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Archive for May, 2008

Penzu


I came across a simple online private journal called Penzu. It is fast, intuitive, and easy to use. There is no need to log in the site in order to use Penzu. You can go to the Penzu site, quickly drop down your thoughts, and log in later to save to your account if needed.

You can use Penzu for keeping a daily diary, expressive journal, travel journal, or the story of your life. Also, I think teachers and students can use Penzu to take notes in classes and meetings. You can hop back and forth between notes easily. Penzu puts the most-recently created documents on top and allows image insertion. You can share your entries with others via email option or you can keep your identity a secret. The best part of Penzu is that your work is saved as you type, so you never have to worry about saving. Furthermore, printing with Penzu is quite easy. The documents come out just like they look like on the page.

Penzu

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With the recent advances of mobile technologies as well as Web 2.0 technologies that harness the collective intelligence of users, there has been a lot of discussion on mobile 2.0 in Europe for the past year. Mobile 2.0 already started to emerge. Basically, mobile 2.0 provides access to a Web 2.0 service via a Mobile Web Browser or applications that represent one aspect or feature of Web 2.0 such as user-generated content, community, collective intelligence, or rich media. Mobile 2.0 will integrate the social Web with the core foundations of mobility – personal, local, always-on and ever-present. Furthermore, these services are based on a new generation of wireless devices that enable rich, interactive services that integrate the full range of mobile consumer favorite features including talking, texting, capturing, sending, listening, and viewing. Mobile 2.0 could be another revolution that will dramatically change the Web and the mobility landscape that we currently know. Rudy De Waele of m-trends.org indicates that the mobile Web will become the dominant access method in many countries of the world, with devices that become more hybrid and networks that become more powerful and accessible. Mobile 2.0 will soon create new exciting opportunities for mobile learning.

Mobile 2.0

Two weeks ago, Daniel Appelquist delivered his presentation “Mobile Ajax and the Future of the Web” at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. In his presentation, he indicated that the majority of Web usage worldwide will be mobile in next 5 years. Mobile application developers are increasingly choosing the Web as a platform. Mobile 2.0 is finally here. You can view Daniel Applequist’s entire presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo below.

Mobile Ajax and the Future of the Web

Also, Rudy De Waele delivered a keynote at the Over The Air event in London last month. He talked about the current development and the future of Mobile 2.0. Here is his keynote presentation.

Mobile 2.0 @ Over The Air

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Today, we have entered an era in which mobile technology is fundamentally changing our culture and impacting every aspect of our lives, including education and training.  By age 21, the average of digital natives will have spent over 10,000 hours on cell phones.   More than 1.5 billion mobile phones are used in the world today, with a half a billion new ones sold every year.  This is more than three times the number of personal computers (PCs), and today’s most sophisticated cell phones have the computing power of a mid-1990’s PC.  So, the mobile education revolution is finally here.  Over 90% of college students now own a cell phone.  Despite what some may consider cell phones’ limitations, students are already inventing ways to use their phones to learn what they want to know.

For the past five years, I have engaged in several mobile learning (m-learning) research projects involving personal digital assistants (PDA), ipods, and other mobile handheld devices.  I have great interest in mobile learning and believe it will be a major extension of e-learning.   I want to continue my research effort in mobile learning focusing on the use of cell phone technology.  Currently, the research in the design and testing of a learning support system using a cell phone is very limited.  I would like to join many researchers in the research institutions and giant corporations like Nokia and Ericsson to conduct research on the use of a cell phone in education and training.

My current (CPLSS) project is attempted to deliver instructional content and learning materials in way that fits into students’ cell phones – their digital lives.  The CPLSS is designed to work with many cell phones, smartphones, or PDA phones and will have four major modules: Java book, Web book, audio book, and video book.  The Java book is a small Java program which runs in the cell phone to display any textual information.  It will be used mainly for displaying the course syllabus, schedule, lecture notes, assignments, quizzes, or other learning materials.  The Web book is actually a mobile Web site displayed in a standard HTML or WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) on a cell phone.  The Web book will be used to retrieve course materials online through a special mobile Web site.  It is designed for a Web-enable cell phone.  The audio book is designed to play recorded lectures, class news, podcasts, digital audio books, interviews with guest experts, or language lessons in MP3 format. Finally, the video book will be used to play instructional videos or demonstrations in 3gp or mp4 format. Both audio and video recordings will be placed online for distribution, downloaded to the cell phone, and then played in the phone when the learner wants to listen or view.  The CPLSS system will enable professors or trainers to provide the course syllabus, class schedule, assignments, quizzes, and other learning materials (in text, audio, and video formats) to students on a cell phone.  The CPLSS project is currently under development.  Hopefully, I will be able to field test the CPLSS in my classes next year.

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circaVie

AOL launched an interesting service last year, circaVie, which lets you easily create a flashy photo timeline and share with anyone. You can create multimedia timelines with circaVie for about anything–your life story, your career, your vacation, or the chronicle of last 5 years’ important events in your professional life.

circaVie provides a tool for creating Flash-based timelines by adding photos, captions, text and links for all kinds of events. You can then embed your timelines into your blog, share them with students, friends, colleagues, and families. Others can then view your timeline, scroll through it, skip to a certain date, search across all timelines, and browse tags. In addition, you can embed your timelines on your blog or Website, pass your timeline via AIM Share, and subscribe to an RSS feed of that timeline.

circaVie’s interface is quite cool and it is easy to use. Go to the circaVie site, simply sign up or sign in with your AIM screenname or OpenID. Then, you can start a timeline and add photos to the timeline by uploading the photos from your computer or entering the URLs of the photos if they are already online. You need to specify the title, date, and description and tags for each event. Also, you can change the color of the timeline. Once you complete the timeline, you can share your timeline with others by providing the URL. Also, you can get the embeddable code for embedding your timeline into your blog entry or Web page. For a complete demonstration on circaVie, you can view the circaVie screencast tutorial produced by Demo Girl.

Besides creating timelines for fun, I think teachers and students can use circaVie to create timelines for educational uses in many school subjects such as history, science, social studies, art portfolio… etc. circaVie is a great educational tool. Here is an excellent example, The History of Autism, created by Jayne Lytel.

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