The "Mobile Learning" Gadget Giveaway!

17 03 2007

In a fortnight, the Mobile Learning blog (right here!) will be turning one year old! To celebrate, I’m giving away some free m-learning gear, and entry is open to anyone in the world (prizes include postage).

Up for grabs are five portable digital MP3/WMA player/recorders, each of which also includes FM radio and file storage (USB memory stick) capability. Using a built-in microphone, they record audio with noise reduction to compressed format, enabling them to hold up to 36 hours of recorded audio, and have a small LCD screen which can display embedded ID3 information (such as artist and track title) and even song lyrics (or the text of podcasts). Battery life is rated at approx. 10 hours of usage on a single AAA battery, and I’m including two batteries with each prize pack to get you started. iPod-style earbuds are also included in the prize pack, as well as a CD of drivers and software to use with your player.

Using a digital audio player exactly like this, you could create and deliver m-learning strategies such as these (jut for starters):

  • record an audio podcast, and make it available via your blog or iTunes
  • record a class or lecture, and make it available to your students via your organisation’s Online Learning System or web site
  • download and listen to a podcast
  • download an audio e-book or convert a CD e-book to mp3 and listen to it while you’re jogging, cooking, or just about anywere
  • tune in to an informatiove FM radio program; you could even record it for later review or for sharing with others who may be interested in the material
  • plug your player into a friend’s computer to give them a copy of any of your audio learning resources
  • copy other files to your player to transport between desktop PCs or to share with other learners
  • capture learner assessment, such as a client interview or an oral quiz, for later review by yourself or the learner

But hey, I won’t get offended or anything if you just want to use it to enjoy your music on the move. 🙂 Entry is open to anyone around the world. But to win one of these players, you’ll have to Get Social:

  1. You’ll need an account in a “social web” (Web 2.0) site such as a blog, wiki, Flickr account, or MySpace page (to mention but a few of the thousands of options!). Only entries created and hosted using a social web site will be considered for a prize
  2. Create an entry or a piece of content that links to your favourite post here in the Mobile Learning Blog, and say why it’s your favourite. There are now over 200 posts here to choose from! I will give extra credit to creative or innovative entries; and to mobile-capable entries (such as podcasts or mobile web pages).
  3. When you’ve finished your entry, add a comment to this competition page with a link or URL to your entry (so I can find it!).

That’s it! Entries close 6th April 2007, and I will choose and announce the winners the following week. Good luck, and have fun getting social! If this competition gets a good response, I’ll post more competitions like this in future.

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The "Mobile Learning” Gadget Giveaway!

17 03 2007

In a fortnight, the Mobile Learning blog (right here!) will be turning one year old! To celebrate, I’m giving away some free m-learning gear, and entry is open to anyone in the world (prizes include postage).

Up for grabs are five portable digital MP3/WMA player/recorders, each of which also includes FM radio and file storage (USB memory stick) capability. Using a built-in microphone, they record audio with noise reduction to compressed format, enabling them to hold up to 36 hours of recorded audio, and have a small LCD screen which can display embedded ID3 information (such as artist and track title) and even song lyrics (or the text of podcasts). Battery life is rated at approx. 10 hours of usage on a single AAA battery, and I’m including two batteries with each prize pack to get you started. iPod-style earbuds are also included in the prize pack, as well as a CD of drivers and software to use with your player.

Using a digital audio player exactly like this, you could create and deliver m-learning strategies such as these (jut for starters):

  • record an audio podcast, and make it available via your blog or iTunes
  • record a class or lecture, and make it available to your students via your organisation’s Online Learning System or web site
  • download and listen to a podcast
  • download an audio e-book or convert a CD e-book to mp3 and listen to it while you’re jogging, cooking, or just about anywere
  • tune in to an informatiove FM radio program; you could even record it for later review or for sharing with others who may be interested in the material
  • plug your player into a friend’s computer to give them a copy of any of your audio learning resources
  • copy other files to your player to transport between desktop PCs or to share with other learners
  • capture learner assessment, such as a client interview or an oral quiz, for later review by yourself or the learner

But hey, I won’t get offended or anything if you just want to use it to enjoy your music on the move. 🙂 Entry is open to anyone around the world. But to win one of these players, you’ll have to Get Social:

  1. You’ll need an account in a “social web” (Web 2.0) site such as a blog, wiki, Flickr account, or MySpace page (to mention but a few of the thousands of options!). Only entries created and hosted using a social web site will be considered for a prize
  2. Create an entry or a piece of content that links to your favourite post here in the Mobile Learning Blog, and say why it’s your favourite. There are now over 200 posts here to choose from! I will give extra credit to creative or innovative entries; and to mobile-capable entries (such as podcasts or mobile web pages).
  3. When you’ve finished your entry, add a comment to this competition page with a link or URL to your entry (so I can find it!).

That’s it! Entries close 6th April 2007, and I will choose and announce the winners the following week. Good luck, and have fun getting social! If this competition gets a good response, I’ll post more competitions like this in future.

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Hands-on with the Xtreme MicroMemo

5 03 2007

From Sue Waters (“Good Sue”) and her friend “Evil” Sue Hickton, a fun and interesting video review of the Xtreme MicroMemo – a plug-in attachment for iPods that allows users to record audio in high quality or low quality modes. The included microphone can be substituted for a better microphone, and the plugin also incorporates an external speaker for instant playback and sharing of audio files. Recorded files are automagically saved to iTunes upon docking the iPod, and can then be edited.

itunes pic

Apparently, the iPod’s battery runs down pretty fast with this external device plugged in, but this is apparently the trade-off of the MicroMemo vs the Belkin TuneTalk (which apparently doesn’t record with comparable quality, but conserves battery power). The Two Sues also debate the convenience and portability of an iPod with plug-in vs. a PDA with a built-in mike.

