Archive for the ‘mobile content development’ Tag

My mobile video blog

mobile blogging
Well, I haven’t posted in awhile, so I’m happy to be back writing again. I am currently teaching a one month course on mobile learning at George Mason University and it’s a real privilege to do so. I’m so happy to see a university taking mobile learning seriously enough to offer a class on it. Of course, teaching is a new thing for me and it’s got me pretty busy so that explains the lack of posting. However, it’s also given me a rich new learning resource… the students. The students in the class are really showing some great ideas about mobile learning. And because most of them are learning professionals (Instructional designers and trainers), they have a great understanding of how to build and deploy a training program. I’m hoping I can help them in their efforts to add mobile learning to their learning tool set, they are certainly helping me expand my knowledge of mobile learning.

I’m very interested in the idea of mobile video blogging. This is nothing new, but I think what is needed (and maybe it’s out there and I just haven’t found it yet) is a mobile video blogging tool for learning professionals to create content for mobile devices. What I’m getting at is the idea that we can use regular commercial blogs now, but these tools are largely developed for social purposes.

What I would like to see is a tool specifically for use by learning content developers. I think this tool should allow all the same functionality of a regular mobile blogging tool, but have some additional features for instructional designers and subject matter experts to created structured learning content. So here’s my initial list of these capabilities, feel free to add some of your own. And by all means, please let me know if there’s a tool out there that does all these things.

  • post video from your mobile device
  • post images
  • post audio
  • add flash and other rich content creation products
  • create rich text from your mobile device – i.e. lists, bold, italic, hyperlinks, etc.
  • create a sequential list of items in a single post from your mobile device
  • annotate each content item with the associated objectives (for designer reference purposes and student purposes)
  • create a custom navigation between chunks of content

Basically, I’m looking for the ability to create a learning module with a mobile device. I know this is coming, but I haven’t seen anything that does this yet. That type of tool could really empower learning content developers to create great mobile learning content from a mobile device. And of course, placing a tool like this in the hands of a well trained subject matter expert could yield some great results and allow us to add quality training to our learning content networks, ultimately benefiting the learner by leveraging the contextual aspect of mobile learning – training created in context and consumed in context.

Until we have that, I will do my best with current blogging tools and their limited mobile development options. Most of the mobile blogging tools only allow you to add an image or video and don’t allow you to format text from your mobile device.

Flash Player On Devices – Going Mobile Just Got Easier

As one Google guy I spoke with recently said, “everyone is thinking about mobile.” And that is a really good thing for mobile learning. All the money and concentrated brain power of some of the most innovative and powerful companies will certainly yield some great results in the form of new software, hardware and cloud based applications to enable our productivity and creativity.

One of the best signs for those who make learning content is the Flash Player finally coming to mobile devices in large numbers. Some of you may be familiar with the trials Adobe has had in bringing the Flash player to the mobile area. It has actually been in use, in the form of Flash Lite for several years now. We don’t necessarily see it in North America, but it’s been used heavily in places like Japan and parts of Europe to deliver content. But now Adobe has adapted the Flash player to run higher end content on new devices. The version that will run on devices is 10.1, so it’s able to provide of all the modern Flash capabilities. Apple is still not allowing the Flash Player on the iPhone, and depending on who you talk to it’s either because the Flash Player is “too resource intensive” for the iPhone OR Apple has made a “business decision” not to allow the Flash Player on the iPhone because Apple plans to use a competing technology to deliver video and other content that Flash has been good at for awhile now. Those other competing standards may come in the form of HTML 5, QuickTime or something else that Apple has up their sleeve. I’m sure we will all hear a lot of buzz about whatever it is when they finally bring it out.

But iPhone aside, Adobe has been doing a lot to try to get mobile device manufacturers to include the Flash Player on their devices as either a stand-alone player or a browser plug-in. And the newest version of the plug-in is good by most accounts – take a look at what it’s capable of here:

Flash Plug-in Running on Google’s Nexus One

Ok, finally to my point about mobile learning… A lot of learning content developers use Flash to deliver rich and engaging learning environments. Many simulations use Flash, many games available in e-Learning courses use Flash and Flash is used a lot to deliver graphics, animations and different kinds of user experiences that are not able to be produced with HTML, JavaScript or any other traditional web technology. Plus, Flash developers are all over the e-Learning content development industry.

With a large Flash developer base in the e-Learning community, your designers and developers can now start to take advantage of the mobile player. This means you can re-purpose your older content, and make new content immediately deliverable to mobile devices without going through an app store or marketplace that you can not control.

Now, I understand that Flash has its’ issues. Security, and performance on mobile devices has been in question before. However, no mobile device or mobile software has conquered the security problem yet, so I wouldn’t let the Flash player be my reason for not going mobile with it. And I don’t think Flash Player 10.1 will run well on older devices. But as you can see if you look at the link above, it runs very smoothly on a modern device (Google’s Nexus One). And as people upgrade to newer devices, we’ll see more processor power, which will make performance a non-issue.

I do believe that the Flash player will be available on many newer mobile devices very soon, so start getting your developers ready to create some pretty interesting learning content.

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