A few days ago, I wrote about how I was experimenting with mobile learning.  In fact, I am testing out mobile learning with a unit on mobile learning.  One of the units I added this summer to my Internet in the classroom course was on virtual schooling and mobile learning.  Through a pilot program with Emantras, I am using their MOBL 21 application to develop and deploy this unit onto iPod Touches, iPhones, and through their desktop Adobe AIR application.

I thought I would share some of the screen shots from the desktop application (that simulates iPhones/iPod Touches).  I’ve enjoyed testing out this system. Not everything is exactly the way I would have preferred the content to be. For example, I would really like to be able to embed images and videos directly from the Web.  The images I had to go into the HTML code and insert.  The video I had to upload, which I wasn’t happy about.  I would really like to be able to take advantage of iPhone/iPod Touches connection with YouTube directly to go full screen.  This wasn’t possible inside of MOBL 21.  I am also still learning the ins and outs of the system.

As you can see from the screen shots, though, you can create study guides, which are content with text, images, audio, and video.  You can also create flash cards.  Since my content isn’t drill and practice, I used the flash cards as a way to present some quotes about virtual schooling.  If I had had more time, I would probably have created these as graphics and uploaded them into the system … probably with Powerpoint.  Finally, you can create a quiz.  I haven’t tested this feature yet.

In another post, I’m going to list some of the features I would like to see added in as an option to make a more robust system.

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

During this term, I am teaching a course on integrating the Internet in the classroom with teaching and learning.  As a result, I am adding a completely new unit for me on virtual schooling and mobile learning.  I have decided to build this unit as a mobile learning unit.  I am in the process of creating the content for this unit. Most definitely, I will be piloting the use of MOBL 21, which is a content creation platform for mobile devices, specifically iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches.  MOBL 21 also has an Adobe Air desktop application for students who do not have one of these devices.

A few of the questions that I have to figure out answers to with this development project is:

  • Can I include video into the MOBL 21 environment?
  • Is it necessary for me to chunk the content into pages/screen?
  • How much is too much content in this unit?
  • What are the best methods to have students interact with this content?
  • Will the lack of Flash on the devices be an issue?
  • Should I do the entire unit inside the MOBL 21 environment or should I also include content outside of MOBL 21?
  • Should I have students experience the iPhone Simulator?
  • How do I address other devices?

In addition, the Advanced Learning Center at the University of Memphis is allowing me to offer iPod Touches to my students in this online course, so they can play, test, and use these devices with this unit.

What’s your thinking about my project and my questions?  Can you help me … quickly?

Paul Ayers, Joanne Gikas and I are working on a couple of proposals for book chapters on mobile learning, or mLearning. Take a look at some of the ideas below and let us know what you think. Here’s a working outline of some issues we’re considering when considering mobile learning, such as with iPhones, iPod Touches, Blackberries and other smart phones.

  1. Technological issues
    1. user interface, such as screen size, touch screen, full-sized keyboard
    2. logistics, such as battery life, camera, storage and security
    3. OS and applications, such as openness of system, applications available, OEM v. downloadable applications, platforms and plugins
  2. Integration issues
    1. content creation
    2. content delivery
    3. communications
    4. classroom and learner management
    5. assessment
    6. alignment with pedagogy
  3. Implications for teaching and learning
    1. Costs
    2. Support for faculty and students
    3. Courseware and course management integration
    4. Longevity
    5. Classroom management

So, what do you think? If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them. Feel free to leave them in the comments.

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