Trying out Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for M-Learning

7 08 2007

Global Positioning Systems, or GPS, provide a means of determining a person’s location and altitude on earth to within a metre or so. They are commonly used in car navigation systems to allow the driver to receive instructions to a location, but they have other applications which are being pursued by other mobile device manufacturers such as camera makers (to enable photos to be tagged with location data about where the image was taken) and mobile phone manufactuers.

Nokia, in particular, has recently invested millions of dollars in GPS research as well as buying a number of companies associated with GPS technologies, and have started introducing GPS as a built-in feature in some of their handsets.

I recently acquired a Nokia 6110 Navigator – a slim slider phone with a large screen and built-in 2 megapixel digital camera – for free, when I renewed my A$49-a-month Optus contract, and having now used it for a month or so, it’s probably the best phone I’ve owned for years. This handset features a built-in GPS receiver, which allows me to get free voice directions when I’m driving, cycling, or walking around, as well as a full visual map display. It’s as good as many dedicated in-car GPS systems I’ve played with.

Nokia 6110 Navigator (slide open)___Nokia 6110 Navigator

Because the GPS is built on the Symbian Operating System used in most Nokias, the GPS can also be extended to work with third-party applications… and this is where it starts to get interesting for m-learning. Applications can be developed for this phone which utilise the GPS system for recording location data.

One application I’ve played with is Sports Tracker, a free application from Nokia Research Labs. This allows me to record my workouts – walking, cycling, skiing or jogging, for example – and analyse the data later. The application also displays real-time performance graphs, such as my speed at various points in the route, in both numerical and graphical form. This requires surprisingly little memory to accomplish; a 1-hour session takes only 45kB of data to record on my phone.

SportsTracker___Tracking my journey

An application like this would be immediately useful for learners in any field where analysing location, speed, or altitude over time would be useful; those involved in the Sports/Fitness industries, aviation, or delivery services, for example.

What makes the application even more useful, however, is that the data can be exported in various formats, including the industry-standard GPX format. This means that I can use the GPS data to accurately determine exactly where media I create has been created. For example, using the free progam GPicSync, from Google, I can determine the locations of my photos along my route, and view the context of the images using Google Earth‘s 2D and 3D views, which allow panning, zooming, and rotation.

This application makes GPS useful for many other areas of learning, including sciences such as forestry, botany, zoology, biology, environmental science and forensics; as well as some you might not immediately think of such as marketing and advertising (taking pictures of advertisements and their locations), architecture, and logistics.

2D view in Google Earth, showing my walking route and the locations of the photos I took. Other data can be superimposed such as roads, points of interest, and other locations in Google Earth:

2D view in Google Earth

3D view in Google Earth. 3D is activated using the controls visible in the top right corner of this image. You can pan, zoom, and rotate the image to see “around” 3D objects.

3D view in Google Earth___View can be Rotated and Zoomed

If a number of photos are taken in one location (or close to each other) they can overlap; Google Earth “splits” these when you click on the overlapping icons to make selecting the phto you’re interested in easy:

Handling of Overlapping Photo Icons

Clicking on a photo icon brings up a view of the photo taken at a location:

Viewing images in Google Earth

Update: You can now download a demo of a Google Earth KML file with GPS-tagged photos in my file-sharing box in the right margin: the file is called “Mogo Zoo Google Earth Demo.zip”

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Paper Blogging – more ideas!

30 04 2007

Sue Rockwood at the “No Matter, There” blog has had a go at the paper blogging activity, adding her own ideas to the activity such as a “blog board” which makes for a colourful and interactive display.  Her own insights into why paper-based simulations serve as a useful tool in demonstrating and explaining technology concepts, and her own ideas (e.g. for a paper-based “safe chat” simulation), are worth reading, and it’s great to hear her feedback on how the activity went for her classes.

Great stuff, Sue!  If anyone else is interested in having a go at a paper based simulation of social software, you might like to read Sue’s posts for some great ideas.

(Image: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Sue Rockwood, some rights reserved)

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Mobile Learning Redefined

26 11 2006

Steve Dembo, author of tech42.com has posted up a super video presentation entitled “Mobile Learning Redefined“. His “redefinition” centres around using the technology already in the pockets of students, rather than the introduction of “new” technologies. He covers a number of approaches already covered in this blog (such as 2D Barcodes, mobile web site tools, and moblogging), but also brings up a few new ideas worth exploring, such as:

  • QuizFaberQuizFaber creates multiple-choice quizzes for the mobile web
  • Flickr – features a mobile version of Flickr.
  • Mobilicio.usMobilicio.us allows you to remotely access your bookmarks, and Del.icio.us mona allows you to remotely save bookmarks
  • Remote PodcastingGcast.com allows you to call a phone number to leave a message, which is instantly published as a podcast.

