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  • mcquaid 9:01 pm on November 27, 2011
    6 votes
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    Tags: , , , , mobiles   

    Watch the rePhrase Elevator Pitch. Read the rePhrase Venture Pitch. Leave some constructive feedback. Thanks!            

    Continue reading rePhrase – A3 Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 13: Venture Forum
     
    • Jim 5:28 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen!

      Very cool elevator pitch and I was struck by the similarity between your product and my product in terms of the underlying rationale. Both of our products assist students who have difficulty making meaning from text. Yours rephrases to a different reading level. Mine automatically adds relevant images.

      Anyway, constructive criticism: Your video could be six seconds longer 🙂 That gives you time to do a 6-second mock-up of what the rephrasing application might look like. That is about the only thing I thought was missing. I thought the part where you spoke was well written, concise, and communicated all you needed to communicate in a very short time. And, VERY cool logo. Makes my logo look like a hack job!

      (BTW – Your venture proposal will be one of the three I will be reviewing in more detail tomorrow. Right now, I am looking at all 10 and making an initial post re: the elevator pitch.)

      • mcquaid 6:42 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Jim, you can probably appreciate how long it took me to make that logo! From start to finish, it was in the “hours” category. I looked for a site that made free logos & had free / stock images. Since a finished logo had to be paid for, I ended up copying my designed logo, complete with grid lines into a photo-editing program, and erasing the grid lines / colouring in pixels by hand! I like what I ended up with, but would also like it to be a bit sharper.

        You’re absolutely right about those lost six seconds… that’s 10% more time I could have used! The final take of me you saw, though, was self-shot-take number 27. I was happy with what I ended up with by then!

    • bcourey 5:22 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,

      I was really impressed with the logo as well for your venture. You are definitely addressing a problem teachers face – finding reading materials that are leveled to the ability of the reader. As a former literacy coach for our schools, I feel your pain. As schools and students purchase more and more e-books, I can see this becoming very useful – but in the meantime, scanning and uploading paper books will be a very time consuming tasks for teachers and parents and I am wondering if they would be willing to do that. Also, you might consider offering some literacy strategies for teachers to help them help students progress in their reading abilities – otherwise they could stay “stuck” at a particular level with little incentive or assistance in improvement. You have a great idea though and you show a lot of insight in your self-reflection!

      Brenda

      • mcquaid 6:44 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Brenda. Being “stuck” is a worry of mine, too. I think rePhrase, if it ever really worked, would be but one tool in an LA / resource teacher’s tool box. Starting out, I think it would just work best on newer texts that schools already have in electronic form. If desired enough, scanned copies would also work (and would hopefully be less glitchy than Kurzweil when it comes to fonts, indents, and the like). Thanks for the comments!

    • Allie 5:32 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,
      Your confidence really shines though – giving me confidence in rePhrase – and the name perfectly encapsulates what rePhrase does. I admit that for something as compelling as literacy, I do find your delivery a little… dispassionate? It feels very get-the-job-done-right, but I’m maybe wanting a bit more heart. I think i’ll be giving your VP a good close read, but from the EP, I’m thinking that in an American context the costs of students failing reading levels goes beyond just the costs of their having to re-take a year. Under No Child Left Behind, schools can lose funding if the target % of students don’t pass their levels. I should say, they *are* losing funding, they are being threatened with closure, they are having programs cut, and entire schools have been closed due to underperformance. Unsurprisingly, the schools suffering the effects of NCLB are in poorer areas. This question may be answered in your VP, but i’m wondering about access to this service… In an American context, my understanding is that schools are funded through property taxes, and so that the schools that will best be able to afford rePhrase are richer school districts; will the poorer districts be able to get this service that they need?

      • mcquaid 6:46 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Allie. I get the “dispassionate” thing. Maybe a little too Jedi, I was. I think I was trying to project confidence and capability / trustworthiness (so I’m glad that came through), but (as in real life, too), I could probably have used a bit more “oomph” as well.
        To address the “who can use it” comments, I wonder if it could be worked into rePhrase’s pricing /availability plan that schools ID’d as needier / poorer would qualify for discounts or even free licenses…

        Thanks for the thoughts!

