Importance of Mobile Technologies
The high level of interest in use of mobile technologies by higher educational institutions is apparent from the popularity of the recent Eduserv Symposium 2010: The Mobile University.
As described by Andy Powell in a post on The implications of mobile… or “carry on up the smart phone” which summarised the event, Chris Sexton (IT Services Director of the University of Sheffield and the opening speaker at IWMW 2010) felt that “the question is not, ‘can we afford to support mobile?’ but, ‘can we afford not to?’“.
But what are the issues which need to be addressed? And what can we learn from existing work in this area across the sector?
A plenary talk by Damian Steer, ILRT, University of Bristol on “Mobile Web and Campus Assistant” will use the Mobile Campus Assistant as a case study. This was created by staff at ILRT, University of Bristol in order to “make time and location sensitive information available to students via their mobiles and location-aware smart phones. For example, where is the nearest available PC? When is the next bus to the hall of residence? Which library is open now?“. The talk will also provide an introduction to the mobile web, examine the capabilities of current mobile phones, how they are being used and who uses them.
There will be a number of workshop session on use of mobile technologies at the event, each lasting for 90- minutes including:
- A session on “Location Based Services Without the Cocoa” will explore the potential of (smart phone) mobile devices which have location sensors such as GPS, compasses and accelerometers and how this has generated an explosion of new location- based services ranging from simple navigational maps to augmented reality.
- Another session on “Stylesheets for mobile/smartphones” will explore the ways in which stylesheets can be used which will give a better experience for users of mobile devices.
- A session on “Mobile Apps vs Mobile Web” will explore how the Mobile Web is shaping up to deliver critical institutional information and address questions such as “Where does teaching and learning come in?” and “Do we need an app for that?“
- “Designing, developing and testing a location aware learning activity using QR Codes” which will highlight another aspect of mobile technologies – how QR Codes can provide a low threshold technology for the creation of interactive, location aware learning activities, including applications such as campus or building induction tours, health and safety tutorials in lab, and off- campus learning activities.
We have scheduled these workshops so that two of the sessions take place on Monday 12 July with the other two on the following day to ensure that those with a particular interest in mobile technologies will be able to choose from a number of options.