mobile applications


The folks over at EduCause has published another publication in their 7 Things You Should Know … series. This time it is about mobile apps used for learning and like all the other publications in the series the go through :

  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and
    learning?
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name the next MAKE tool by pt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  pt

Over at the Speak Quietly blogs there is a really useful post called Online Tools Your Library Needs Now & Why.

It talks about different technologies that libraries can use to connect better to their users and gives helpful stats and implementation examples. Some of the technologies may be “old” but they can still be useful and fun to try!

  1. Text a librarian
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. iPhone App
  5. Meebo
  6. Blogger
  7. Flickr
  8. Twitter

It’s a really useful and practical post.

The iLibrarian posted a list of 10 mobile technologies that we should all keep an eye on this year and the next taken from a report by Gartner Inc.

Some I’ve heard of, but others not and I think it would be a good idea to try to read up on each one, don’t you?

  1. Bluetooth (3 and 4)
  2. The Mobile Web
  3. Mobile Widgets
  4. Platform-Independent Mobile AD Tools
  5. App Stores
  6. Enhanced Location Awareness
  7. Cellular Broadband
  8. Touchscreens
  9. M2M
  10. Device-Independent Security

Twitter reached it’s 10 billionth tweet the other day and Mashable designed a great infographic to show the evolution of the tweet.

Need to know more about Mobile IT? Then read this EduCause report on the 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile IT.

Here are the important bits:

1. What is it?

Mobile IT both reflects and drives the convergence of applications and functionality on smaller and smaller devices. The notion of mobile IT is also tied to issues such as cloud computing and federated identity, which help enable secure access to IT tools and resources from remote locations and multiple devices.

2. How does it work?

Mobile devices use cellular networks, Wi-Fi, or both, and many have touch-screen interfaces. Operating systems vary, and support for software such as Java and Flash is mixed. Just as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all device, so too do current and emerging examples of mobile applications span a wide range.

Mobile applications can be built using device-specific toolkits, often resulting in more functionality, but applications that use browser software work on a wider range of mobile devices.

3. Who is doing it?

College and universities offer many types of information and services online, and many are good candidates for mobile IT. Aside from numerous academic uses, institutions have undertaken initiatives in areas of administration, library services, and campus life. Having a single point of convergence for these several channels of communication presents an opportunity for institutions to integrate messaging services, including emergency  notifications.

4. Why is it significant?

Ownership of cell phones is approaching ubiquity, with growing numbers of smartphones and sophisticated mobile devices. Because mobile IT is fast becoming a part of some professional practices, an institutional choice not to pursue mobility is increasingly untenable. Student expectations for mobility are rising, and mobile IT efforts are an important part of keeping an institution’s online services competitive.

5. What are the downsides?

Converting to mobile IT is
not simply a process of miniaturization, and many institutional IT staffs lack expertise in redesigning websites or applications for a mobile context. As a result, although many institutions are dipping their toes into the waters of mobile IT, best practices don’t exist to serve as a guide.

6. Where is it going?

Colleges and universities will continue to convert applications and services to mobile formats, generally at a cautious pace. Vendors will increasingly offer their products and services in mobile formats. Institutions will seek to understand how to integrate mobile IT effectively into campus culture, and development is likely to accelerate around location-based mobile IT services and the capabilities of touch interfaces.

7. What are the implications for Higher Education?

Given that mobile IT is working its way into many professional activities, colleges and universities have a responsibility to develop learning environments that model those kinds of practices. Mobile IT can develop into a specialized field of study, and some institutions already offer courses on development of mobile applications.

Sony PRS-505 by florianmarquart, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License
HighWire released the E-Book survey 2010 this week and while some of the findings are not entirely new (simplicity and ease of use are ebook features that are valued by librarians, over and above more sophisticated end‐user features) it really includes some interesting stuff.
Here are a few of the highlights:
  • Traditional sources of book discovery continue to be important for ebooks as well. Librarians find and learn about ebooks from book vendors and by inclusion in content bundles. They believe that users discover ebooks through the library catalog and through Internet search engines.
  • Participants indicated that users prefer ebooks in PDF format, but as one participant stated, format preference will change as technology changes.
  • Digital rights management is the single most important factor that hinders ebook use for library patrons.
  • Purchase with perpetual access is the most acceptable business model for ebooks, with 83% of participants indicating that this model is very acceptable. However, significant numbers of participants indicated that other very different models are also acceptable.
Survey responses indicate that librarians learn about ebooks in a variety of ways, but that actions by publishers and book vendors are very important in the process. Book vendors and inclusion in content packages were most frequently marked as very significant methods for learning about ebooks. However, these methods were also frequently marked as significant or very significant: request from patron (54), colleagues (57), reference in the research literature (56), inclusion in content package (74), book vendor (77), and publisher marketing material (68).
Users discover ebooks through the library catalog and through Internet search engines
It really is worth reading!

I love the iLibrarian as she always posts very useful stuff. Like this morning’s post 10 Great Tools to Create a Mobile Web Version of Your Site:

Tom Walker at Spyre Studios reviews 10 Great Tools to Create a Mobile Version of Your Site. Each entry in the list includes a screenshot and features discussion. If you’re considering creating a mobile site for your organization you’ll want to check out this list as well as the suggestions in the comments.

Some of Tom’s suggestions are subscription based, but most are free to use. And the comments section has some great suggestions as well.

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