    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 7:00 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am intrigued with your venture. As I went through you venture pitch I can see where it would be useful in my school since it could help students with reading problems. I like the fact that it actually make words simpler so that students can understand because many times students do not understand what they read and therefore may get “turned off” from reading. Although the idea encourages reading, I would add more options for rephrasing in an attempt to cater to the different multiple intelligences of learners. For example, probably I would include sounds and animation to hold readers attention to. Great concept!

      • mcquaid 6:49 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Keisha… maybe sounds and animations could be downloadable add-ons for the app, creating another source of revenue. Good thinking!

        You’re also right about the “turned off reading” point. I have students of mine in mind when I think of this program. I want them to feel capable, be able to read what everyone else in the class is reading, join in the conversation, and grow in their skills.

    • Juliana 9:29 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,

      You have an interesting idea here. I especially liked how you brought in all of the other educational research into your proposal. I think many times the reason why a venture falls flat is because they forget the basics.

      It also looks like you have done extensive market research on how this program can eventually grow. The fact that you took the time to do that would definitely sway an investor. I have not taught in the K-12 environment, but I can see where your product could be useful. I think I have always taken for granted my level of reading and comprehension and never really thought about the students who are struggling. As a result, I think your venture could provide a little bit of help to students who struggle.

      As with many of these ventures, it could be hard to gauge what people are willing to shell out their hard earned cash for. I do wonder if people would be willing to renew their license on a yearly basis, but that could be just my personal bias. I don’t like software or apps that do ask me to shell out money like that, but I think I am in the minority.

      Juliana.

      • mcquaid 6:52 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Juliana.
        My reasoning for the yearly license was for a few reasons, I think:

        – a program like Kurzweil is quite expensive (four figures around here). I wanted to price myself WAY below that, and make my product look quite enticing.
        – some classes / schools will need this program more or less over the years as students come and go. This would allow them to get it when they need it and not renew when they don’t.
        – the affordable yearly license would ensure I have a continuing source of revenue instead of a one-time purchase.
        – the program may get tweaked from year to year, so a new download / license would be as up-to-date as possible

        Thanks for the thoughts!

    • jenaca 3:10 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,
      I was really impressed with your pitch and the idea you created! You are definitely targeting a current problem that many schools are faced with today- Implementing and finding reading materials that are leveled accordingly to the meet the needs of students. I also think the name rephrase is perfect for your venture.
      Although I think you have a great idea and pitch here, I am a little unsure about the idea of having the teachers scan and upload the paper books. Maybe this is something you could add to your pitch?
      Otherwise, I think you have a great idea!!
      Jenaca

      • mcquaid 4:25 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        The scanning is something that crossed my mind about my idea as a drawback, as well – I figured I wouldn’t be the only person to think of it (as I see a couple have now). I think, where I saw the progression (whether I said it in my venture pitch exactly or not) was for the use with e-books first (no scanning needed), the use of scanned texts for those who really want them (it’s what we do with Kurzweil), and then… I imagined it as ultimately being something that would work best on a mobile. The user would use their mobile’s camera to see / capture text, and rePhrase would rephrase it for them. Google Goggles can translate… why can’t rePhrase reword?
        Hopefully that alleviates your concerns, my dear investor. 😉

    • jenaca 6:49 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      My concerns are alleviated!! 🙂
      I will be

      The Venture:
      rePhrase is the world’s first ever automatic text leveler and enabler of adaptive text. What rePhrase does is take text from a chosen reading level and adapt it (without changing meaning as much as possible) to make it readable for almost any reader. Taking existing school texts and eliminating the need for many differentiated materials makes things easier on teachers, students, and school budgets.

