RIP Rick Bozzuto
Wrapping Up Another Semester

Handheld Learning Jumps Up a Notch

E90 MoodlemailIN MY FACEBOOK CHANNEL, students are talking about the pleasure they get in touching their mobile screens. In my Google Docs channel, others talk about getting a rise out of technology that vibrates in their pockets. Both are handheld learning sweet spots that will extend my practise well beyond reading my Moodle mail on my Nokia E90 (at left). And with 3G services alongside free wifi on campus, things will definitely take off in my classroom next semester. Mobile learning will be the main focus of my delivery of learning content. Our over-the-air networks now support streaming of text, audio and videos. Students who can tap into three megabit per second broadband service at home know they can carry their academics with them, regardless of time and location. From evidence I see in referrer logs, I know students are using our online facilities as much after 8PM than they are during the normal academic day.

I hope that my work can form the basis of retooling some of our lifelong learning programes in Tipperary Institute. Higher bandwidths on both the O2 and Vodafone networks means I can stream rich media mobile content with 2D and 3D animations to mobile phones. For those on laptops, the faster data service means better real-time collaboration inside Google Documents.

The faster service onto laptops also means we can conduct multilateral video calls through Online Meeting Rooms. We're currently delivering learning to an entirely new audience beyond the physical constraints of a campus or classroom.

With a little luck, we'll build out a multimedia repository of revisioncasts. This isn't an option--Ewan McIntosh points out that learners now have access to portable "micros". This practise will change the way students study for exams. We already know that people have a shorter attention span when using their mobile phones to learn new material. This makes it important to produce channel content that holds attention for up to five minutes. Typically, m-learning content optimises on text and is confined to only essential images and animations.

The m-learning adventure continues, thanks in no small part to the strong signal strength of Ireland's dominant mobile phone companies.

Ewan McIntosh -- "How Mobile Cell Phones Change Everything" in his blog, 15 Dec 09.