Thursday 29 January 2009

How do develop web content on the iPhone

The next couple of months I will be working with colleagues from Peru (Luis Fucai, Ellar Llacsahuanga and Carlos Kiyan) on a mobile learning project (funded by the Reach initiative, Tibotec grant) that involves iphone's and NokiaN95's for physicians in Peru. The choice of the phones that are used in this project was primarely given by the types of mobile devices that were supported in Peru and the preference of people involved.
Because of the successful marketing the iPhone was first on the list of many physicians, nevertheless we wanted to opt for a broader aray of mobile operating systems and so the symbian driven Nokia N95 was added.
The biggest disadvantage of the iPhone is the non-flash and non-java options, definitely limiting a wide aray of mobile interactivity, but ... sometimes the learners choose which technology will be used and then it is up to the mobile deliverers to see what they can come up with (tough).

Mobile modules will be developed that offer lifelong learning to physicians working on HIV/AIDS.

Working with different phones and different operating systems is a challenge that we wanted to take upon us. So along the way I will give feedback on the hurdles we take during the development of these courses.

The first hurdle: developing web content on the iPhone
A great resource of how you can tackle this is this blogpost (first part) and this one (second part) of the fabulous Soulsoup blog with Anol Bhattacharya who works as COO at getIT in Singapore.

He gives some great pointers:
  • how you can make your websites more iPhone friendly (pasting from his post);
  • How to test your iPhone content;
  • How to design web content ‘made for iPhone’;
  • ...

He also offers a lot of links, of which I really like the iwebkit, Iwebkit is the revolutionnairy kit used to create high quality iPhone and iPod touch websites in a few minutes. In the first 4 months of it's existance the pack has greatly evolved from a basic idea to a project that has reached worldwide fame!

If you are into iPhone content delivery, these two posts are definitely a great resource to start with.

Monday 26 January 2009

the Horizon report 2009 from Educause

The Educause Horizon Report for 2009 has just been published. It makes predictions about the emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on education. This year's predictions are: mobile devices, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects (always linked with examples).

With its 36 pages it is a great report to read. Not always that surprising, but I bet you will be able to use some of the links to your benefit.

For more details see the full report

Friday 23 January 2009

Download the Woork free eBook on CSS, HTML, Ajax...

Antonio Lupetti who is a CSS guru, engineer, pro blogger, Mac user and Web addict, has written this great new book that saw the light of day on 3 January 2009. Antonio lives in Rome, Italy.

The Woork Handbook
is a free eBook about CSS, HTML, Ajax, web programming, Mootools, Scriptaculous and other topics about web design. It features 188 pages of great tips on all the mentioned topics and ... it is kept up to date because it is an UnBook (a book that is updated as new knowledge is evolving and is accessible through the Web).

It is a great book, with lots of goodies. Mille gracie Antonio!

This book is also featured in Scribd, a document sharing software I wrote about previously and which is worth a look and try.

Thanks to Anol from SoulSoup I got hold of this great unBook

Thursday 22 January 2009

Blogphilosophy: does the international eLearning we provide make the world a poorer place?

Jonathan Gosier who currently lives in Kampala, Uganda has just published a post on singularities of globalization and convergeance.

In his post he says that "Increasingly, people the world over share the same cultural moments. The Presidential Inauguration of U.S.A. President Barrack Obama on Tuesday was among the top events witnessed by more eyes on this planet than ANYTHING ever…in all of human history. This is not only due to the increasing number of methods available to consume media (the Web, Satellite TV, Digital TV, Mobiles etc.) but due to increasingly global nature of everything about us."

I agree with him that the USA is taking over once again. Although I am in favor of the president shift towards Obama, I do feel it is strange - and at the same time very meaningful - that a formality as an inauguration is headline news across the world. I cannot help but think that with Obama the US supremacy in the new world order has become clearer. In my opinion the supremacy of one nation (whatever nation it is or however it is called) is a loss for human diversity, human creativity and human knowledge creation. Do not get me wrong I love the creativity of Americans and their culture, but I also love other cultures and their creativity. This dichotomy in my thinking sometimes gets the better of me when I am asked to be involved in setting up eLearning projects in South countries.

With introducing eLearning in regions that are increasingly investing in technology I tend to feel a bit awkward. Promoting education for all is of course without doubt a good thing. But when that education is not constructed locally or with locally build technology, it makes learners and/or learner providers dependant on outside manufacturers, non-local educational methods and knowledge. For instance, if I am building a course I use software's, although I try to use the open source softwares as much as possible, I am sometimes seduced to working with commercial software for some reason I find valid at that time. So by delivering that type of eLearning courses, I am promoting indirectly the softwares (and supposed necessary connectivity) it needs to be viewed. The methodology used in these courses is also pushed, although other regions might benefit from their long lasting educational methods. By offering courses, regions might be seduced in getting the equipment necessary to follow these courses, so they buy technology that is in most cases sold from other - more dominant - regions. The same with the content. If content or one type of knowledge is pushed, don't we risk losing other valuable knowledge? In certain areas they use medicines from local plants, but if knowledge is pushed that disregards those local medicine techniques, they risk to be lost (just because the pushy knowledge people did not pick that specific knowledge up).
So although I want to promote knowledge, critical thinking, ... I indirectly help big companies from the north to sell their products to the south. So in a way I help to promote a monoculture. And monocultures are bound to fail in the longrun, because it is diversity that keeps all of us fresh and evolving rapidly.

If enabling learning is not a participatory process in which a diversity of methodologies, knowledge, personal insights can be exchanged and build upon, we risk losing the knowledge that is out there, yet not (fully) accounted for. That is one of the reasons why I am a promotor of participatory learning techniques. Nevertheless this doubt of whether or not I am doing the right thing keeps on popping up.