      Additional Information On How it Works:
      • rePhrase determines the reading level of a body of electronic text that someone wants to read
      • Next the reader will alter the difficulty with a sliding scale at the top of the interface
      • Once a new reading level has been established, the program will use the abilities of a thesaurus and grammar check to change the words of a text without changing its overall meaning or hurting its sentence flow
      • As students grow in ability, they can adapt or change the difficulty of the text to suit themselves

      My Thoughts:
      rePhrase is a well thought and developed idea. The elevator pitch includes the essential information to help me further my decision of investing deeper into this idea. The pitch included statistics, facts, was very precise about the idea and showed confidence. rePhrase definitely has a place in the educational market and have the potential to help schools improve their current reading scores. I believe for the future, this service could create their own reading line, which would enhance the status of this product and essentially create more revenue.
      Great Pitch!
      Jenaca

      • mcquaid 6:54 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks, Jenaca. I’m glad you’ve been convinced! 😉
        I also like your reading line idea… what a great source of dynamic products and constant revenue!

    • Jim 6:39 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi again Stephen,
      I wanted to delve deeper into your Venture Pitch and provide some feedback in the form of a brief EVA analysis. As a potential investor, I am looking in your venture pitch for a variety of information:

      Entrepreneur confidence:
      You exude confidence and calmness in your on camera appearance. Did that confidence continue into your longer Venture Pitch? I think it did continue because I saw arguments made for this product that are reasonable and interesting. You educational background is an asset but I would want to know who you have heading up the business aspects of the company.

      Good product that will be in demand:
      I think rePhrase is a great idea but the road to develop an app that can accurately and quickly rephrase text AND retain the original meaning will be a challenge. I think a successful app in this case would almost need to border on a kind of artificial intelligence (AI) that hasn’t quite been developed. Synonymous word replacement is straightforward but meaning variability, meaning context, word use variability, word connotation variability, and so on might change the meaning of rephrased text so drastically that the original message would be lost. (See honest about challenges below)

      How big is the potential client base:
      I like your market description and you are absolutely right about its potential. You mentioned several ways that the user base could be increased such as bundling with new tablets or other devices. That is a very good idea if a deal could indeed could be struck!

      Can the product compete successfully on the market:
      You rightfully mention that there is no competition although if I was going to invest in your venture, I might look at some of the AI work being done. There are algorithmic summarizers that do an excellent job with text and the more sophisticated ones might apply some AI algorithms that go beyond mathematical models most often used.

      Are you honest about challenges:
      Your pros and cons section speaks well of this. I think you are enthusiastic and excited but also in tune enough with reality to know the limitations. Obviously, if you were to go further, you would need to look into other patents and any other products that even comes close to your idea, including summarizers. You would also need to look at feasibility. Can an app really rephrase text in the way you describe? That is, an app that can written now (not ten years from now…).

      Investment risk?
      I think there is risk in the investment of this venture because, while the idea is very clear and the demand would be great and the problems solved would be significant, the road to the development of a successful product is not clear by any standard. I think your product, in order to be successful, would depend on yet to be developed AI components because your algorithms would have to somehow get a handle on the meaning of the text. Replacing synonymous simple words for more complex words will not work. My own knowledge of the AI research and history of AI failures over the last 60 years does not make me feel very confident.

      P.S. The point I make in the Investment Risk section above is one I would aim at my own Venture, too. BreakOut Illustrator has no clear path to development because I am not sure the technology exists yet to actually do what I want the programming to do.

      • mcquaid 7:01 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Jim.
        I’d like to know more about who would (like to) be in on this venture as well, to steer it into fruition. Anyone? Bueller?
        You’re absolutely right about the technological challenges. One of the strengths of my product is also one of its biggest challenges – its novelty / ground-breaking nature. These technological / AI challenges will definitely be a large hurdle. It’s a risk… but I really do wonder if it would be worth it. If someone (or group) out there thought it was possible (I think it must be, at least partially so, as I envision it), I’d gladly partner up to see it realized. Maybe I should talk to two of my Godparents’ sons… they recently had success on Dragons’ Den with their Honibe products.
        Thanks for your honest comments, Jim. It’s been great working with you and chatting with you throughout this course!

