Questions Seeking Answers In 2006

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Alex Hayes

Jan 4, 2006, 7:19:24 AM1/4/06
A number of players are starting to raise their heads in the Australian mobile content aggregation field and I'm curious as to whether anyone else is dealing with either telco's that farm out their 'business' to the aggregator groups or anything similar in the workings of their day. It could have ended at that - a simple question and some polite replies however I have more.
You will have to excuse the ramble but this will remain known as the classic 10.30 pm stream-of-conciousness download for the day.

There has been some innovative uses of mobile advertisements by 3 and a number of innovative mobisodes and so with 'Digital Journeys' and mobile film festivals with Vodafone etc.  in 2005 but the latest offerings of 'burst' packet invasive, disruptive mobile enabled technologies that is really doing my head in. Not heard of the concept yet ? Has your mobile phone suddenly changed it's ring tone on you yet ? Ever wondered why a number of phone numbers are on your bill and yet you emphatically NEVER ever made them ? We need to ask questions of our mobile lifeline companies a little more often I think. In fact Smart cars are now GPS enabled - permanently tracked and performance encoded. Ever wondered why their is a dial pad built into the dash ? I certainly have wondered....and why can I now find puchases for coke cans from machines in strange cities that I've never been to also appearing on the bill ?
Short, punchy ( often racy ads.) arriving on enabled mobile devices (MMS/ GPRS) are now coming when you least expect it - from TAFE colleges of course and all highly educational ( not). Compelling, 20 second mobile video's which you can save to your hard drive ....thats right .....microscopic but Windows enabled. ..............timetables, results, mentor encouragment ditties......well , that could be a reality soon but I think we are a way off yet unless you inform me otherwise and I can see student generated re-packaging for interactive communication re-purposing here - in Australia - now - in schools as part of curriculum or workplace learning. I know of content to PDA's and any number of compliant coded players again for PDA's but mobile hand held phones ? Capped, locked in on plans blah blah. It's enough to contemplate not owning one.
Where's the coolest mob-podders hanging out these days ? Are we ready to Learnscope mobile phones yet ?
Another question for the early adopters - how many calls would your receive or make in a week that are entirely work related ? What would happen in you always turned off your phone the moment you 'left' work ? Or as was my case for many years what happened when your work almost entirely occured through it ? Is that why they now make mobile phones with a 16 field contact entry and up to 500 numbers ? So that your office is hiptop and you are more bedope than any funky teenager blowing their only credit rating even before they have earnt a cent to pay it off. Time to get rid of the laptop for teachers program and re-invest it in dragging our students out of telco debt.
Please tell me I'm wrong and that there are trials underway in 2006 that are examining and IMPLEMENTING curriculum using student generated re-purposed content - stuff that's theirs, about them - all delivered episodically or on demand via wireless handhelds ? Please tell me cause ' I want to play too - for free - for educational purposes - with lots of licences thrown in and free calls and no monthly trial periods. and are examples of those who do have technology and are using it with industry so shouldnt we as educators be contemplating doing the same? What are the ramifications of doing so ?

 I'm keen to explore who's dealing with whom in the virtual me-learning world as we now considering pushing interactivity all the way to subscription DVB-H in 2006. Is your school contemplating purchasing 16 hand-held sets for use in your classroom setting ? Are they all DVB-H enabled to recive synchronous newscasts from Sesame Street and trhe ABC at 1.00pm on a Friday when students have traditionally thrown lumps of clay onto the classroom ceiling to relieve themselves. I bet you are part of the 90 per cent statistic that says that in your school or college mobile phones are banned or discouraged from use. Makes me wonder how long it's going to take MP3 enable converged devices to become a college asset or will institutions go the simple way of registering the students mobile number and device type and factoring all content for mobile aggregation instead ? maybe a mixture of both ? none at all ? PDA's only ? the screen is too small ?
Mobile LMS you say ? Well - then we could whine and dine over the effects that pushing text ridden riddles to bored students is having .........24 / 7 .....always on....always learning like. Mobile wikis, cell-phedia and swarms are old hat so will we see RFID mobile dating and mobile location intelligence extend into everyday parts of the new educator tool kit ? Will ratings online extend to lecturers, adminstration and heaven fobid Via SMS voting ? Are we ready for VET Big Brother ?
Will we blog lunch and download new ringtones during afternoon tea from our students sites while they manage their own learning and collaborate on assessment in a teacher less world ? Are we all to become OEM machines constantly beeping and emitting short bursts of the latest electronic versions of Cher during dinner time with our MSN sponsored teenager children ?
On another more ethical note - are you paying through the nose for your mobile bill too ? Just the other day I sat with a colleague and who indicated that she was considering raising her call-cap to $150 - a month! Wow ! And I thought my $276 bill last month was a bit steep and thats not capped at all. Maybe I could now get rid of my landline and even get rid of the TV to boot ! What else can they push into these devices ?
Considering that telco's, content aggregators and other subscription-for-essential-communication services providers are sucking our young people ( and not so young people) dry so-to-speak it has occured to me upon reflection on the crazy journey of 2005, what on earth can I focus this years foray into the mobile virtual world upon?

 It's been staring me in the face all along and it's the ethical and moral considerations that these companies are NOT making when it comes to considering that people are now lost without their mobile contact, have assumed identity status with their mobile device and most importantly get charged through the nose for what is ESSENTIALLY simplecell servicing.
I've decide that my New Years revolution or my mission is to 'close-the-loop' for educators - affordably, equitably, considerably, easily and with as much fuss as possible. Failing that I'll forced to join the 16 billion dollar industry ( a month worldwide) and design beer advertisments for ravers who would be at Leigh's learning party which I would have disguised myself to attend.
Happy New Year folks and lets make TALO kick ass.
Yours in moblogging heaven.
PS. No I have not been drinking......yet.

Leigh Blackall

Jan 4, 2006, 6:31:53 PM1/4/06
Hey Alex! Great post! How badly do we need arts, media and design faculty on this list? I think your curriculum suggestions here Alex should be welcomed in such faculties. Why are teachers from those faculties always absent from eLearning initiatives. I'm yet to meet a single one at Learnscope or any other eLearning project! I haven't even heard of a design, media or arts course that is online here in Australia! Should we be approaching these faculties, or taking students from them to work on projects with other more innovative faculties?

As Rose has said, we need to find faculty who identify a need for these innovations. But I fear that the teachers we think will benefit from these ideas are not thinking this far outside the box, or don't have the flexibility afforded by their bosses. They are dealing with so much. Managers asking them to use their email, directors rolling out Share Point, endless presentations on 'innovative' uses of LMS, eResources, Knowledge Services, Flash, Blogs, RSS, oh boy! If I was close to retirement or just starting to get tired of my job, I'd be very harsh towards new ideas.

Perhaps what we need is to some how plug into the private providers to public education. I'm not talking about private training organisations - they have no time or money for R&D. I'm talking about those groups that take a syllabus, juice it up with fancy and engaging stuff, and tour the schools with it. They enjoy freedoms and flexibility that the schools do not. There are groups touring courses in digital video, circus performance, photography, media literacy... but I only know of groups servicing schools. I don't know of groups servicing tertairy colleges.

Thinking out loud... want to see this happen as much as you do Alex, but suspect traditional approaches are not going to give it a run... we need to find an Institute who will sponsor these ideas - as a Learnscope requires equal investment from an Institute.

Perhaps we should start a wiki page for the project ideas that are starting to get passed around here. If we polish the ideas there, then we can invite faculty to look through them and contact us if they want to run it...
Leigh Blackall
skype - leigh_blackall
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