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MLearning: Divide bigger than the Grand Canyon

This week, a student pal brought up the topic of mlearning. As I've posted on my blog for some time now, I too feel that there has to be some learning (edtech) opportunity for mobile devices when an estimated 80% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 own cell phones, as reported in the linked AP article by Allen Breed.

Mobile: Text Mark

This is cool! Now how to explain it . . . the best thing to do is go to the site ( and look at the nifty diagram they have concocted to explain it. In a nutshell, is an Internet based text messaging service where you set up a "message" that others can receive by texting the TextMark main number (41411) and the keyword you set up for your message. So, let's say you are a really cool high school girl's volleyball coach (for the Lady Eagles) and you want to make sure players, fans and parents are in the loop as to what is going on for the team that day. You could set up a keyword (like "eaglestoday") and provide a canned message with details about the team's activity for that day (like out of town game directions, time of practice, etc). Others would just text 41411 with "eaglestoday" in the message and get the daily update. Cool - huh, Britt?

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Cingular 8125 Review - Part 2

Back in April, I made a post about my new Cingular 8125. I had owned the phone for a day and had gotten off to a rocky, yet still promising start. I have now had 5 months to play with it, so I've collected my thoughts on the experience:

The good (or not so bad):

  • "Available" list of features still better (more comprehensive) than other PDA options out there
  • Wifi makes for a fairly speedy Internet connection
  • As a cell phone, the call quality is not bad. The speaker phone is just ok, but it does the trick.
  • Contacts and Calendar sync with Outlook. While I don't use Outlook for anything more than a conduit to sync up my contacts and calendar with Yahoo! and GMail (albeit, a cumbersome process), it does get the job done.
  • Touch screen: While there is a QWERTY key board, I find I use the touchscreen and stylus a lot of the time (especially for dialing the phone and browsing the Internet).
  • The screen: The screen resolution is great. Crisp and clear.

The bad (or not so good):

Mobile: Merriam-Webster Mobile Dictionaries

While I normal limit my referrals to "free stuff", this one falls in the "inexpensive" category. Given that I am a horrible speller, I may just have to shell out a few bucks to try one of the Merriam-Webster mobile dictionaries. For under $20, you can get one with 40,000 definitions, a thesaurus and audio pronunciations. $40 will buy you 225,000 definitions! That's only $0.000177 per word - close to free, right?

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Mobile Internet Usage Report

Telephia recently released a report on mobile Internet usage. While the subscriber rate is increasing, the access and experience still lags far behind Internet browsing via the computer. According to their research, 34.6m mobile subscribers (presumably just in Europe, US and Canada?) accessed the Internet on their mobile device in June 2006 - up about 6 percent from January 2006 according to a PC World analysis of the Telephia report. Sites geared to quick hit lookup searches for e-mail, weather, maps and sports stats dominate the Top 10 visited sites during the month, including sites that have done a good job of optimizing their content and display for the mobile browser:

Bloglines: Turns out to be an awesome Mobile Device RSS Reader, too

I have tried what seems like a million RSS aggregators and keep coming back to Bloglines. It has proven to be an efficient web based solution when I'm on my laptop (that I can also access from any computer when I'm away from home), but it is by far the best option I have come across for use on my mobile device (Cingular 8125). The content is formatted perfectly for reading on the small mobile browser screen and it loads extremely fast. I have hundreds of feeds in various categories in Bloglines, yet I can load updated feed content in a matter of seconds - far faster than when I log into my Google or Yahoo accounts on my mobile browser.

Sony mylo: What's the market for a $350 IM toy with no phone and wi-fi only Internet?

The buzz today is that Sony is ready to introduce the new $350 mylo (short for my life online), a wi-fi enabled "broadband communicator" that doesn't have a cell phone (hence, no cell carrier Internet access). While the lack of a phone avoids the relatively high monthly data plans from a cell carrier, it would seem to severely limit where you can use this device (and the mobile VOIP), as well as the number of consumers who would be interested in buying it. Also, it is no iPod replacement with only 4GB of storage available with the optional (i.e. additional cost) flash memory. As I have reviewed in prior posts, I have a Cingular 8125 that does everything the $350 mylo will do, plus it is a phone and I can access the Internet via wi-fi or the Cingular wireless network (where I do 99% of my Internet surfing from the device). I guess the target market for the mylo is kids using wi-fi access at home, a wi-fi hot spot (usually for a fee), or school. However, high schools won't likely allow its use, will they? And how many college kids will want to tote around a cell phone, an iPod and the mylo. At $350 a pop and an anchor tying the device to a wi-fi network, I don't see it competing with the other popular IM "communicators" like the Sidekick 3 which doesn't have wi-fi access, but has a cell phone and can access the Internet via the $39 / month (double checked t-mobile website and verified data pricing when purchased with phone package as noted in post in comments - thanks!) $20/ month t-mobile Sidekick unlimited data package.

