RemTech have announced an innovative new product aimed squarely at supporting mobile learning activities – with particular attention to support for socially constructivist/connectivist pedagogical approaches.
The S-XGen (which is unfortunately mis-labelled a UMPC on its product page when it’s really a PDA) includes a big 20GB hard drive, an integrated fold-out QWERTY keyboard, and wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11b), and GSM/GPRS telephony. Education essentials such as audio recording and an integrated camera are there (albeit at a lowly 1.3 megapixels), and a big 8-hour battery (though this estimate probably doesn’t include continuous wireless use).
All of this functionality makes the S-XGen a bit on the bulky side. It also strikes me as a little strange that the device includes a 10/100 CAT-5 Ethernet port, but apparently only supports the slower 802.11b wireless specification rather than the faster 802.11g specification – particularly when it’s touted as including 4-way video teleconferencing capability.
Even so, if this video conferencing capability is up to scratch, it’s one aspect of this device that seems to strive for good support for social and connected educational activities, which are widely upheld by educators as vital to the learning process and the “construction” of knowledge.
The other new feature that supports this social, connected learning is the device’s apparent support for encrypted, peer-to-peer connectivity (specified on this page which contains more information and commentary). Having the ability to easily share resources and ideas between handheld devices using a wireless peer-to-peer approach would be a big winner for a mobile learning device, as this could facilitate better communication, social interaction and knowledge sharing.
It’s got pros and cons, to be sure; but if you’re considering a set of mobile learning devices, this one is certainly worth a look into.