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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More on Standards for M-Learning…

1 09 2006

I recently accepted the role of Lead Researcher for the E-Standards Experts Group (EEG) project to research and document a set of technical standards for (digital) Mobile Learning, as part of a broader project to support national best practice, interoperability and compatibility in flexible learning.

  • Over the next few weeks, I’ll be performing a literature review of existing mobile learning tools, processes, and standards.  I’ll also be setting up contacts with key stakeholders, m-learning experts and industry representatives towards the next phase of research.
  • From mid-September to early October, I’ll be liaising with key contacts to determine trends in digital mobility, recommended approaches to m-learning, and metrics for m-learning and mobile device use across Australia.  The involvement of industry players such as mobile product and service providers could help me to determine likely trends for mobile tools that could support m-learning; hopefully the prospect of being involved in setting national standards for m-learning technology will make industry players keener to engage in dialogue than they have been when I’ve contacted them in the past.
  • The final report will be published in December.

I’ll be considering both published and primary sources in my evaluation and recommendation of standards for enabling and sustaining mobile learning in Australia. 

If you’d like to be involved in this national effort to recommend national standards for digital m-learning, please contact me.  I will be gratefully acknowledging contributors and collaborators on this blog at the completion of the project.

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Google Books provides downloadable mobile content

1 09 2006

Stephen Downes’ blog reports the launch of Google Books, a new beta service from Google, which provides a search engine to thousands of electronic public domain books, including many rare books – many digitised by Google themselves.

As a keen devotee of literature and drama, I’ve been joyfully digesting some gems such as a mid-19th-century copy of Romeo & Juliet, poetry books by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Burns, and even the epic Iliad by Homer.

Happily, all (or almost all) of the many available historical texts are scanned as images, and thus appear typeset and illustrated exactly as they would in their original bound form. While not all of the books are downloadable (and must be read online, or downloaded a page at a time, grrr), many can be downloaded in PDF format.

Particularly because the appearance of the typesetting and illustrations are preserved, many of these texts are excellent resources for mobile learners and the PDF format makes them readable on most PDAs and ebooks.

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Mobile Podcasting

1 09 2006

As the Mobile Life Blog points out, “it’s obvious this would arrive one day” – media, direct to your mobile phone.

Mobipod is a UK-based service that promises to deliver “some of the top UK podcasts … straight to your mobile phone as soon as they are released”. Registration is free (for the time being at least), but Mobipod admit in fine print that download charges apply. The Mobile Life Blog comments bemusedly:

I only ask myself, if I would want to transmit such large files over GPRS. Without a flat rate, this can mean quite a big sum of money.

Wouldn’t a simple mobile blog with short audio intros (100KB), without downloading 30 to 40 minute podcasts right away, be more useful? And why not use QR Codes, like in QR Clip?

It’s still an interesting concept, however – rich media content, straight to your mobile device, as soon as it’s available… well worth keeping an eye on!

In a related segue between Web 2.0 and mobile learning, a recent article on education in the health industry highlights potential benefits to adopting Web 2.0 and mobile learning approaches for health professionals:

Although podcasts are not interactive in the same way as wikis and blogs, mobile learning through audio is showing some promise, said the researchers. The paper noted that downloadable, scheduled audio was already being used by many medical schools and journals, such as New York University and the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Students are now more mobile than ever, and often find themselves multi-tasking, working in part-time jobs, or located some distance from a parent institution on professional practice placement,” said the study.

“A similar situation is faced by clinicians in remote and rural areas, who often lack training and proper academic support because of their geographic isolation from the large central hospitals and academics centres of excellence in the main cities.”

The study cited in the article is available here for interested educators or industry professionals.

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