    • schiong 8:57 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi

      I like your rePhrase product.
      As I was going through your Venture Pitch, I was also thinking … “How can this be implemented? ”

      Few things came to my mind … database, theory of automata, and AI.
      I think the application / program is doable. I am tempted to write the code. But, that’s not my role today 🙂

      Now, what I am not certain is how much memory would the program require because it needs to look at how the words are put together … and look for a viable rePhrase without loosing its original meaning. But, this is minor.

      cheers,
      Steve

      • mcquaid 7:03 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Steve.
        I like your can-do / can-be-done attitude! Maybe you should contact me later with your programming hat on instead of your EVA one!
        It’s uplifting to hear that, maybe, the hurdles are surmountable.

        Steve

    • verenanz 11:20 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hello!
      I really love your idea. I am in China right now selling online ESL courses to students…and I can obvioulsy see the potential in your product…but I couldn’t “see” your video – I apologize.

      Your marketing and licensing agreement system seems to follow http://www.busuu.com. I would look to them for some ideas…
      Something that I felt that you were missing was how you would sell your product. Marketing overseas is cultually different than western countries – as I am sure you are well aware. Getting local schools to even “consider” different ideas – is extremely difficult. How will you get to that “billion”dollar market?

      That said, I think that you have a great idea and I really hope that it comes to fuition- because we would be interested in working with you….www.GlobalEd.ca

      Thanks,
      Verena:)

      • mcquaid 7:06 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Verena. I have looked at busuu before – earlier in this course, I think. Perhaps I should delve deeper into the site for some ideas. Thanks for the direction and positive comments. If something ever comes of this, I’ll look you up!

    • carmen 10:54 am on December 2, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great idea venture indeed, Stephen, and there’s definitely a need for this product. I know that for high schools in Vancouver, there are ESL social and ESL science classes, in which students simply can’t join the regular class because of their limited English comprehension skills. It is not easy to find reading materials with simpler language, and yet, teaches concept at the same level of difficulty that suits these students’ needs. The result is that sometimes students who move into the regular science class might find it difficult to adapt when other students of the same grade have learned the foundations in the previous grades. An app like rePhrase will help these teachers provide reading materials that is closer to the regular class (ex. Science 10) and better prepare these ESL students when they join the regular classes.

      One concern I have is how the program might deal with long sentences with complicated sentence structures. I often work with students who understand all the words, but couldn’t decode the meaning of the sentence when the words are put together.

      Another concern is about learning how to read… sometimes translation programs give us something that’s understandable, but not quite grammatically correct. It might take a while to perfect rePhrase.

      Since I don’t have the technical knowledge, I’m not quite sure if these problems can be solved with existing technology. However, I am convinced that this is a great idea and has a lot of potential!

      • mcquaid 8:00 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Carmen.
        Thanks for your encouraging remarks!
        I too, aside from my low-level readers, thought of immigrant students as a great target market – students at grade level mentally, but behind the pack in English. Allowing them to more easily access the content in classes they attend would be a great help to them.

        Long, complex sentences, phrasing (just think of the punctuation issues and possible shifts in meaning), and overall grammar are definitely big concerns of mine, too. I have no idea how to technically attack them… just how I’d like them to work!

        Thanks again for your e-props!

    • themusicwoman 9:20 pm on December 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Wow, Stephen. What a great concept. i especially like the logo. 🙂
      Agree with many of the sentiments already expressed but I have to say I really appreciate your research into this project. As well, I think I spent a lot of time going over your list of pros and cons at the end of your document. Kudos to you for putting it out there. Again. Wow. I appreciate the fact that it is a new product so much of your information is difficult to acquire.
      Thanks.
      michelle

      • mcquaid 8:02 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Michelle. Thanks for the compliment on the logo – I truly thought having a good one would lend some credibility to my venture. I remember looking at the Evernote pitch and thinking what the logo did for it – it makes it seem more real and memorable.
        Thanks for the rest of the comments, too… hopefully David reads them all before grading me! 😉