Great stuff, ladies!

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Exemplary Educational Podcasts

27 02 2007

Grazr LogoTony Vincent at the Learning in Hand blog has incorporated a great new feature into his edublog, called Grazr:

I’ve added a new tool to Learning in Hand. The new Grazr widget appears on some pages. Grazr is a free service for websites that allows visitors to “graze” selected RSS feeds without the hassle of subscribing. This means you can browse and listen to selected podcasts without leaving Learning in Hand. In the event you’d like to subscribe to a podcast you find in Learning in Hand’s Educational podcasts Grazr, you can follow these directions for subscribing with iTunes.

Grazr is a really cool little tool, which allows you to “embed” your blogroll within your blog for browsing (“grazing”).  If you’ve got a blog or website, you could use this tool to provide your students with links to podcasts and feeds to supplement or complement their learning.

Selected Educational Podcasts

Great work Tony! If you know of exemplary podcasts which should be added to Tony’s Grazr, be sure to contact him to let him know.

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Cringeworthy Reporting eclipses Decent Product: Aussie Invented iPods in Education? iPod holds State Library?

22 02 2007

In this video clip (30 October 2006), Geoff Elwood of a company called E-Tech appears to accept the credit for inventing the use of iPods as a learning tool. It seems that his company has been working with a group of year 8 students at Heathmont College since late last year, but has also previously beein involved with this kind of technology overseas.

At 3mins 20secs of this footage, Elwood says “thank you” for being called the “inventor” of this “Australian technology”. It almost sounds like he’s taking credit for inventing the use of iPods in schools – though perhaps he really means to take credit for the Studywiz software created by E-Tech that is behind the Victorian implementation. It’s unlikely that anyone (except perhaps Blackboard) would have the audacity to claim “inventing” iPods in education when there are considerably more mature iPod supported programs at a number of educational institutions around the world. For example, several earlier projects of a similar nature are mentioned on Apple’s own iPods in Education page, such as Duke University, since 2004 – not to mention several years of commentary and use of iPods by other educators.

In another clip reporting the Studywiz project in Victoria, there are some unfortunately misguided thoughts on how iPods will “replace” books, as well as an alarming statement that an iPod could store every book in the Victorian State Library. What… er… including diagrams and illustrations? In 80GB? LOL… technology’s come a long way, but we’re not quite there yet, I’m afraid. 🙂

Hmmm, now that I’ve experienced the misconceptions possible in media reporting first hand, I’m going to be taking those sensational reports about cures for cancer with a bit more salt in future…

Anyway, as much as I’m sceptical of the quality of the reporting done on Studywiz, I did a bit of digging, and the product itself does appear to be gaining considerable uptake throughout Australian schools and internationally – including some national and internationally big names such as Cheltenham College in the UK and Presbyterian Ladies College in Victoria – not to mention my own school, Canberra Grammar.

Now at Version 9, Studywiz is an integrated e-learning and m-learning product, featuring web-accessible “lockers” for each learner’s resources, 3D gallery, team folders, RSS feeds, IMS compatibility, edu-gaming, and communication tools among other things. Sounds like it could be a pretty good platform for collaborative online learning, that integrates with students’ ubiquitous mobile digital devices. While both Online Learning Systems and iPods as educational tools are certainly not ideas originated by E-Tech, it’s good to see an Australian educational software company experiencing local and international success.

(via TerenceOnline

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Bandwagon: Online backup service for your iTunes audio library

22 02 2007

BandwagonIt can happen to even the most tech-savvy of computer users, and be a cause of frustration and expense. Having a computer hard drive fail can mean the loss of all of your music, podcasts, and audio e-books downloaded from iTunes. And once it’s been downloaded, there’s no (legal or non-technical) way to get your purchased music and audio books back – even if you happen to suffer such misfortune.

So from a consumer as well as a mobile learner viewpoint, it can make a lot of sense to have a backup. A new service, Bandwagon, is launching tomorrow, and is hoping to make backing up your iTunes library simple and reliable, by allowing you to back up your library to its online service… as long as you have a Mac running OS 10.4, that is.

As Ewan McIntosh at edu.blogs points out, “it’ll provide that online backup of iTunes that Flickr provides for photos”.

I don’t have the requisite Macintosh computer to be able to use this service, but for anyone out there who does and would like to try this out, Bandwagon are offering free one-year unlimited accounts in return for a trackback to their pre-launch post, and a logo and link to their site. 

If you take up their offer – let me know if it’s any good jumping on the Bandwagon!

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Growing number of students use MP3 players as a study tool

9 02 2007

This Associated Press article provides a good summation and some case studies on the increasingly common use of MP3 players as an educational tool:

“Lindleigh Whetstone wears headphones as she shoves clothes into the washing machine.

Her classmate, Stepheno Zollos, wears them as he shops for groceries. An onlooker might assume the teens are listening to the latest top 40 hit, but they’re really learning Spanish.

Whetstone, 18, and Zollos, 17, are students in Kathy O’Connor’s class at Tidewater Community College in Southeastern Virginia. O’Connor got an $11,000 grant from the school to lend her students iPods so they can practice their Spanish conversations anywhere — not just sitting in front of a computer.”

[Continue reading this article]

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