Thursday, August 14, 2008

Advances for Mobile Learning?: Nokia Recognizes New Mobile Application Developers

Mobile learning continues to receive important boosts from software application developers, whose innovations expand the capabilities of mobile devices, and add levels of interactivity and functionality. This enables mobile learning to take quantum leaps. Such technology gives everyone the ability to be a creative thought leader in e-learning / m-learning, and to form a dynamic, interactive learning environment that encourages grassroots-level, learner-driven activities.

Nokia has recognized several innovators in 2008 Nokia Innovation Series. Here are the winners and a few thoughts on possible applications to mobile learning.

Plusmo, developed by Santa Clara-based Plusmo, Inc.: More than 20,000 widgets, which include the ability to "mobilize" one's blog. This is critical for interactivity, and can facilitate excellent discussions and course interactions.

Whrrl, from Seattle-based developer Pelago, Inc.; Qik, from Foster City. Whrrl allows individuals to track each other on maps, and to input GPS-based data. This is perfect for marketing courses that involve demographics, site scouting, etc. and also for geology / geography courses involving field data collection and sharing.

CA-based Qik, Inc. Qik has an application that allows the user to stream video from his/her phone. This is perfect for sharing live information, including field-based lectures that students can watch and safe for viewing later. Excellent synchronous and asynchronous possibilities.

Webmessenger Mobile, developed by Los Angeles-based Webmessenger, Inc This is a very useful application that allows the transmission of messages to numerous clients, without having to go through the headache of having to set everyone up on a network such as twitter ( Further, messaging and communication could be a bit more secure than a service such as Twitter (although Twitter definitely has a lot of pluses).

BackupPal, from Advanced Wireless Solutions in Burbank, CA. What a great service! One can store cell phone / pda / mobile contact information remotely, rather than on one's SIM or in the resident memory of the mobile device. This is wildly liberating for mobile courses, since it allows one to use virtually any device to stay in touch with one's group. Wow. I could have used this a few weeks ago as my BlackBerry died and I had to replace it. Unfortunately, even though I had the SIM card, everything was stored to the handset memory. I could have used this a year ago when I left my cell phone somewhere in Chicago O'Hare airport...

Hava Mobile Player, from Monsoon Multimedia in San Mateo, CA. HAVA is a revolutionary TV place-shifter that streams video very efficiently over a standard ethernet, 802.11g wireless network or over a broadband Internet connection. HAVA changes the traditional TV viewing paradigm by streaming live TV to network connected PC’s and or mobile phones. I'm not sure what "live" TV is (news? c-span? sports)... at the same time, this could be very valuable for courses that require individuals to watch certain programs or events together, and then to comment on them.

JoikuSpot from Finland-based developer Joikusoft Oy, Ltd.; Joikospot turns your cell phone into a wifi hotspot. With JoikoSpot, you can connect your laptop or iPod to internet everywhere through your mobile phone and Wi-Fi. This sounds perfect for mobile learning courses, if the connections work well. It would be interesting to compare this with other technologies that are now available. Problems have been reported (not surprising) -- but, if this technology means I can get a connection in the middle of the prairie or in a valley between highly forested hills, I'm in.

UbiSafe (, which incorporates a GPS tracking device. In theory, it's for personal security, but could also be very effective for courses requiring field-based research, and/or travel. The possibilities of incorporating the application with mapping, marketing, or any sort of demographic / sociological research requiring data collection tied to a specific location are endless.

Blogs of Note:

Stephen Downes' OLDaily:
James Farmer:
Ewan MacIntosh:
Chris Sessums:
Gaming in Education:

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