  • mcquaid 11:53 am on November 20, 2011
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    Tags: , mobiles, ,   

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/creators-canadian-designed-tablet-hope-bring-internet-entire-112507389.html Interesting venture-related article on a couple of Canadians hoping to get $60 tablets (running on $2/month limitless Internet plans that run on cellular networks) in the hands of the entire world. In a somewhat-related story, I was talking about augmented reality with a couple of musician friends of mine before a show yesterday (they […]

    Continue reading Tablets for several billion people… Posted in: Blog Café, Week 06: eBooks, Week 11: Mobiles
     
    • David William Price 7:21 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Read up on what happened with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project. It’s considered by some as a pretty massive failure because they didn’t budget for training people how to use the machines, or maintaining the machines, or providing necessary infrastructure for machines.

    • mcquaid 2:59 am on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m familiar with the project – even used one of the devices once. I haven’t read much about its downfall, though – maybe when I’m done of this program and have some extra time!

      • kstooshnov 2:16 pm on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Stephen,

        There was quite a lot of reading on the OLPC for ETEC 510, one of the core courses in the MET program. You could even develop an Augmented Reality entry for the UBC Design Wiki, if you are interested in taking this course sometime soon.

        Kyle

  • David Vogt 11:44 am on November 20, 2011
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    Tags: , FMN, mobiles,   

    I was tentatively planning to post my own A3 relative to one of my emerging ventures, but I’m not sure I’ll have time to create a pitch worthy of our upcoming Venture Forum (!). However, as one on my ventures fits comfortably into the Mobiles discussion I thought I’d introduce it here, possibly for good […]

    Continue reading A Venture for Accountable M-Learning Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
     
    • verenanz 1:13 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David….

      This looks really neat. Would I be able to use these kinds of Apps/services with my ESL students in China? Part of our focus, is to offer BC Brand teaching and the BC curriculum. I’m assuming that your partners would be in BC? Would this mean that students from all over might be able to experience BC field trips through m-learning?

      I would love to learn more….if my assumptions are correct….
      Verena 🙂

      • David Vogt 2:16 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Verena –

        The Internet is essentially the same everywhere, yet one of the unique features of m-learning in this context is that it couples intimately with specific real-world contexts. In other words, these apps will be very place-specific: they will be available from anywhere but essentially meaningless and inoperable except in the place(s) in which they are staged. So this approach to learning will work anywhere, but these specific apps will only work here. While this might sound ‘limiting’, the learning benefits of coupling directly with everyday experience are enormous…

    • David William Price 7:19 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      “think in terms of field trips staged on mobile devices where each portion of the lesson plan requires some action by the learner at some place in the real world, and each step of the learning journey is validated and ‘scored’ in real time”

      Very cool! This is the kind of m-learning creativity I’ve been pushing for this week… leveraging the affordances of mobile to support and encourage going out into the real world to learn (rather than doing a lot of reading on a tiny screen).

      Thanks very much for sharing!

    • khenry 9:16 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Really great David V. I am very interested. And yes David W-P I think it is a great example that frames your questioning this week. I particularly like the aspect of situated cognition and contextual learning while being interactive, engaged and empowered through technology in real world, real time activities.

      Kerry-Ann

    • hall 11:31 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David

      I absolutely like your network. I think it is a wonderful network in Jamaicans and other people from the Caribbean could definitely benefit from this project.

  • mcquaid 5:13 pm on November 14, 2011
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    Tags: , mobiles   

    What, when, where and how am I doing m-learning now? I’m not. If we are talking – as outlined in the intro – about cellphones, at least. I still have and use the only mobile device I’ve ever had – a circa-2001 Nokia. I have never felt that I needed or wanted a newer phone […]

    Continue reading Day 1 – Sedentary Learning Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
     
    • David William Price 7:49 pm on November 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      When you say “It’s my work that’s mobile”… what kind of work is that? Do you commute at all? Or have unproductive time?

