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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French Students get USB Pen Drive with Open Source Software

7 02 2007

According to Yahoo and Engadget, the French are leaping ahead, issuing 175,000 USB drives to Parisian high-schoolers next term.  Each one will be loaded with open-source software aimed at “further reducing the digital divide”.

With the Portable Apps movement maturing and providing some seriously cool tools, these USB sticks loaded with software will certainly help these lucky pupils in their studies.

“The sticks will probably contain the Firefox 2 Web browser,
Thunderbird e-mail client, an office productivity suite such as
OpenOffice.org 2, an audio and video player, and software for instant
messaging. [However,] the exact mix of software will be defined by the company that wins
the contract to supply the sticks, but will be open source, [a spokesman] said.”

While only a portion of students across Paris are receiving the USB sticks, if the program is successful, there is a possibility of expanding the implementation next year.  Hmmm – if it is indeed successful, maybe we should look at “expanding” this idea to Australia…

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PortableApps Suite: Take your tools anywhere

2 12 2006

PortableApps Menu ScreenshotI previously blogged on the emergence of the Portable Apps movement, reported in a major Australian IT magazine. Portable Apps are fully-featured programs that are installed onto a USB memory stick, enabling their use on any computer, and leaving no personal data or files behind.

Now, portable apps have been assembled and integrated into a free of cost, adware & spyware-free suite. A number of standard configurations have been made available for quick download and deployment, or there are dozens of additional apps that can be “installed” into the suite, taking advantage of integration via a customised portable apps menu system (illustrated right) and autorun feature.

Some of the most useful apps include the complete OpenOffice suite, browser, email, chat, instant messaging, RSS reader, WYSIWYG web page editor, image editor, audio editor, media player, file compression utility, antivirus, web server with application logic & database, and even Sudoku.

If you or your students need to work on a number of different computers, having all your apps in a portable form such as this could be very convenient indeed.

(via Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day)

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Portable Apps: your PC in a USB key

5 07 2006

your PC in a USB key The latest edition of Australian PC User magazine, released today, has a feature on Portable Apps, as well as full versions of various PAs on its cover DVD. These applications are stored, and can be executed, on an ordinary USB key, allowing a user to take not only their data, but a fully configured application environment, around with them in their pocket, to use on any current PC.

It’s not exactly my idea of “mobile learning,” but may still be of interest to educators involved with learning mobility.

Software on the cover disc includes a portable CD and DVD burner, backup utility, web browser, email client, office package, image editor and more.