Check out the video here (warning: large file, 43MB).

“Mobile Learning Redefined”

(via Learning in Hand)

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Learner-Centric Design of Digital Mobile Learning

27 09 2006

Learner Centric Design of Digital Mobile Learning,” [doc] [pdf] (which I co-authored with my colleague Margaret O’Connell), received the Best Paper Award at Queensland University of Technology’s “Learning on the Move” conference which I attended yesterday (despite a raging flu!).

This paper provides a model for digital mobile learning approaches that are underpinned by sound educational design, developed using a learner-centric activity model of mobile learning, and implemented through best-practice considerations that are informed by our experience of delivering computer-based learning.

Many thanks to my co-author Margaret for her educational design expertise; our peer reviewers, for helping us polish the paper, and the conference organisers, for putting together a fantastic event and recognising our paper amongst so many excellent contributions.

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Language practice using mobile phones

1 09 2006

Ewan McIntosh highlights a post by Lynne from Tobermoryhs, where she relates

“how her students have been practicing French speaking skills on their mobile phones, including a great game – how long can you spend speaking on the phone… in the foreign language”.

Her students have also been recording their conversations using mp3 players as well as the mobile phones.

In another post, Lynne bemoans how every single mobile device seems to require a different charger.  Quite right, Lynne… how much more mobile we’d be if not for all the various cables and peripherals we need to keep the device all happily powered!

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Four R's Model and Mobile Learning Activities

11 08 2006

Repost of posting to EdNa forums, with other commentary here. A summary of previous theorisings on this model, here and here, supplemented with diagrams.

We can classify mobile learning activities using an activity-based model of the “Four R’s of Mobile Learning”.

In a reflection of the “Three R’s” of the essential pre-Net Generation skills (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), the “Four R’s” of Net Generation learning reflect the current sociocultural shifts in thinking and learning for an increasingly mobile twenty-first century. Defined from a learner-centric viewpoint, these are:

Record : The learner as a gatherer and “builder” of new knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to capture, preserve, memorise, note, or create information.
  • The information recorded may be in response to a prompt from the portable device itself; or in response to a stimulus from a situated learning environment or their teacher.
  • The information may be recorded to the portable device itself; or the portable device could serve as a conduit for storing the information remotely.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • The learner may use the portable device to discover, process or enhance existing data so that it is transformed into new information, or “remixed” to enhance learning. In these conditions, the mobile device enhances or supplements the learner’s own senses or processing abilities.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • The learner may use a portable device to recall information, events, experiences or stories, stored on the portable device (e.g. iPod recording), or by using the device to access information remotely (e.g.on the internet).
  • Underpinned by a Connectivist/Instructionist theory of learning

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to communicate with other people; for example, with other learners, or with a teacher (i.e. in a learning relationship).
  • The learner can use the device to communicate directly and synchronously (e.g. mobile phone conversation), or access asynchronous communication services (e.g. web discussion board or weblog).
  • They can also recommend and share resources, for example, linking mobile devices (usually wirelessly) and sending a file from one to the other.
  • Communicative and collaborative: underpinned by a Social Constructivist theory of learning

Related activities include Mobile Assessment (self, formative and summative assessment), and Teaching and Learning Support (tools to help teachers and learners, such as mobile gradebooks, rollbooks, etc.)

Mobile Learning Ideas

Record : The learner as a gatherer and builder of new knowledge

  • Moblogging: (Remote Record) using a mobile device to record audio, video, or (most commonly) images and save them to the web in a reverse-chronological format with text annotations.
  • Database/Form Entry: (Local Record) inputting data into a mobile device that can later be reviewed or assessed. Example applications include:
    • Dance moves database demonstration – uses XSForms by Grandasoft (freeware)
    • Recipe database
    • List of vocabulary/glossary
    • Database of procedures
    • Generally done on a PDA
  • Recording media: learners can record audio and video to devices like mobile phones, audio players, and PDAs. Example applications include:
    • Recording a class or lecture for later review as an mp3 file NoteM demonstration
    • Recording a mock “interview” or interaction for review or assessment
    • Recording a video (e.g. “Changing a Tyre”)
    • Done on PDA, Phone, audio device, digital camera
  • Journal Using Calendar: If an online blog is not appropriate, Outlook Calendar can be used to diarise and record events, class notes, assessment deadlines, and more.
    • Why? Because this is what PDAs were originally designed for, they perform these functions well.
    • May also be possible (though less convenient) on some mobile phones.
  • Freehand Drawing: Ability to quickly sketch drawings, diagrams, and jot notes could be useful on PDAs. MobilePencil is a good product for this.