      If someone else was paying for your mobile, would you use it as a performance support for your work? Have you ever found yourself away from your computer and needing a quick answer? What do you usually do?

      How do you feel about being “a sedentary learner”?

      Like you, I have a simple feature phone and I’ve never sent a text in my life. I spend far too much time in my home office despite having a MacBook Air. In a recent conversation with a multinational professional firm, though, I’ve been told they don’t even have offices and they’re expected to spend all their time with clients. Similarly, another major professional firm I spoke with last year said the same thing even about their legal team… if they want to use an office, they have to schedule it.

      What do you think about a mobile future?

    • mcquaid 12:51 pm on November 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi, David. To answer your queries:
      – I teach in a K-8 school. I drive myself about 20km each way every day. That’s my only forced unproductive time.
      – If someone else paid for me to have a mobile at work, I would try to use it – at work only, perhaps. I like not being tied to a phone in some ways.
      – If I find myself away from a computer and need a quick answer, I wait until I get to one, and hope that I remember what I needed to do / look for. If I don’t, it probably wasn’t very important anyway.
      – I don’t mind being a “sedentary learner”. It’s how I was brought up / taught. I wouldn’t mind being dragged into the current decade… I’d like to have a smallish tablet, but mostly for reading online and email. I don’t think I’d ever want to learn much more than bite-sized things on a phone.
      – As for a mobile future… I think there will always be a mix of smaller and larger devices… perhaps they will just get more specific in terms of what people use them for – more specialized (I think they already are in many ways). I believe we will continue to get more and more mobile, though (at least up to a point), as devices get smaller, less obvious, and more built in to what we already may have / use / wear.

    • hall 12:44 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi mcquaid ,

      I understand reason that someone would use of a circa-2001 Nokia instead of a more expensive and updated model. I got myself a Blackberry because of a promotion that one of telecommunication companies in Jamaica had last year October for tertiary institutions. If this was not the case I would not have gotten a phone of this quality.

  • kstooshnov 2:01 pm on November 14, 2011
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    Tags: keitai, , mobiles   

    I was fortunate to live in a country consumed with mobile technology, and witness the evolution of keitai a few years before smartphones were on the market.  Many people in Japan had a very personal connection to these devices, mostly flip phones, decorating them and dangling the many charms from their pockets – an entire industry […]

    Continue reading Back from Keitai-land Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
     
    • David William Price 4:43 pm on November 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks very much for your post.

      Japan is extraordinarily mobile-focused. My partner is Japanese and it never fails to surprise me how her family does not use computers at all but relies on their cellphones for all of their email needs. On the other end of the technological and economic spectrum, India and Africa similarly depend on cellphones for access to the Internet and social media. One chooses it for aesthetic reasons, the other out of necessity.

      Perhaps the most surprising thing is despite how sophisticated modern cellphones are, previous generations provide substantial options for m-learning, as you’ll see in the coming days.

    • David William Price 5:03 pm on November 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I should be asking what it is about the Japanese cellphone experience that you miss so much? How do you feel about m-learning in the Japanese context? In North America? Do you see any differences?

      • kstooshnov 8:57 am on November 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi David,

        Thanks for your reply, as well as starting off this engaging discussion on cellphones and learning. Now that I know your partner is also Japanese, your comment last week on her critical thinking, adaptation and creativity as a chef make complete sense; not only were the Japanese people I met in Kanazawa experts in mobile technology, but had a fascination of good food that makes celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, Rachael Ray and Wolfgang Puck seem like amateurs. The most common question anyone got when they returned from a trip somewhere in Japan was “what did you eat?” This enthusiasm for food, travel and finer things translates easily into the love of well-crafted, useful technology, such as their cellphones.

        What I miss most about m-learning in the country was how ubiquitous it is, evidence of creativity could be found everywhere, but usually treated as no big deal. North America is still getting to that point where daily use of the latest innovation is as commonplace as it is in Japan. Perhaps it might have something to do with the freedom to network: in Japan, learning how to use a cellphone is very decentralized, each person literally taking learning into their own hands. North Americans are still being sold on the concept, and look to their newspapers, TVs and computer screens for the expert’s advice, or the market, to determine how they will learn. As Prof Vogt reminds us, educational technology is a “get rich slow” market, but it was clear to me in Japan they have already raised the bar for m-learning.

