Smart2Go: Best Mobile Mapping Solution for Educators So Far?

9 02 2007

01_nokia_maps_on_nokia_n95_lowresAnother free mobile mapping solution, this time from Nokia. From tomorrow (Saturday February 10th), their Smart2Go platform and service will provide mapping in over 150 countries and over 1000 cities with full support for turn-by-turn GPS satellite navigation. It will also show users Points of Interest (POI) in their area and provide routes to get them there.

What I particularly like about this solution (over, say, Google Maps for Mobiles or Microsoft Live! Maps) is that it’s a hybrid solution that minimises the cost of mobile downloads. As well as being downloadable directly to a mobile phone, map data from Tele-Atlas and Nav-Teq can also be downloaded to a PC and uploaded to the phone’s memory. Once in memory, no network connection or data plan is required for mapping, routing and navigation. This is an effective and elegant solution – although when I tried to use the PC-based MapLoader software, it did not appear to be configurable for traversing proxy servers (which will make it less practical to use in educational institutions, until this oversight is remedied).

The Smart2Go application will run on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile 5.0 devices initially, and will come pre-installed on all future NokiaN-Series mobile phones. For mobile devices equipped with GPS, there is an optional upgrade available at a small cost to turn the Smart2Go application into a full voice-guided GPS turn-by-turn navigation system.

I won’t be able to comment on the quality of the application or the maps until I get a chance to try them out (when the product launches tomorrow), but the hybrid solution used by Smart2Go, minimising downloads, could make this the most practical solution for educators interested in providing their students with low (or zero) cost electronic maps for location-based or situated learning.

Maploader

[via: Darla Mack, AllAboutSymbian, Nokia Press Release]

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Google Maps goes Mobile

25 01 2007

Have you found yourself recently

  • hopelessly lost on a random street corner?
  • drooling over Steve Jobs’ demonstration of Google Maps on the Apple iPhone?
  • Wishing you could use navigable, interactive maps as part of a mobile learning activity for your students, without having to dish out for GPS handsets?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above (or, in my case, all three), you will be overjoyed to know that Google Maps is now available for mobile phones (other than the Applie iPhone), smartphones, and PDAs via a simple, free download and install.

With the same zoomable, annotated maps, integrated search, route planning tools, and photo views found in the desktop version of Google Maps, this mobile application puts the world at your fingertips. Download it by opening your phone’s mobile browser and heading to http://google.com/gmm, or find more information on this web page.

And if you’re not sure whether it’s worth the download, you can even try out the mobile version of Google Maps on this demo page, which works exactly like the real thing.

UPDATE: Google Maps for Mobiles does indeed work in Australia – as reported in this article from The Age!

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Texts and Stories for Mobiles

17 01 2007


Wattpad have launched a site enabling users to create their own digital, text-based stories, and make them accessible to mobile devices.  The text is compressed before being downloaded to the user’s phone, a few pages at a time – strategies designed to minimise waiting time for content. 

The Wattpad reader allows users to search for and browse new stories, and download them remotely.  Alternatively, stories can be downloaded to a PC and transferred to mobile phones using a cable or Bluetooth connection.  Other services, such as Winksite, already allow users to create their own mobile web content, so I guess the particular attractions of Wattbook are the remote search/browse, and the “upload from PC” options that most other services lack.

This kind of service would be well suited to providing short-ish texts (for example stories, case studies, or references), since even with the free PC upload option, I’d imagine it would be cumbersome to read anything very lengthy on a mobile phone screen.  However, I could conceivably be wrong in this assumption, as several users have uploaded the complete novel Eragon and other longish print books (e.g. A Short History of Nearly Everything, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Life of Pi) into Wattpad form.

With the PC upload option, it’d be more flexible and powerful if Wattpad were able to save images into their books (even if these could be configured to be stripped out of remotely downloaded books), but other educators may well find this a useful resource nonetheless.

(via Pocket Picks)

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Latest Opera Mini Browser for Mobiles released

9 01 2007

So exciting!  According to the Pocket Picks blog, Opera Mini, which I think is the best mobile internet browser around, just got better. Its latest release includes features such as RSS feed bookmarking/reading, photo blogging, email, and support for secure sites (e.g. internet banking and online stores).

Not only is Opera Mini the best browser for mobiles that I’m aware of, but it’s available for nix. You can download it for free via SMS, direct to your phone, from the product home page: http://www.operamini.com/, or via WAP or PC download here.

Opera on your phone

Fans of Samsung phones will also be delighted to know that Samsung and Opera recently signed a deal that will see Opera providing the web browser for Samsung phones. With Samsung already making groundbreaking innovations in mobile phone design and component development, Samsung are certainly attracting my attention – if they keep up the pace, Nokia will have to pick up the pace to stay ahead in the game.

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Mogopop: publish interactive iPod content for free

9 01 2007

mogopop

Mogopop is a free Web 2.0 site that allows you to create interactive movies, “sites” and books for iPods. It incorporates an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editing system, and a built-in iPod preview window so you can see how your content will look on your iPod, as you create it.

Here’s a video introduction to Mogopop:

http://resources.mogopop.com/help/what_is.mov

Given that iPods are probably second only to mobile phones in terms of ownership, and provide rich media features and storage capacities not yet available in mobile phones, I’d say using iPods as a publishing platform might be very useful for a number of educators out there.

(via e-Clippings (learning as art)

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Bluepulse: Aussie innovation best mobile media platform ever?

5 12 2006

The internationally popular MobileCrunch blog speculates it may be the “ultimate mobile media platform,” and it’s the innovation of one of our own, Australian entrepreneur Ben Keighran.

ScreenHunter_132.jpg

Bluepulse is a free Mobile Web 2.0 application that installs easily on almost any mobile phone (you don’t even need to know what kind of phone you have), and promises the ultimate in mobile multitasking through the innovative use of widgets running within the Bluepulse application. This makes it quick to switch between widgets without losing any data, and the widgets themselves are more functional and powerful than most stand-alone mobile web applications.  There are all the usual suspects: MSN or Yahoo messengers, Flickr, Blogger blogging tools, GMail, Email, chat and weather.  Some others I’ve never seen on any other mobile platform before include traffic camera locations, and a blood alcohol tester.

MobileCrunch has the scoop:

Looking at bluepulse 2.0 in its totality you’re really facing a pretty significant leap forward in mobile application platforms. And make no mistake about it, this is a full fledged mobile multimedia platform that allows users to create a detailed user profile including photos and videos, an ever growing array of mobile widgets that helpyou do everything from checking the traffic or surf to planning what you’re going to watch on the tele tonight (plus digg, flickr, gmail and more), as well as chat in various chat rooms while browsing your new friends “places” while chatting, and last but not least, bluepulse has its own built in messaging application that allows you to text friends AND broadcast messages.

I’ve seen quite a number of mobile applications in the last twelve months and many have been very comprehensive but I do not believe thatI’ve seen a single platform that had as many different functions as bluepulse 2.0; especially not one with the diversity of widgets or the ability to run on so many phones.

You can get Bluepulse on your mobile by browsing to http://get.bluepulse.com/

The included widgets already have great potential for use in the delivery of mobile learning strategies, but Bluepulse is also similar to a mobile learning platform for mobile devices I’m currently developing, in terms of its widget-based architecture to enable seamless data sharing between applications such as QR-Code reader, browser, progress/gradebook and learning content. I’ve felt such an m-learning platform needs to be developed, as there’s no existing software out there that’s actually designed specifically for enabling a broad, integrated range of m-learning opportunities.

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iTube: Get YouTube videos for your iPod/PDA

29 11 2006

https://i0.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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