Friday, January 26, 2007

Plans for 2007

Several good tramps away plus time with the family has provided me with time to revive, refresh & rejuvenate. 2007 should be another busy year. I have recovered from the disappointment of not being able to have the mlearning pilot funded via our ITO. I am still working on how to fund the developmental hours required to get the pilot going as it is important to do a good evaluation of the various aspects of the mlearning project.

The use of eTXT to SMS questions etc. will not be the difficult part. It’s the mashing of the various Web 2.0 applications that will present us with many obstacles /learning opportunities. The components include the archiving of portfolio evidence with our chosen CMS (Moodle) and a good showcase for the eportfolio. These will remain a constant unknown until we put the whole package through its paces. We need to do the trial with:-
  • a multitude of mobile phone models,
  • the two telecommunications providers in NZ, various mobile phone ‘plans’ from prepaid to monthly to ones like ‘best mate’ from Vodaphone,
  • apprentices who live in rural areas (who might not have great mobile coverage),
  • apprentices who have limited or no access to PCs so that the mobile phone becomes their only access to their eportfolio material and the Moodle course portal,
  • apprentices who are tech savvy, and may be able to provide us with ideas on how to go about the exercise in a better way
  • apprentices who are not that enthusiastic about using their mobile phones for the task of providing workplace evidence,

In short, I am really keen to trash out all the things that are barriers, challenges and pitfalls. All the things that the nay sayers have put forward to say that the mlearning programme will not work. I am a great believer in learning by doing. I also have faith in the ingenuity of our elearning support staff. This is tinged with pragmatism, so that if something really does not work, I am prepared to move on and try something else. Meanwhile, it’s important to keep up with what is continually coming up on the Web 2.0 horizon as these provide us with:

  • a pool from which we can draw our eportfolio compiling resources
  • ideas of on how to better use web 2.0 sites for archiving evidence or collating eportfolios
  • other ways in which we could go about collecting, archiving or collating evidence
  • better methods to integrate mobile phones to Web 2.0 sites
  • more cost effective /time effective way to do things
  • cheaper alternatives to mobile web browsing

Friday, January 12, 2007

Getting back into work mode. Thinking about iPhone & Web 2.

I have had a quiet & relaxing holiday. A couple of good tramps in Kahurangi National Park & on the West Coast (despite the desultory weather) have recharged my mental arsenal. Will be away next week on Stewart Island for another tramp. It should give me time to sort out my plans for 2007.

Meanwhile, I have been catching up with relevant mlearning / elearning type articles and events. Primary of these would be the launch of Apples iPhone this week. The launch has been extensively reported in our local media including a front page photo in the Press (Christchurch paper) & on the TV news. However, what has brought the launch into focus has been the reaction of my daughter (& her friends). The iPhone is already on their list of ‘things to save up for’. They will have at least a year as the iPhone is not scheduled to arrive in NZ until early 2008. They are already enamoured by the overall coolness of the iPhone’s design (thin & slim is in), its colour / feel (although none of them have held one yet) & the ‘funky’ interface (no buttons, touch screen & brilliant display).

Apple is making a calculated move into the mobile computing market because that is one of the futures of computing. Steve Jobs reckons on getting at least 1% of the mobile phone market (currently 2 billion mobile phones have been sold) and Apple shares have gone up since the iPhone’s launch. It all bodes well for mlearning & provides some impetus for me to continue on our mlearning project.

The other area that is growing & becoming more mainstream is the rise and rise of Web 2.0 applications. Earlier on this week, there was a TV news article about car surfing. One of the reasons car surfing is growing is the number of people who take videos of themselves car surfing and then putting the videos up on youtube. I went out for a walk with a few friends who are ‘non techy’ & they wanted to know what youtube was. When I explained the concept & expounded on flickr & blogging etc. they were keen enough to discuss the topic at length. They had all come across the concept of blogging (its been in the news quite a bit) and the concept of social networking. This is another indicator that Web 2.0 applications are now becoming much more mainstream. Even though the majority of people are not using them, they are aware that blogs & the ability to put your photos on the web exist.