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • Accessing a local Learning Object: I’m using a very broad definition of “Learning Object” – includes learning video or audio file, a learning interaction such as a Flash activity, even a document. Some examples:
  • Accessing a remote Learning Object: as above,
    but not stored on the mobile device itself, but at another location in
    “cyberspace” – a network server, a PC, or the Internet.
  • Accessing an RSS feed: what’s awesome about mobile RSS aggregators is that they allow “real time” updates of information to a mobile device.
  • Mobile Web Search: Google mobile is an example – provides mobile web search from a connected mobile phone or PDA
  • SMS-based information service: these require a bit of preparation. A service is set up by a commercial provider that enables a student to send a text to a number, which then returns some information. For example:
    • a student sends an SMS with the word “impasto” to 131234
      (example only). They then receive a dictionary definition of the term
      back via SMS.

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • Ad-hoc networking: Programs such as “Proximity Mail” enable PDAs within Bluetooth range (approx 10 metres) to form an ad-hoc networks allowing instant messaging. Other products also allow file exchange, and operate on the longer-distance (100m) 802.11b wireless protocol. Examples of use:
    • Learners engaged in local text-based chat in a quiet environment e.g. art gallery, lecture
    • Learners share learning materials and resources in real time,
      as they discover them in their browsers or write down their own
      learning experiences
  • Instant Messaging: the preferred communication
    channel of the Net Generation. IM types include SMS/MMS between mobile
    phones, MSN Messenger (installed in Pocket PCs), and other IM products
    can be installed which operate over wireless Internet (802.11a/b/g).
    One of the most comprehensive is Agile Messenger, which supports five of the most commonly used IM clients on Pocket PCs: Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, AOL and XMPP.
  • Voice Chat: most commonly implemented in mobile
    phones, but also possible to accomplish from a PDA with a suitable
    Messaging Client installed. Some include “Press To Talk” functionality
    that allows PDAs connected to wireless internet to operate like Walkie
    Talkies.
  • Mobile Blogging:
    • Winksite demo (text), Moblog.UK
      demo (moblog)
  • Mobile Discussion: Asynchronous communication tool. Truly Flexible Mobile Learning – anywhere, anytime participation.
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Chat: Synchronous communication tool. Text-based group chat, allows group interaction using mobile phones (Winksite)/PDAs (ProximityMail)
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Wikis: Collaboration tool.
    • No free implementations (yet), but some well-documented reasons why these are/will be a Very Good Thing for learners.

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • Location-specific (potentially, situated) learning: PDA used as a processing tool to provide contextual information to learner. GPS, 2D-Barcodes, RFID tags connected with learning materials.
  • Data mining: searching a mobile database for trends and patterns in data
  • 2D Barcodes: a “bridge” between print/screen and mobile devices.
    • A QR Code could be a link to whole range of resources. Instead of a studentcopying down homework tasks, they can simply capture the information, or a linkto it, with a camera snap. When they get home, they gain access to, say, adel.icio.us (or mobilicio.us) page, wheretheir resources are assembled. Some of the resources might even be mobilethemselves, such as resources developed in mobileprep – a mobile phone flashcard creator.
    • This example links to a Wikipedia page on the video game Grand Theft Auto.With a click of their camera button, the user gets access to the information directly on their mobile device:

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Four R’s Model and Mobile Learning Activities

11 08 2006

Repost of posting to EdNa forums, with other commentary here. A summary of previous theorisings on this model, here and here, supplemented with diagrams.

We can classify mobile learning activities using an activity-based model of the “Four R’s of Mobile Learning”.

In a reflection of the “Three R’s” of the essential pre-Net Generation skills (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), the “Four R’s” of Net Generation learning reflect the current sociocultural shifts in thinking and learning for an increasingly mobile twenty-first century. Defined from a learner-centric viewpoint, these are:

Record : The learner as a gatherer and “builder” of new knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to capture, preserve, memorise, note, or create information.
  • The information recorded may be in response to a prompt from the portable device itself; or in response to a stimulus from a situated learning environment or their teacher.
  • The information may be recorded to the portable device itself; or the portable device could serve as a conduit for storing the information remotely.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • The learner may use the portable device to discover, process or enhance existing data so that it is transformed into new information, or “remixed” to enhance learning. In these conditions, the mobile device enhances or supplements the learner’s own senses or processing abilities.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • The learner may use a portable device to recall information, events, experiences or stories, stored on the portable device (e.g. iPod recording), or by using the device to access information remotely (e.g.on the internet).
  • Underpinned by a Connectivist/Instructionist theory of learning

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to communicate with other people; for example, with other learners, or with a teacher (i.e. in a learning relationship).
  • The learner can use the device to communicate directly and synchronously (e.g. mobile phone conversation), or access asynchronous communication services (e.g. web discussion board or weblog).
  • They can also recommend and share resources, for example, linking mobile devices (usually wirelessly) and sending a file from one to the other.
  • Communicative and collaborative: underpinned by a Social Constructivist theory of learning

Related activities include Mobile Assessment (self, formative and summative assessment), and Teaching and Learning Support (tools to help teachers and learners, such as mobile gradebooks, rollbooks, etc.)

