Thursday, October 27, 2005

Starting on eTXT but still looking out for alternatives

Well, I now have access to eTXT. My research proposal for trialing mlearning formative questions should be approved by the beginning of November. Meanwhile, I am having a play with eTXT. Its easy to use although I have to use the eTXT web as the Novell based Groupwise email platform is not supported by eTXT.

Cost are NZ$99 to set up the system. After that, it’s a NZ$10 a month charge and a charge for each SMS posted.

So far, I have transferred various contacts etc into my address book. I have also drafted formative questions on food safety and the evaluation questions for the trial on Word. Copy and paste works well so when the time comes, there is very little time required to mass txt all the research trial participants.

I am happy with how easy eTXT is to use. However, the limitation on 160 characters and the use of text only have placed constrains to my plans to use mlearning in a more creative way. I am following with interest Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) Studytxt initiative. Peter Mellow, a 2004 flexible learning leader, has set up revision questions on anatomy for his students. Students need to pay between 30 to 50 NZ cents to download the questions. Questions are text based as with eTXT.
The University of Applied Sciences in Austria, in association with Nokia, have been working on an interesting mobile learning engine (MLE). The MLE allows multimedia images to be downloaded to student mobile phones. MLE itself can be downloaded from the site. There is also a copy of the paper in English presented at the 2004 Multimedia Applications in Education Conference. Learning objects for MLE are written in XML. This allows for the creation of interactive questions. Questions written for dissemination on mobile phones can also be viewed on a computer. I plan to have a more in depth look into MLE as it provides greater synchrony with my visions of mlearning.

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