        Kyle

  • andrea 6:50 pm on September 27, 2011
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    Tags: , , mobiles   

    Fingerprint Play creates mobile learning applications for touch-screen devices for four- to seven-year-olds. They describe themselves as “the first mobile learning and play network for kids and their grown-ups” (Fingerprint). The “My Big Kid Life” applications allow kids to explore the skills associated with popular grown-up professions [fire fighter, veterinarian, and fairy princess (?)], while learning […]

    Continue reading Fingerprint Play Posted in: Week 04: Entrepreneur Bootcamp
     
    • jenaca 5:52 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Andrea,
      This looks like a very interesting device and I am definitely interested in learning more about it. I wonder what the market is currently like for this technology and if there is anything else similar to it?
      I agree with your reflections, this venture does seem very commercialized as it does have a team surrounded by the media world, however, all the power to them!!
      Great find,
      Jenaca

    • jarvise 10:06 am on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Andrea,

      My kids love using their Tag Reading Pens (from Leapfrog), and love using the ipad when they can get their hands on it. I think there is a very large market for interface design that is geared at kids. Check out Starfall.com for an example of a product that is well-designed for kids. They have sparkles around the spots that are supposed to be clicked next, extra large arrows to move to the next page, and a large ‘x’ up in the top corner to close the window. After watching my 3 year old learn how to use the computer on this site, I was super impressed.

      I wonder what the marketing will look like for this product – I’m sure it will likely be slick with some of the people resources they have on their team. Often, good educational sites (often designed by teachers) are slow to catch on due to lack of marketing. I’m thinking that if this is an effective product, AND has an effective marketing team, it will be a real money-maker.

      Emily

      • andrea 9:04 pm on September 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Emily, thanks for the info on Starfall.com. Nice clear, colourful, and intuitive design. I can imagine how appealing that would be for little people.
        Fingerprint Play is launching in October, so it will be interesting to see the marketing. As you say, I’m sure it will be well done considering the team. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you can’t sell it (as we’re seeing in this course).

    • bcourey 3:57 pm on September 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      She has certainly lined up an impressive team that makes the venture look very appealing…and reaching out to the kids’ market is very wise!

      • Doug Smith 3:41 am on October 1, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Yes, from a management structure point of view it looks like MacIntyre has put together a very strong team. It would be very interesting to see what kinds of numbers or data this group had at their disposal when designing their products. Surely they have identified a big hole in an emerging market!

  • khenry 8:22 pm on September 15, 2011
    0 votes
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    Tags: 2011 Top 10 IT issues, , mobiles   

    Summary The report Educase 2011 Top 10 IT issues is a report on a survey conducted to identify the  Top-Ten IT Issues critical for strategic success within educational institutions, 2011, and discusses each issue from the position of IT administrators and IT considerations. However, the information is presented in easy to understand terms for all […]

    Continue reading Educase: 2011 Top 10 IT issues: Potential for predictions and trends/considerations for learning technologies Posted in: Week 02: The Edtech Marketplace
     
    • themusicwoman 9:24 pm on September 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great post and I agree that this is something that many people would benefit from.

    • jenaca 4:12 am on September 18, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I agree, great post!! This is definitely something that many people would benefit from. It is such an interesting site and has so much information!

  • Karen Jones 9:51 am on September 13, 2011
    0 votes
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    Tags: , , , , higher education, , mobiles,   

    To the average educator, the pace at which new technologies appear may be overwhelming. The 2011 Horizons report has narrowed down the number of technologies judged most likely to impact teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education over the next 4 years, from a list of 50 to a more manageable top 6. SUMMARY […]

    Continue reading NMC 2011 Horizons Report: A critical analysis Posted in: Week 02: The Edtech Marketplace
     
    • kstooshnov 5:23 pm on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Karen,

      I’d be interested to hear which of the technologies make the cut in your pro-d presentation, and if possible, bring these ideas to your North Van home for the teachers there. NMC’s Web version is amazing, isn’t it?!

