Looking for the ideal device for mobile learning

m-learning, mobile learning, learning on the move there are many ways of describing mobile learning and mobile computing. There are a number of machines available from iPhone to netbook but is there an ideal device?

The PC has become the standard for delivering learning with an office environment but the mobile platform is still emerging. Mobile computing has been along for long than many people can remember, most people of the laptop but forget about innovative devices like the PSION and also the Apple Newton. I used both of these devices in the mid 90’s and they were being used within industry. Now I see mobile devices being used by virtually everyone from the mobile phone to the XDA mobile devices used by delivery man to track your parcel.

Within mobile learning we have a range of technical platforms to choose from, allowing choice for the users but providing an issue for developers and organisations. Few fewer of these devices actually share common applications that you can both simply use. Applications for the iPhone and the Android handset are superb but they can’t be swapped and they are usually part of a longer contract for mobile phone services.

Instead of looking for the ideal device or the best application platform HTML 5 may provide much of the functionality that we need, supporting mobile browsers and allowing content to work across multiple devices. During several development projects I’ve reviewed several mobile devices and here are few things that I noted.

Apple iPhone/iPod
You’ll need a developer licence or someone who has one
Development uses the apple development kit that uses objective c
You need to get your app reviewed and approved from apple
Unless you have company license for distribution all your apps will be on the istore

PlayStation Portable
Has browser support and supports flash
Can support a web-cam/camera
Has a slot for a memory card so that you can use your own content
Can be tricky to directly type a url
No contracts
Robust device

Nintendo DSi
Has browser support
Double screen
Memory card slot
No contracts

Android device
Uses open source tools
Lots of developers available
Well supported
Good browser support

Windows Mobile
Support the windows platform
Links with Exchange
Used to create bespoke applications
Can come with a wand for typing
Browser support

Notebook
Larger than other devices
Smaller enough to be mobile
Some times slow to start
Supports windows and Linux operating systems
You can use many of your existing programs
You can develop your own apps and deploy across the notebook

Interesting after reviewing the devices I came to the conclusion that it will be good to develop applications using HTML/5 to allow as many of the devices as possible to use the content. Each device has its own graphic requirements such as screen size but this appeared to be a good way to develop content within a cost effective method.

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Looking for the ideal device for mobile learning

One Response

  1. Great post!
    I think HTML5 is not yet the tool / tech to consider as most browsers only have partial support for it and also it works well only on smart phones. But I do agree HTML 5 is the future.
    Another possibility could be if the ‘wholesale app community’ can really create some standards for creating apps that work on all devices. Sounds like a dream though!
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/02/15/wholesale-applications-community-fail/

    Best.

    Amit June 23, 2010 at 5:37 am #

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