Archive for November, 2007

According to Reuters, half of the World’s population owns a cell phone

But 59 countries have over 100% penetration!

Click here to read the full Reuters article

“Worldwide mobile telephone subscriptions reached 3.3 billion — equivalent to half the global population — on Thursday, 26 years after the first cellular network was launched, research firm Informa said.

Since the first Nordic Mobile Telephony (NMT) networks were switched on in 1981 in Saudi Arabia, Sweden and Norway, mobile phones have become the consumer electronics sector with the largest volume of sales in the world.

‘For children growing up today the issue is not whether they will get a mobile phone, it’s a question of when’, Newman said.

In recent years the industry has seen surging growth in outskirts of China and India, helped by constantly falling phone and call prices, with cellphone vendors already eyeing inroads into Africa’s countryside to keep up the growth.

But although mobile subscriptions have reached the equivalent of 50 percent of the population, this does not mean that half the people in the world now have a mobile phone, since Informa said 59 countries have mobile penetration of over 100 percent — where some owners have more than one phone.

According to the International Programs Center of the U.S. Census Bureau, the total population of the world reached 6,634,294,193 on Thursday.

At the same time 2,571,563,279 people were using the most widely used mobile technology, GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), according to global trade body GSM Association.

The second largest mobile technology, CDMA, had 421.4 million users at end September.

The North America is the biggest market for CDMA. I think that is one of the reasons why the US is not keeping up with the rest of the world so far as mobile technology is concerned.

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QR Codes

Are QR codes leading the way to interactive learing on mobile phones?

QR codes seem to be big news in some circles.

With as many as 60 million phones around the world with QR code readers installed, QR codes are gathering recognition.

QR Codes are the ‘2D’ bar codes that are becoming increasingly popular. These are already being used in education, I mentioned them earlier as being used in ‘treasure hunt’ style learning activities in schools. Here’s a couple of links

“…you can scan the code, and your mobile device will fire up a web page. Wow.”
wikipedia QR Code
clicmobile.com blog, Mobile 2.0 Categories: QR-codes
Macdonalds introduces qr codes on its sandwiches in Japan

eLearning Guild QR coded their DevLearn eLearning conference guide/
Research Paper: Using Mobile Phones and QR Codes for Formative Class Assessment
Hitoshi Susono, Tsutomu Shimomura

I separated out the last two as they are more associated with mLearning, whereas the others are flag-waving or marketing…

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Wellington Zoo (New Zealand) is using advanced mobile technology to advertise the zoo

With this imaginative fusion of mobile and virtual technologies, you’ll never see your phone in the same light again!

I found this on the Mobile Learning blog.

This video demonstrates what can be achieved by the convergence of mobile and virtual technologies. Created as a promotion for Wellington Zoo (New Zealand), it allows printed codes to “come to life” using a mobile phone. As you move your mobile phone camera around the code, a virtual 3D model rotates, pans and zooms as if it were an invisible spectre standing on the surface, viewable only through the camera lens:

View the entire article

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I’ve been interested in mLearning for the last 5 years

Since long before it was called mLearning. Following is an extract from my MSc thesis, written at the start of 2006, discussing mLearning.


Research has show that PDAs, mobile phones and other mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular as tools for delivering training and education resources. The popularity as given rise to the term mLearning – mobile learning (Steve Chi-Yin Yuen, 2004, Harry Ketamo 2002 and others).

This project explores the use of PDAs as devices that can deliver highly interactive training to users. In addition to researching existing projects the developer has created a proof-of-concept application that demonstrates the potential of PDAs as tools for delivering highly interactive and engaging training applications.

The resulting product successfully shows the potential of the PDA as a method of delivery of a complete multimedia educational application.

1 Introduction

Over the last few years the PDA has evolved from an electronic address book to a powerful and versatile pocket computer. Where once it was amazing to see one of these machines hold more than 100 names and addresses, they are now commonly used to surf the internet, read email, read books, play music, play video, read and create ‘office’ documents such as word processor, spreadsheet and presentation documents and control the television in place of the manufacturer’s remote control and play highly interactive 3D games. With expansion cards, a high-end PDA can carry as much as 8Gb of storage. 1Mb is enough for an 800 page novel. 2Gb is ample space for thousands of documents, 25 albums worth of music, or around 25 hours of video.

The mobile phone has also evolved – from a brick-sized device, to one small enough to hide in the average pocket. The cheapest mobile phone has a sophisticated address book, can handle email, sending and receiving text and multimedia messages and will synchronise contact, calendar and message information with PC or laptop systems. “Texting occurs within and between nearly every social situation—driving, going to the theatre, attending classes—despite the abhorrently kludgey interface” (Bryan Alexander 2004). In addition to these features in ‘ordinary’ mobile phones, newer super phones, called Smartphones, are appearing in phone retailers. These phones combine all the power of the best mobile phones with the power of a mid-range PDA.

Owners of cell phones and PDAs do not usually know all that their devices can do because they have become very powerful devices. As the ubiquity of the PDA grows, now that every phone is essentially a PDA too, developers, users, businesses and schools are looking for ways to harness that power to improve their lives and productivity. Training is already an important target function, spawning the term mLearning, as can be seen by the wealth of academic literature on the subject.

Much of the current literature concentrates on delivering web-based content, (for instance Stephen J.H. Yang et al 2003) in part because it can be efficient in terms of file size. High-capacity, cheap memory cards mean it is possible to deliver large quantities of training to mobile devices by removing the need for an internet or network link. With individual memory card capacities are available with as much as 4Gb are affordable for consumer use, and as much as 12 Gb for the business or military applications , these cards have room for significant amounts of high-quality video and other multimedia. The Encyclopaedia Britannica already produces a PDA-friendly version on SD card.

Follow this link to view a larger extract Steve_Howard_MSc_EXTRACT.pdf

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I’ve been pre-occupied with a number of things for the last year or so

And the Blog suffered for it.

But times they are a changing. With the end of development of Authorware announcement from Adobe, the eLearning industry is making some changes. At least, the niche I’ve been best known for over the last ten years is changing 🙂

Watch this space as I move forward into new things.

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