Thankfully I learn a lot from my colleagues in other regions. They come up with great solutions, find new hardware and software solutions that ease my mind, but still. Do we all need to learn the same things in the same world and consume the same things and as such disregard diversity? Is one culture a good solution for us all?

(Cartoon by Nick D Kim,

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Open and Free Seminar: Open Educational Resources: January 19 - February 8, 2009

This seminar is part of the free educational seminars that are organized by ScoPE, a Canadian resource with seminars on all kinds of distance education topics.

This seminar interests me because it will focus on open educational resources which is a topic that is both supporting education for all, as well as dubious if you consider that the most techy regions can publish much more material, hence push (inadvertadly) their regions agenda.

It is my believe (well, along with a lot of others out there :-) that online learning is opening up the traditional educational system and creates new spaces in which different cultural groups can explore their own educational methodologies and especially build their own content. This will in its turn deliver insights in different topics with a variety in content delivery methods that can be used by all at suitable moments in their life or professional sphere.

From the scope website:
Title of the seminar: Open Educational Resources: January 19 - February 8, 2009

Facilitator: Scott LeslieScott Leslie
The availability of Open Educational Resources is increasing almost daily. High quality learning materials from reputable institutions are available in many disciplines for both instructors to reuse or student self-study.

This seminar will explore ways to find resources, issues with creating and licensing them, and techniques for starting to share, both institutional projects and personally.

The seminar will be led by Scott Leslie. Scott manages the BCcampus Shareable Online Learning Resources service, the site, and is deeply involved with open content and personal learning.

Live Session
This seminar will kick off January 19 with a live session via Elluminate at 19:00 GMT, 11:00 a.m. PST (see world clock)

We are gathering our resources into a Wiki.

(Cartoon by Nick D Kim,

Monday 19 January 2009

Aluka: Building a digital library of scholarly resources from and about Africa

For those interested in Open Resources in Africa, a quickie. Since 2008 Aluka has build a strong portal for African resources. Although the contact address is situated in Princeton, USA, there are a lot of African partners. Especially if you are interested in botanical information, this is a great resource.

From their website: "Aluka's
success depends upon contributions of content from the global research and scholarly community. Aluka has benefited tremendously through contributions from dozens of partners and institutions around the world. These efforts have laid a strong foundation; by the beginning of 2008, the digital library included more than 320 000 digital objects. In the spirit of collaboration and partnership, we invite contributions from all segments of the academic community: faculty, researchers, libraries, repositories, archives, universities, learned societies, and publishers."

So if you have relevant information, you might want to upload information to Aluka.

Sunday 11 January 2009

eLearning predictions from across the globe

While roaming the net I came across a lot of predictions for 2009. While reading just a couple of predictions is fun, reading a variety of opinions and future visions gives a holistic idea of what lives in the minds of all these great eLearning people. Patterns do emerge.

It is amazing how up-beat most of the predictions are considering the gloomy economic shadow that haunts the world right now. Does it mean eLearners are more optimistic then the average person? Is it because we tend to look for the best? Or are we just happy people with so much bagage that nothing can stop us?

Maybe we could organize some sort of lotery? At the end of the year the people who got close to the achieved facts in 2009 wins.... an open source software?

A short link overview:
‘Cartoon by Nick D Kim, Used by permission.’

Tuesday 6 January 2009

My eLearning predictions for 2009

What will 2009 give us? Whatever we want it to give us, I imagine. And I imagine 2009 will give us: content, social media, educational policies and ... mobile learning.

First of all why should any of us learn? No matter how restricted your life has become, if you study you increase your chances to pick-up life once chances come along. My inspiring example: during imprisonment on Robben Island Nelson Mandela studied Bachelor of Laws from the University of London External Program. He never gave up hope and he kept investing in his knowledge and his future.

So let me give you my predictions for 2009. The media is filled with gloomy tidings these last few months. The world is in an economical crisis and both companies, organisations, institutions and especially the people in them will be affected by it. Traditionally eLearning, or training in general, is downsized during economically challenged periods... but will this be a wise thing in this case? No this time it would be the stupidest thing to do. Trust knowledge and expand it in your organisation.

I think that this time investing in (e)Learning will make or break companies and organizations. The world is evolving from an industrial age into a knowledge age, so content will become key in 2009. If a company can profile itself as a strong knowledgeable organisation/company, they will attract more people that are willing to collaborate with them. If your organisation is allowing its personal or employees to learn the latest in their field of expertise, it will make all the difference in any competitive market.

Partly because of this social media use will increase because it saves money as it keeps knowledge in a central place (quick retrievability, international access…). This is something all of the knowledge workers know, but that is not always seen as a positive evolution by management. But in this world one person no longer knows it all, it is our networks that make the difference and thanks to the networks knowledge workers and people around the world grow continuously.

Emerging and finalized educational policies will enable educational institutions to come to terms with new learning technologies. This will make a significant difference. In the past too much legislations suddenly banned new technologies (portables, cell phones, social media) from the classrooms. This resulted in a growing gap between the students' real life, their teachers and parents knowledge of new media and the new media that are out there. To ban new media from educational institutions will only result in bigger unwanted use of these new media. Policies can make students, teachers and parents aware of the dangers, but also of the benefits of using new technologies in the classroom.

Mobile learning will keep on growing. Especially in developing countries as landlines are skipped in those regions. Mobile learning is still missing solid educational frameworks and the use is not optimal yet, but ... more and more people use their mobile devices to get access to content and information.

I wish you all a fantastic 2009 in which you will see your wishes come true.