      Kyle

    • bcourey 5:38 pm on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I too appreciate the breadth of the Horizon report (but like the Navigator even more now that I have explored the site) and we have used it in our department planning meetings when selecting what tools we would include in our blended learning projects. I will definitely look for the K-12 edition you are referring too. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • Everton Walker 8:44 pm on September 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Karen Jones,

      Interesting report. However, do you think the 6 selected technologies with be significant globally or just in a few locations? Even though it qualitatively done, I would really like to see some stats to get a better understanding of what actually took place and reasons for decision taken.

    • Deb Giesbrecht 5:24 am on September 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      It is interesting that they focus on higher education versus K-12. Wondering if that is a more economically viable environment? or is that where many of the technological changes are seen?

    • Angela Novoa 9:18 am on September 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Deb, I was wondering the same thing. I posted a critique about ELI’s 7 Things you should know about… and I had the same sense….
      Karen, About your ideas, I also read the NMC report and two things that kept my attention was that they specified who were behind this report and that its focus is global.

      Angela

  • David Vogt 8:19 pm on September 1, 2011
    15 votes
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    Tags: , mobiles   

    According to a recent report from mobile manufacturer Ericsson, studies show that by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet will be doing so from mobile devices. Perhaps more important for education, Internet capable mobile devices will outnumber computers within the next year. In Japan, over 75% of Internet users already use a mobile as […]

    Continue reading Mobiles Posted in: Emerging Markets Poll
     
    • Karen Jones 4:23 pm on September 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Given these days of budgetary restrain that plague many school boards, I believe that exploiting the proliferation of student-owned mobile devices could reduce the pressure of providing and servicing school-owned computer hardware and software.

    • David William Price 7:50 am on September 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am way behind on mobiles but I took my iPad downtown the other day and when we needed to know what to do when plans didn’t work out, our connection to the Internet and location services saved the day. I think this is a great avenue for providing just-in-time information for problem solving. I would love to see a situation with far more real-world problem-solving and relying on connectivity to get the data required to do it.

    • verenanz 8:57 pm on September 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am hoping to pilot an Apps for Android use – based on ESL conversations. It might not happen though as the developer is trying to get funding….It was all based on an App that had the user having a conversation with Santa, by texting answers on their phone…

    • themusicwoman 9:45 am on September 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Four years ago, I used my cell phone for emergency purposes only. I used to get chastised for never having my cell on. Now, I text, email, chat, talk, prepare lesson plans, connect online for MET courses, order school supplies, shop, make reminder notes, and if I really wanted to, turn on the lights at home even though I’m not there. And I’m in agreement with Karen that there would be less of a burden on schools to provide up to date and serviceable hardware/software. (Don’t get me started on district IT, sigh.)

    • andrea 12:02 pm on September 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Mobile learning has the potential to provide anywhere, anytime learning and support for almost every topic – it can be a guide or text in your pocket that has huge opportunities for just-in-time learning.

    • mcquaid 8:53 am on September 11, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Whether it be a tablet or a mobile / smart phone, technology that is multipurpose (or condensed, in a sense) may do more for students (dictionary, internet, apps, etc.) at less cost to a school – especially if students use their own or rent / pay for the use of school-issued ones, similar to instruments in a band program.

    • Deb Kim 7:41 pm on September 11, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      It’s more convenient to use a mobile phone than a computer or laptop. Easy to carry around and to have access. I agree with my coursemates that mobile technology will do more for students.

    • hall 8:37 pm on September 12, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Over last three years I have noticed more students at my institutions using phones that have internet access. The students sometimes used their phones to access the internet or carry out computations. Hence, I think mobile will be a useful medium for online learning. Students complete assignments while waiting at bus stop or in lines or during travelling. It is very convenient.

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