Friday, April 17, 2009

Blackberry 8110 usability & suitability for mlearning

I have had a week to play with the Blackberry over the Easter. Mobile access was patchy (as expected) but I could still assess the other PDA functions. It took me a couple of days to become comfortable with the one handed / left handed use of the trackball cum blackberry key to access various menus. Using the ‘sure-type’ keys with each qwerty key providing access to two alphabets took more time to get used to. The prescriptive text entry system tended to be quite good at working out what needed to be inputted. So my typing speed did increase over the 4 days of practice. Use of camera, video etc. was also easy to learn. Picture quality was OK. Photos could be viewed easily with zoom, rotate etc. available. Voice recording was also good & easy to use.

The GPS was limited so will need to source google maps & upload for better capabilities. What was available was easy to use including the ‘where I am’ function. I also read up a recent ‘wired’10 uses of GPS article on the uses of GPS in daily live. I found some of the applications to be invasive of my personal privacy but can also see many useful adaptations that can be taken for using GPS in educational settings.

The form factor (size) & price of the Blackberry, makes it more accessible to the student market. However, due to the Blackberry being marketed to the business sector, it will not be on the radar of most apprentice learners. However, it has capabilities that make it suitable as a corporate mobile learning tool due to ease of use & ready linking to corporate email systems. This means that content dissemination (text, slideshows, photos etc) along with discussion forums etc. can be based on email. This makes mobile learning easier to institute as all tutors are familiar with email. Incorporating social networking sites like twitter for ‘chat’ type synchronous sessions is also much easier to introduce. So there are possibilities worth exploring which I will discuss with our elearning team.


best said...

Well I have had a week to play with the Blackberry over the Easter. Mobile access was patchy.

Jerry Gene said...

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