Posts tagged: Mobile Technology

My 2011 Predictions

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By , December 28, 2010 9:03 pm

Well 2010 was certainly an eye opening ride for me, moving between institutions not of my own will and looking to a future that may or may not include academia. But for all that, it has provided me with yet another way of looking at technology and the way that it is used to educate us and help us tell our stories. So without too much extra reflection, here are my points from last year:

  • Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
  • Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
  • Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
  • Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
  • Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
  • Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.

So how did I do?

  • Augmented reality – we are certainly seeing what the increase in GPS capable devices has provided. The boom of location based services, while not really “augmented”, is certainly an enhancement.
  • Increased power of mobile – well mobile payment is increasing and the sudden rise of the iPad shows that mobile is certainly something people were waiting for, even if they didn’t know it or know where/how it would fit in their digital life
  • Privacy erosion – Facebook anyone? Check this Google News link.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – well TV and terrestrial radio didn’t die out, but YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and many more certainly went main stream.
  • Casual gaming – Hear about Zynga? I doubt Google would have bought in if it wasn’t going somewhere.
  • Chrome – well I missed on that one, ChromeOS test platforms only now started shipping.
  • Short URLs – bit.ly and bit.ly Pro anyone – I think I got this one on the mark.

So what are my thoughts for 2011?

  • More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
  • Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
  • Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
  • Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope

So not as many this year as in previous years, but things are moving through a bit of a bottleneck right now and maybe in 2011 something will blow things open, or we see things crystallize in the nxt 8-13 months and then some real changes arrive in 2012.

Japan & DS

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By , September 21, 2007 8:15 am

Well it looks like the DS finally has caught on with at least one school – and in Japan to boot – Thanks to Wade for the heads up.

At just one-fifteenth of the cost of a personal computer — around 17,000 yen (150 dollars) each — the DS is an economical teaching tool, he said, adding that results in an initial trial showed the English vocabulary of junior high school students using the DS had soared by 40 percent.

The private Otemon Gakuin Elementary School in the western metropolis of Osaka used Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) from last September to March this year in a class of 38 fourth-graders, aged nine or 10.

Teacher Toyokazu Takeuchi did not need to print out or check tests. Instead, his own console received real-time data showing which students were making mistakes and what mistakes they were making.

“This is e-learning made in Japan — traditional efforts in reading, writing and calculating coupled with the power of information technology and game machines,” he said.

With the pilot programme wrapped up, Takeuchi plans to expand the use of PSPs to second graders from April next year. If the project is extended, it would cover some 800 students in Osaka.

While the education ministry says it has no policy on using game consoles in the classroom, this new application has come as a pleasant surprise for the machine makers.

Kenichi Fukunaga, vice president for external relations at Sony Computer Entertainment, said he believed the educational uses would spread further, as game consoles were easy-to-use, high-performance machines.

There was still some tough opposition to game machines, he said, but added: “In every era parents have worried over a new medium they cannot understand but their children are absorbed in.”

Hirai, the teacher, said game consoles could be put to use in developing countries.

“You don’t have to print sheet after sheet with a copier. If you can just secure a source of electricity, you can build your basic academic ability on your own.

“This is a revolution in education in that you can learn basic things without teachers who blindly believe their only mission is to direct children to study.”

While I think there may be a certain element of “learning because of novelty” here, I do agree that”it matches the kids” and I also think that things like this open up the entire debate between Clark (1983) and Kozma (1991&1994).

What you don’t know might not exist

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By , August 30, 2007 9:07 am

At least when it comes to what your eyes can see and your brain will stitch together. This was something I wrote about for my Masters (I forgot the technical terms for it) but essentially it said that the brain can be fooled because all it’s looking for is a pattern when watching video. So this meant for my Masters project, the various compression codecs that we used could be tweaked up considerably to save on bandwidth and space. This made sense to save time, but now people are looking at these same ideas to save power on mobile devices. It seems so very simple and logical it makes me wonder why nobody thought of it before. After all. compression was to help slower processors (I think) and as processor power increased, compression’s usage shifted toward more quality in the same smaller space to make use of the increased horsepower. So this lower quality idea is certainly an interesting twist that could get us ever closer to better mobile devices and increase the ubiquity of computing.

AT&T Fights back

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By , August 27, 2007 10:31 pm

It’s not like it’s just any other phone that is the same as any other, the iPhone is certainly a prize for AT&T and one it’s not going to let it get away, so as soon as the unlock program got into the wild, it seems that in the next few days, the legal beagles are going to start to have their fun (GN).

