 2005
  • The rollout of fixed wireless broadband (such as WiMAX) in 2006-2007

The amount of mobile content on the market is growing exponentially. There are now waves of mobile content hitting the market including music, radio, TV, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, mobile Web sites, social networking sites, mobile blogs, movies, phonecasting and video conferencing, news, search, advertising, and rich interactive games. Mobile Learning content is one of the products arriving on these waves.

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US m-learning industry worth US$460 million and growing…

29 11 2006

According to this press release, the US mobile learning sector was worth US$460 million in 2006, and is growing at a rate of 27.2% p.a. It is expected to have a value of US$1.5 billion by 2011.

MobileLearningAmbientInsight.jpgThere are now waves of new products hitting the market including language learning, test prep, training podcasts, personal learning tools, location-based services, device-embedded reference, wireless decision support, and handheld continuing education content.

“Unlike elearning which is dominated by corporate buyers, Mobile Learning is being driven by consumer, government, and healthcare buyers,” said Sam Adkins, chief research officer.

The press release links to an executive summary of the research report, which provides the following key findings:

 The largest revenue opportunity for suppliers throughout the forecast period is the demand for Mobile Learning packaged content. The second largest revenue opportunity for suppliers is the demand for content development services and content conversion services.

The largest buyers will be the local, state, and federal governments followed by consumers. The single largest vertical demand is in the healthcare industry. There are several major growth factors driving the US Mobile Learning market:

  • Content developers and publishers are aggressively converting legacy content and developing new rich multimedia Mobile Learning content
  • The rapid evolution of powerful convergent and connected wireless handheld devices with mobile Web browsers
  • The availability of advanced mobile operating systems, robust mobile application software, and rich client interfaces
  • User interface technology that overcomes the limitations of the small device footprint of most handheld devices
  • The aggressive continuation of the rollout of third-generation (3G) cellular networks in the US that began in 2005
  • The rollout of fixed wireless broadband (such as WiMAX) in 2006-2007

The amount of mobile content on the market is growing exponentially. There are now waves of mobile content hitting the market including music, radio, TV, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, mobile Web sites, social networking sites, mobile blogs, movies, phonecasting and video conferencing, news, search, advertising, and rich interactive games. Mobile Learning content is one of the products arriving on these waves.

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Mobile Learning Reexamined

28 11 2006

Following on from Steve Dembo’s presentation on redefining mobile learning (previously blogged here, and also blogged by Tony Vincent), some excellent and insightful commentary has been posted, over at the Ubiquitous Thoughts blog. It looks at some of the obstacles any “redefined” model of mobile learning must still overcome (access, compatibility, privacy/security), and also succinctly summarises some of the writings of Mike Sharples, one of the best-known researchers in the mobile learning space. It includes this summary of Mike’s reflections on the MOBIlearn project:

  • It is the learner that is mobile, rather than the technology (meaning that we should be looking at more than just devices that were meant to be truly mobile);
  • Learning is interwoven with other activities as part of everyday life (i.e. learning takes place in locations other than school);
  • Learning can generate as well as satisfy goals;
  • Control and management of learning can be distributed (i.e. less teacher control, more learner control);
  • Context is constructed by learners through interaction (i.e. the need for noise, movement, group work and no more 6×5 grid and just individual seat work);
  • Mobile learning can both complement and conflict with formal education
    (this is a tricky one, and not really discussed by Dembo. In an ideal world we would want it to complement, although a certain degree of conflict may not be bad either);
  • Mobile learning raises deep ethical issues of privacy and ownership (again related to issues of control over learning. Should it just be up to the educational institutions what and how we learn?).

Anyway, as Mark points out, we need to redefine mobile learning, and Steve’s presentation is “one good place to start”. Mark’s commentary is certainly a good place to continue.

Update: further commentary on Mark’s post has been blogged by Marg at the Ed-Design Blog.

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