Course:ETEC522/2010ST1/MobileTechnologies/Leading Solution Providers

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Leading Solution Provider

Introduction

Students work differently with m-learning devices than they do with desktop computers. Public lab computers are just that and information sharing is at a risk. Even a personally owned laptop is semi-public as their screens are readable by passersby or roommates. But mobile machines are more intimate, held close to the body, in a purse, in a pocket and their screens are easily hidden from prying eyes. The personal nature of the devices and their portability do not decrease their power and capacity, in fact there is constant improvements by major m-learning providers and so these devices have become powerful computers in small packages.

This vector seeks to give an overview of the main providers of devices and software who facilitates m-learning through innovation. The discussion will focus on E-Readers and smart-phones such as the iPhone and Blackberry

E-readers

by doug larsen

Amazon Kindle DX vs Apple iPAD[[1]] There has been a proliferation of e-readers coming on to the market by numerous companies, such as AsusTek, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Kindle and Apple to mention only a few. A brief comparison of Amazon Kindle and Apple iPAD highlights the diversity of products available. Amazon Kindle and Apple iPAD both are leading products on the market that have influenced the market itself. These products have distinct features from each other in that the Kindle is strictly an e-reader and the iPAD offers more features than a mere e-reader. This begs the question - is more better? You tell us.

Amazon Kindle DX The Kindle has been a best seller of e-readers. Amazon launched the first version in 2007, followed by Kindle 2 in February 2009 and Kindle DX in May 2009. The basic Kindle retails for approximately 259.00 whereas the DX retails approximately at $489.00. It has a 4 GB storage capacity holding approximately 3500 non-illustrated e-books. It has a 9.7 inch display. It has battery life of 1 week while on-line and two weeks offline. One of the advantageous of Kindle is it provides for a selection of 540,000 books using its’ built in AT&T wireless connection. In terms of readability its advantage pertains to e-ink thus enabling it to be used in daylight and read with greater ease than LCD screen. Amazon has been accused of undercutting the book market by selling its books for $9.99 thus setting a market standard for e-book pricing. Finally, Kindle software can be download on to a PC, Mac, iPhone and the DX can play MP3 music.

Apple iPAD In terms of price the Kindle DX and the iPAD are comparable. The iPAD has a 9.7 inch multi-touch display screen and it offers a lot more versatility. It is a video player, Internet device and with the appropriate Apps it can perform as an e-reader. It provides access to 1.5 million-plus books in the store when connected to either Wi-Fi or 3G network. The iPAD provides colour. Although the iPAD provides versatility it uses a LCD and not e-ink thus making reading in bright light more challenging. According to Steve Jobs, Amazon set the standard with Kindle, and Apple just went a little further.


In the pilot program for Kindle at Princeton University, one student made the following observation: Don’t attempt to turn e-readers into mini-computers. I already have a laptop…. I do not want a second computer to lug around. 2)Touch screen is essential – for people who annotate with a virtual keyboard or by stylus for longhand. 3) Have to get color highlighting/underlining. 4) Device must be faster – turning pages took forever and I really missed being able to skim(Princeton Report, 2010,pg6).

You be the judge - bells and whistles or mere e-reader?

Major Providers of Mobile Technology and Devices

Blackberry and Apple are the major providers of mobile technology and devices

Learning with Media: iPhone and iPod facilitates perfect mobility and despite their small size they have many applications and possibilities for the user. Blackboard mobile learning is tailored for interactive teaching and learning from the mobile device of your choice. It gives instant access to course information anywhere from your iPad, BlackBerry, or iPhone/iPod Touch. Blackboard mobile application "My Courses" provides faculty and students access to Blackboard Leaning Management System while on the go. The You tube clips below shows examples of applications designed for these devices.

Blackberry mlearning facilitates learning on the go. This site shows some of the applications for learning on blackberry phones. BlackBerry smartphone provides educators, administrators, operations staff and students with mobile access to the communications and information they need to get things done. Whether it’s conducting research, updating records or collaborating with peers, a BlackBerry smartphone will facilitate getting more done.

Benefits of using Smartphones

There are several benefits to be derived from the use of smartphones (Blackberry and iPhones). For educators, administrators, operations staff and students, having mobile access to the communications and information they need will help them complete their tasks efficiently.

Smartphones are easy to set up and operate, so they can get started in minutes using Wi-Fi or cellular networks.

Further benefits to the prospective professional and the institution are that smartphones:

  • Enhance your leadership image
  • Attract top students with leading-edge technology
  • Enjoy world-renowned security, so information stays protected and confidential
  • Improve campus communications and overall experience
  • Prepare students for the work environment with access to real-world technology
  • Improve campus security with advanced communications technology
  • provides a way to stay connected on and off campus.

Recent Developments

Since April 2010 Apple has sold 59 million iPad all over the world with the intent to sell in 9 more countries. Apple also unveiled the new iPhone4 it is not called iPhone 4G because it still uses 3G. The iPhone4 increases the potential of users for learning more apps are added. Apple continues to lead the industry with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system, and iLife, iWork and professional applications. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store, has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.


The following table is a summary of the application and devices used to fuel mobile learning today:


File:Providers.pdf

Report Card Rating

Compare the features of the Apple products and features with that of Blackberry which product(s) provide the better learning applications. I gave Apple an A for innovation and greater variety of products for learning. Blackberry gets a close B+.

References

Alexander, B.,(2004). Going mobile: Mobile learning in higher education. Educause Review, vol 39 no.5 September/October pp 28-35.

Blackberry Academic Program Retrieved from http://na.blackberry.com/eng/solutions/industry/education/


The Trustees of Princeton University.2010) The E-reader pilot at Princeton Final Report. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/ereaderpilot/eReaderFinalReportLong.pdf