Sue Waters Blog

Mobile Web Usage is Increasing – How Will You Use It With Students?

| 6 Comments

This week I will be doing a series of posts on the use of mobile technology in education. Yesterday I asked the question are UMPCs Going to Convert Courses from Paper Based to Digital?

So today – I want to know how do you plan to use the Mobile Web with students?… and I will show examples of how educators are currently using it with studmtwitterents.

What is the Mobile Web?

The Mobile Web refers to accessing the Internet from mobile devices such as mobile phones, smartphones (full featured mobile phone with personal computer functionality – no touch screen), Blackberry and PDAs (handheld computer – many have phone functionality – has touch screen e.g. Pocket PC, Palm Pilot).

Companies are now creating mobile specific web sites (i.e. mobile version of their web sites that works better on mobile devices) so that their site loads quickly and are usable for small screen with limited navigation.

The Mobile Web usage will increase in importance because:

“Mobility right now is like the Internet was in 1996; then everyone discounted the Internet, or worried that it would just encourage employees to play games”. Smartphone and PC Magazine

How Educators are Using the Mobile Web

Monash University

Monash University gives their students in Australia, Malaysia and South Africa who are studying Web Systems the option to access their course material on PCs or PDAs (running Windows Mobile 5 or Windows CE).

This is what it looks like on PC

onPC

This is the same page on a PDA

onPDA

If you have a PDA check it out for yourself at Walkabout u-Learning

How I use the Mobile Web with Students

  • Currently I access the Mobile Web in classes on my PDA – if I can not answer a question – I can instantly google the topic
  • The college is currently setting a wireless network – eventually I hope that students will be able to access the Internet on the class set of PDAs 89238359_e959ece3c7_m

Challenges of the Mobile Web

If accessed on a mobile phone there are only 12 button keypad – with no mouse for navigation

  • If you access the mobile web through your phone it is not cheap – good news costs decreasing. So in the short term I would not expect my students to pay to use it on their phones. Also good to know Australia is ahead of America with the Mobile Web!
  • We also need to realise people use the Mobile Web differently from the Internet on a computer. So if we plan to take advantage of it we need to take this into account!
  • Screen size on typical mobile is 160 and 240 wide and 200 to 360 pixels

Check out this great SlideShare by Nick Cowie where he shows how much you would see on a mobile device if the web site does not have a mobile version on their site. Also check out my podcast of Nick Cowie talking about the Mobile Web.

[slideshare id=72591&doc=problems-with-the-mobile-web-barcamp-perth-20072055&w=425]

What are your thoughts on the using the Mobile Web with students?

  • Are you currently using the Mobile Web with your students? If so, how?
  • If you are not using it with students – how do you think you could?
  • What impact do you think Mobile Web will have in education?

Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

6 Comments

  1. Hi Sue, although I don’t work directly with learning I find this is fascinating! I think that mobile technology will play a much bigger place in the future and we need to be able to harness and make it usable and effective for our users be it readers or students etc. Thanks for a great article!

  2. Pingback: Mobile Technology in TAFE » Blog Archive » How are we going to effectively use the mobile devices in our student’s pockets?

  3. Mobile web for fun and surfing = novelty value.
    Mobile web as ui for access to resources = business.
    I consider (my site) blocklayer.mobi as simply a mobile way to access the resources that also run on desktop, PocketPC and desktop browsers (blocklayer.com). Having access to calculations and plan designers in your pocket on a construction site saves time and money. Maybe you should teach students to be able to distinguish between using their mobile devices as a novelty (fun) and actually doing something useful with them.

  4. Good point Greg and I agree we need to start educating our learners how mobile devices can be used for applications like yours.

    Sue

  5. Pingback: Mobile Technology in TAFE » Blog Archive » STOP, LOOK, THINK - What Is Material Really Going To Look Like on A Mobile Device

  6. Thanks for the information! I agree.

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