February 29, 2008
As part of our Glossy Project (part of the MoLeNET programme) we are looking at the differences between learners using their own devices and the college providing devices.
One particular lecturer was interested in using PDAs with GPS capability. After difficulties in finding a suitable product, in the end I went for a “cheap and cheerful” product, the Acer C530, this is a Windows Mobile device with GPS capabilty built in (through a large external aerial).
Summary of features
- 300MHz processor
- 64MB SDRAM / 128MB ROM
- 2.8 inch, TFT-LCD Touchscreen display with 320 x 240 QVGA resolution
- 108 x 58 x 16.8 mm / 122g
- Bluetooth® 1.2 / Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
- Integrated SiRF Star III LP GPS receiver
- CoPilot 6 Navigation Software with Full Maps of UK, Ireland & Western Europe
- Microsoft Windows Mobile 5.0 operating system
- Full MS Office Mobile Suite
- Includes Window mount, AC & car charger, case
- EU map coverage: including UK and Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Benelux, Italy, Scandinavia (up to 100% coverage), Spain and Portugal, Russia (detailed coverage in Moscow and St. Petersburg).
The key thing with this device is that it has a rather small screen for what is quite a bulky device.
I was impressed it came with Pocket TV which is a much better application for playing back video than the included Mobile Windows Media Player which comes as standard with Windows Mobile.
So far all I have really done with the device is charge it up (well once I remembered to put the battery in it).
I have not yet managed to get the GPS working, but I know that is because I am indoors and GPS can be so flaky when you are indoors. In a previous life I had a TomTom GPS unit I used with my Sony Ericsson P910i phone and that never worked until I took it outdoors.
It’s raining, so I am not going outside.
The problem with GPS is that it kills the battery fast, so it’s nice to see that the box comes with an included car charger (not that our learners will be using that) but also that it can be charged via USB.
As for expandability it comes with a SD card slot which means at least I am not going to need to find another different memory card format as I seem to be having to do with phones.
Alas it doesn’t have sound recording capability which would have been nice, but then at the price it was much cheaper than more powerful PDA GPS options, currently £176 at Amazon which includes VAT.
February 28, 2008
Crave and Reuters reports that Apple has sent out invitations for an event on Thursday morning detailing the iPhone Software Developement Kit (SDK):
“Please join us to learn about the iPhone software roadmap, including the iPhone SDK and some exciting new enterprise features,” Apple said in an invitation sent to reporters.
February 27, 2008
Abilene Christian University (ACU) have announced that they would be issuing iPhones or iPod Touches to incoming freshman for use in their college courses and day to day lives.
At ACU – the first university in the nation to provide these cutting-edge media devices to its incoming class – freshmen will use the iPhones or iPod Touches to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors’ offices, and check their meal and account balances – among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed, said ACU Chief Information Officer Kevin Roberts.
YouTube Video Links
For those who have inadvertently blocked YouTube
What might a university look like with a fully deployed program of converged devices like the iPhone? Connected is one possible vision. This fictional day-in-the-life account highlights some of the potential benefits in a higher education setting when every student, faculty, and staff member is “connected.” Though the applications and functions portrayed in the film are purely speculative, they’re based on needs and ideas uncovered by our research – and we’ve already been making strides to transform this vision of mobile learning (mLearning) into reality.
An Apple iPhone or iPod touch will become a central part of Abilene Christian University’s innovative learning experience this fall when all freshmen are provided one of these converged media devices, said Phil Schubert, ACU executive vice president.
Abilene Christian University (ACU) announced yesterday that they would be issuing iPhones or iPod Touches to incoming freshman for use in their college courses and day to day lives.
February 27, 2008
Today I am at the RSC VLE Forum in Taunton.
So far I have heard from ULCC talking about PLPs and now OSS on communities.
It’s an interesting event and always useful to network and engage with others in the community and realise how far behind we are in terms of Moodle development.
Some work to do.
February 25, 2008
Adobe today announced the immediate availability of Adobe AIR, a new platform for building rich internet applications (RIAs) across different platforms, including Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
Adobe AIR enables developers to create RIAs on the desktop using the skills and Web technologies — such as HTML, Ajax, PDF, Adobe Flash and Adobe Flex — they already employ. Applications deployed on Adobe AIR have the advantages of browser-based RIAs, such as speed of development, ease of use, and access from virtually anywhere. Yet they also have the benefits of desktop applications, such as the ability to read/write local files, work with other applications on a user’s computer and maintain local data storage on the desktop.
It’s an interesting variation on applications, some use desk bound applications such as Microsoft Office, whilst others use web based applications such as Google Apps.
It’s looking like Adobe AIR will allow users to have the flexibility of web based applications with the backup of desk bound applications when there is no internet connection (such as on plane).
February 25, 2008
The BBC has an interesting report on how the Nintendo Wii been used to provide therapy for burns victims.
The Nintendo Wii games console is being used as part of physiotherapy treatment for patients in South-East England.
Burns victims and those with hand injuries are being offered spells on the console to boost their recovery.
In an accompanying article the BBC asks the question:
So is the evidence stacking up that the sought-after games console is not just fun, but good for us too?
I have seen how TechDis have promoted the use of the Wii and these articles show how games consoles have uses beyond merely playing games.
February 22, 2008
Firefox the alternative browser of choice has reached the 500 million downloads milestone.
Firefox just reached 500,000,000 downloads. This is an absolutely phenomenal milestone for Firefox. It is sort of hard to imagine what that number means. For some perspective, that’s roughly the audience size of 10,000 Rome Colosseums combined. It would be the weight, in kilograms, of 8,500 Boeing 747 airplanes. In dollars, for $500 million you and 15 of your friends can fly to the International Space Station.
Firefox is my browser of choice on the Windows platform and I use it all the time on my Mac alongside Safari.
February 21, 2008
The BBC reports on how the number of Facebook users in the UK declined by 5% in January.
Social networking site Facebook has seen its first drop in UK users in January, new industry data indicates.
Users fell 5% to 8.5 million in January from 8.9 million in December, according to data from Nielsen Online.
To be honest this doesn’t surprise me, my use of Facebook has declined. I use Facebookin order to engage with other e-learning colleagues and friends. There are various groups to which I belong and like to discuss work related issues with people I have met at conferences, events or have known for some time.
However the explosion of zombies, vampires, pointless quizzes, doughnuts, etc… has really put me off the whole Facebook experience. I guess some people find that aspect fun and enjoy and fair play to them, but in terms of social networking and engaging with others it I don’t want that. I have fun elsewhere.
Having said that 8.5 million users is a huge user base. So I won’t delete my account (partly because that can be difficult if nigh on impossible) and will pop in now and again.
For the moment I will stick to Jaiku and Twitter.
February 18, 2008
Sales of smartphones are expected to overtake those of laptops in the next 12 to 18 months as the mobile phone completes its transition from voice communications device to multimedia computer.
Interesting article on how the mobile phone is becoming more like the mobile multimedia computer which can make phone calls.
February 18, 2008
Imagine going to Starbucks having already ordered your drink from your iPhone?
Engadget reports on an application for the iPhone which allows you to place an order for a drink so it’s ready when you get there.
Quickorder, as you can probably imagine, would enable iPod touch users to swing by their local Starbucks, order up their favorite drink and avoid a good deal of that always questionable human interaction.
Just demonstrates how useful/useless an application for a mobile device can be.
If you can order coffee, there must be ways in which you can use similar technologies for learning.