WE HAVE A MONTH-LONG EXPERIMENT running where we will use only over-the-air data services to stay connected to an online classroom environment. We intend to find the best ways to ensure students with poor internet connectivity can remain attached to their virtual learning environment. We use Moodle as our virtual learning environment and several phones from Nokia and SonyEricsson, including the SE P1i at left, to test e-mail, audio, video and still photography capability. We already know some of the methods that work and our immersive experience has validated some important conclusions.
Text Updates Work for Irish Students. Since most of our college students arrive on campus well-accomplished as texters, we will continue the experience by trying to connect them textually to SMS channels attached to their creative multimedia modules. For example, students enrolled in the Radio and Video Production modules use the skunkworks channel on Jaiku. By setting up their mobile phones to receive message traffic from that channel, these students can actually expand the hours of operation of their classroom contacts. We will open Jaiku channels for several modules. These after-hours channels will connect students, instructors, and guest lecturers to a flow of activity designed to raise the level of comprehension with learning materials.
E-mail Responses Require the Least Overhead. When you're pressed for connectivity, it's easiest to merely send out an e-mail that responds to a topic. We also discovered ways to e-mail directly into other communal zones, such as directly into FriendFeed rooms that support academic training materials. Several e-mail responsne loops will feature in next semester's academic programme since we validated their effectiveness during our over-the-air experiment.
Mobile Phone Photo Uploads. We are able to quickly and efficiently upload images from our Nokia E90 via Zonetag and into Flickr. We can also e-mail those images into Flickr photo collections too, then annotate the photos with tags and organise them into collective groups where they serve as response points in class. We will make imagery, shared over an easily-uploaded technology, part of the course learning guidelines next academic term.
Reading Fast Through Aggregation. All our learning materials offer subscribeable channels. You can subscribe to the News Forum in Moodle and get updates to an email account. You can subscribe to the community podcast channel and get either show notes by RSS or the audio clips downloaded directly to a phone. We will teach the essence of aggregation and the management of course learning materials through a combination of text, imagery, audio and video over the air and through RSS channels.
All said and done, our mobile experiment is validating the elegance of time-tested SMTP and POP services. Additionally, we are happy with several flavours of aggregation served directly up on phones. We will make each of these main points into two-minute screencasts so new students, unfamiliar with what their phones can do, will jump into using the technology to enhance their journey towards a creative multimedia degree.
Sent mail2blog using O2-Ireland EDGE services while enjoying a scone in Henry's of Cashel.