Protecting one’s own image

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By , August 27, 2007 10:01 am

One of the thoughts that bounced around the noggin this weekend was about how the new term is going to bring a whole host of new people back to campus and schools in general. This is nothing new, It’s happened for more than a century (at least the September return), but as we enter the newest semester, there are more things for new and old teachers/instructors to deal with – Protecting one’s image. I’m not just talking about reputation, I’m talking literally about the image because sadly, the same technology that has made digital storytelling so accessible, has also made the creation of slander and propaganda easier as well.

The latest case is a teacher in the US who has had a video of her cut in an unflattering manner posted to Youtube for over a year. Google has yet to remove it (I guess, there is no advertiser to please there… some evil marks for the big G – maybe they should look into the “Think before you post” campaign) to protect her, but with any luck, if more people start to speak up, this kind of thing can be limited, if not eliminated. Digital technology has made voyeurism far too easy and there should be a level of responsibility taken on the part of the companies that commonly host material to make effort to protect people and not just corporations.

So what can be done to protect yourself? I can’t really say – there are HD cameras that are the size of your had that can be hiding in the upper rows of your lecture hall (the most likely place in post secondary to be recorded) or anywhere in the audience at an assembly. I don’t know if it’s right to ban these – as some people may have a legitimate reason for using a recording. But what I can suggest is that if you are worried, know that anything can be edited together to misrepresent, so at the very least, don’t give the “baddies” any good raw material from which to start from. This means:

  • dress appropriately for the function, or if in doubt, a little more formal and conservative
  • watch what you say – you don’t want to get clipped together to say something you never did
  • be yourself

If you follow these ideas (granted, they are off the top of my head, but I’ve shared these with TAs and Grad students who were nervous about being in front of the class in the past), even if you are subjected to this manner of abuse, it will be obvious what your role was and what they have done to manipulate the record.

I’ve started a new category for this kind of thing as I think it’s going to become an increasingly sensitive issues for teachers and instructors at all levels.

Opera Mini 4 beta

By , June 19, 2007 10:27 am

If you are into the mobile internet thing, then the latest version of Opera Mini might be worth taking a peek at. It’s making me wonder – where is Firefox Mini? It seems that my Pearl can’t accept the agreement so I can’t play with it yet (other than via simulation).

Nokia comes to the Mac

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By , June 12, 2007 8:39 am

Well it seems that all th e long suffering Nokia/Mac users out there are going to get some relief. Nokia Transfer works with N series phones, so it’s not the complete solution that many people would have hoped for and users can still sync over Bluetooth, but this way Mac users are no longer second class on the top end phones. Now if RIM and others would do this as well, it would be great.

iPhone and it’s Apps

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By , June 11, 2007 7:58 pm

Well if you watch the Keynote, it seems that Apple has gone full bore into Web2.0 by using Safari as the means of “installing” apps to the phone – seems very intuitive – to the point that the .com site works like a desktop – try the search – . Hopefully in a year or so if my Pearl is lagging, I’ll be able to get an iPhone – and with news that there might be more competition for the Canadian wireless industry means that the data hungry iPhone might be considerably cheaper.

Google Calendar Mobile has arrived

By , May 26, 2007 10:10 am

It certainly took long enough, but the big G has got it’s butt in gear and given the world mobile access to it’s calendar. With any luck mobile broadband will continue to get faster and cheaper so that an online calendar acts almost like a local one, until then, I think that this will largely be a backup for people.

Augmented Reality – the Bee’s Knees

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By , May 24, 2007 2:12 pm

Way back when Halo2 was coming out, there was a real buzz about augmented reality gaming. I Love Bees (ILB) was a part of the viral marketing behind the game and it was also part of the whole flashmob thing that was going on back then as well. Fast forward a few years and games are still very important in pop culture, but now with the addition of ideas like geocaching and mlearning, augmented reality learning might be ready to take off in a big way.

Nokia is working on some feature recognition technologies that can use the camera embedded within their phones to identify where the user is. If you combine that with the ability to pull down location specific content, you have the start of an incredibly powerful learning system. Portable devices that can provide enrichment to the location according to what the user prompts the device for, or, what the system of user and device determines as appropriate for the location. If you think about it, what better personal learning environment could there be than the real world itself. One of the issues that I see with this is that it would take some really careful crafting to ensure that the risks that the student would take while learning would be appropriate. Because even though it’s “cool” to bash the classic classroom, it is the place that provides a safe controlled environment to present materials to the student, the real world certainly doesn’t afford that (but that is exactly what the bashers say that they want in learning environments today – because they see that uncertainty as being essential).

I don’t think this is going to take off that fast though as we (at least in North America) are just barely starting to look into laptops for every student in a big way and mobile devices are still scorned. Mix this up with the high cost of wireless data and this might be a pipe dream, but we can only hope. And while we wait, there is always stuff like this, this or this.

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