What's up with that, Intel?

Back in 2003, Intel's introduction of the microchip for cell phones and PDAs was part of "The Great Cell Phone Chip Race". I wonder why Intel decided to cash in its chips? MobHappy wonders the same thing.

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Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers

  • Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (The Open and Flexible Learning Series) (Paperback)
    by Agnes Kukulska-Hulme (Editor), John Traxler (Editor)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (October 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 041

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning

.mobi Domain Name Recap

Accessing and reading Internet content on a mobile device is a pain. It is typically very slow and hard to view. While some sites have optimized their content for users who access the site on a mobile device (Google, Yahoo! and Bloglines just to name a few), the mobile Internet experience is generally bad and quite frustrating.

Plusmo: Mobile RSS Aggregator

I'm trying out my second Mobile RSS Aggregator, Plusmo - if you count Bloglines viewed via the mobile Internet browser as my first.  I read about it on the MobHappy blog. While Plusmo is stressing the app's ability to push content to a smart phone or PDA device, they have made a really nice RSS interface when viewed on my computer browser, too.  I set up my account in about 7 seconds on my computer and in about 15 seconds later on my mobile device - after I opened the URL in my mobile Internet browser.  It is also possible to download the app on your mobile device via SMS if you don't have browser capability on your phone. 

mLearning: Now we're talking . . .

Jane Knight maintains a wonderful blog filled with great e-learning resources. Given my new interest in all things mLearning related, I will have to check out Symex mTeacher that Jane highlighted this week. From the features listed on the site, Symex mTeacher looks like more of an teacher classroom administration tool than a mlearning platform. Here is a snippet from the web site:


We all know about audio and video podcasts, but I can't recall reading anything about "text" casts to read content on your mobile device . . . until today . . . As noted in this blog post, it is possible to use an online mobile feed reader (I used Bloglines which works great on my Cingular 8125), but that only works when I'm hooked into an Internet connection. What about an easy way to sync text based content to all of those mobile devices (such as an iPod) that are not Internet or cell phone enabled? As the author asks, is there such a thing as a downloadable RSS Reader for your mobile? It looks like Slate has figured out a limited way to address this (currently just using iTunes) to work on the only the most recent iPod versions. Hmmm . . . worth a bit more research, I'd say . . .

ComVu PocketCaster

This morning I came across a fascinating article from last year about ComVu PocketCaster, an application that facilitates LIVE (yes, live - as in right this second as it is happening) videocasting from a mobile device (such as my brand new Cingular 8125).  The article is from my all time favorite newsletters at  Springwise aggregates and presents mind bending ideas and trends sent in by their vast global trend spotting network - I'm one of 8,000 registered springspotters, too :)

So, I immediately signed up for a free account on ComVu (still free while in beta), downloaded the software to my laptop, synced my device to load the software, opened the software on my device and selected the "start" button which started the LIVE videocast.  Within less than 5 minutes, I had signed up and was streaming LIVE video from my mobile phone that could be accessed at the same moment by anyone with an Internet connection - absolutely mind blowing to me.  While I have seen plenty of other "on demand" archived videocasting options (and of course live webcasts from a PC), this is the first LIVE streamed option I have come across for use with mobile phones. 

Cingular 8125 Review

My new Cingular 8125 (the US version of the HTC Wizard) arrived in the mail yesterday and (not surprisingly) I had to make a trip to the Cingular store after spending an hour or so on the phone with Customer Service / Tech. Support.  However, with a new sim card installed, I was out the door within a half hour with a fully functioning gadget.  While the run down of available features is well documented around the internet and most reviews are favorable, here are some features that sold me on this PDA / Smart Phone over the competition:

  • Windows Mobile 5.0 with Word, Excel, PowerPoint software installed (read / write capability)
  • Internet via wifi / or Cingular Edge / GPRS
  • QWERTY keyboard (returned the T-mobile SDA without it)
  • Wifi enabled (bluetooth, too)
  • Cell phone as modem for my laptop (does this really work? wouldn't it be too sloooow?)
  • Push e-mail (not quite as good as my old crackberry, but I probably have to tweak a few things)
  • Music and video player (I also bought a 2GB miniSD card)
  • Camera with flash and camcorder
  • All the phone bells and whistles (speaker phone, voice dialing)

I've only had it for a day, but after they installed the new sim card I have had a blast trying out the features.  I had read a lot about the phone before it arrived, but there is quite a learning curve.  However, there is no question that I already know more about the phone than any of the Cingular folks trying to "help" me today.  They were really nice, but they were convinced I had a "defective device" when they couldn't get it working and almost had me return the phone. 

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