Mobile Learning Ideas

Record : The learner as a gatherer and builder of new knowledge

  • Moblogging: (Remote Record) using a mobile device to record audio, video, or (most commonly) images and save them to the web in a reverse-chronological format with text annotations.
  • Database/Form Entry: (Local Record) inputting data into a mobile device that can later be reviewed or assessed. Example applications include:
    • Dance moves database demonstration – uses XSForms by Grandasoft (freeware)
    • Recipe database
    • List of vocabulary/glossary
    • Database of procedures
    • Generally done on a PDA
  • Recording media: learners can record audio and video to devices like mobile phones, audio players, and PDAs. Example applications include:
    • Recording a class or lecture for later review as an mp3 file NoteM demonstration
    • Recording a mock “interview” or interaction for review or assessment
    • Recording a video (e.g. “Changing a Tyre”)
    • Done on PDA, Phone, audio device, digital camera
  • Journal Using Calendar: If an online blog is not appropriate, Outlook Calendar can be used to diarise and record events, class notes, assessment deadlines, and more.
    • Why? Because this is what PDAs were originally designed for, they perform these functions well.
    • May also be possible (though less convenient) on some mobile phones.
  • Freehand Drawing: Ability to quickly sketch drawings, diagrams, and jot notes could be useful on PDAs. MobilePencil is a good product for this.

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • Accessing a local Learning Object: I’m using a very broad definition of “Learning Object” – includes learning video or audio file, a learning interaction such as a Flash activity, even a document. Some examples:
  • Accessing a remote Learning Object: as above,
    but not stored on the mobile device itself, but at another location in
    “cyberspace” – a network server, a PC, or the Internet.
  • Accessing an RSS feed: what’s awesome about mobile RSS aggregators is that they allow “real time” updates of information to a mobile device.
  • Mobile Web Search: Google mobile is an example – provides mobile web search from a connected mobile phone or PDA
  • SMS-based information service: these require a bit of preparation. A service is set up by a commercial provider that enables a student to send a text to a number, which then returns some information. For example:
    • a student sends an SMS with the word “impasto” to 131234
      (example only). They then receive a dictionary definition of the term
      back via SMS.

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • Ad-hoc networking: Programs such as “Proximity Mail” enable PDAs within Bluetooth range (approx 10 metres) to form an ad-hoc networks allowing instant messaging. Other products also allow file exchange, and operate on the longer-distance (100m) 802.11b wireless protocol. Examples of use:
    • Learners engaged in local text-based chat in a quiet environment e.g. art gallery, lecture
    • Learners share learning materials and resources in real time,
      as they discover them in their browsers or write down their own
      learning experiences
  • Instant Messaging: the preferred communication
    channel of the Net Generation. IM types include SMS/MMS between mobile
    phones, MSN Messenger (installed in Pocket PCs), and other IM products
    can be installed which operate over wireless Internet (802.11a/b/g).
    One of the most comprehensive is Agile Messenger, which supports five of the most commonly used IM clients on Pocket PCs: Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, AOL and XMPP.
  • Voice Chat: most commonly implemented in mobile
    phones, but also possible to accomplish from a PDA with a suitable
    Messaging Client installed. Some include “Press To Talk” functionality
    that allows PDAs connected to wireless internet to operate like Walkie
    Talkies.
  • Mobile Blogging:
    • Winksite demo (text), Moblog.UK
      demo (moblog)
  • Mobile Discussion: Asynchronous communication tool. Truly Flexible Mobile Learning – anywhere, anytime participation.
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Chat: Synchronous communication tool. Text-based group chat, allows group interaction using mobile phones (Winksite)/PDAs (ProximityMail)
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Wikis: Collaboration tool.
    • No free implementations (yet), but some well-documented reasons why these are/will be a Very Good Thing for learners.

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • Location-specific (potentially, situated) learning: PDA used as a processing tool to provide contextual information to learner. GPS, 2D-Barcodes, RFID tags connected with learning materials.
  • Data mining: searching a mobile database for trends and patterns in data
  • 2D Barcodes: a “bridge” between print/screen and mobile devices.
    • A QR Code could be a link to whole range of resources. Instead of a studentcopying down homework tasks, they can simply capture the information, or a linkto it, with a camera snap. When they get home, they gain access to, say, adel.icio.us (or mobilicio.us) page, wheretheir resources are assembled. Some of the resources might even be mobilethemselves, such as resources developed in mobileprep – a mobile phone flashcard creator.
    • This example links to a Wikipedia page on the video game Grand Theft Auto.With a click of their camera button, the user gets access to the information directly on their mobile device:

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