Mobile Learning Innovations is the first of a planned monthly series of posts on new and interesting developments in mobile computing and learning. Here is what I uncovered recently:
iBallz is a simple protection accessory for the iPad 1 and iPad 2, or tablets of a similar size. Basically, it is an elastic rope threaded through four plastic foam balls. The balls keep the device off the table for liquid spills, and cushion if it drops on the floor. Why didn’t I think of this?
While mobile phones were originally developed for phoning, they are, in fact, small computers in your hand. It is not surprising, therefore, that a number of ingenious people have been able to adapt them for other uses besides phoning. Ignatia in Belgium is trying to raise support for the deployment of mobile devices that do ultrasound for the maternal health project in Africa. If she gets enough votes, the project will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Please vote.
One of the uses of mobile learning devices that will have an increasing impact on our future is crowdsourcing. Use online mapping software, and you have a method for a large group of people to draw a picture of the situation over a specific geographical area. After a huge snowstorm in New York City last December, residents were encouraged to text the word PLOW on their mobile phones if their block was not plowed. Using a Google Fusion Table, all submissions were plotted on a map, resulting in a picture of the work that needed to be done. These are the beginnings of collective intelligence.
Mobile phones have taken the place of FM radio as the most ubiquitous communications technology on the planet. That has got to have an impact, which is explored by University of Wisconsin instructional designer David Gagnon in an article in EDUCAUSE Quarterly. This dramatic change in access to information has led to some unusual applications, many of which have a learning component. Gagnon gives three examples, which were all new to me. They are Dow Day, Mentira, and WeBIRD. Read the article, and explore his examples for some new insights on the possibilities of mobile learning.
We tend to think of mobile learning as something we do with devices that we can hold or strap to our belt. A group of Swiss scientists at Sensefly have developed a “flying camera” that stitches all the pictures that the camera takes into a 3D model of the landscape over which it is flying. This video by Reuters is a 2-minute take on this device, while several videos on Youtube show this $10,000 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in more detail. What can you learn from this mobile device? There are many potential uses, from traffic spotting and land inventory to police surveillance.
If you see uses of mobile learning that are innovative, please comment below.