Mlibraries 3 workshop leaners on the move a developers view March 2011

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Evolving content delivery for mobile learners workshop presentation on 7th March 2011 by Ben Hawkridge (Project Officer, Open University)

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Mlibraries 3 workshop leaners on the move a developers view March 2011

  1. 1. Learners on the Move – a developer’s view Ben Hawkridge KMi, The Open University 7 th March 2011
  2. 2. Some perspective <ul><li>Smart phone and PDA technology have been around a long time (first PDA 1992) </li></ul><ul><li>iPhone release in 2007 has since created strong mass consumer interest and demand for Smart Phones </li></ul><ul><li>Merging of Phone/PDA/media-players/camera/game consoles into single device </li></ul><ul><li>Success of ‘App Store’ concept has generated whole new range of products and opportunities </li></ul>
  3. 3. Exploring opportunities <ul><li>In 2008 we began exploring App’s for higher education content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>bespoke solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>narrow application </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2009 speculated on offering entire 60 point course as an ‘App’ for sale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>would exploit ‘structured content’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use a ‘shell application’ with in-App purchase of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>assessment and accreditation offered separately </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. eBook technology review <ul><li>Late 2009 reviewed technology of eBooks as alternative to App model </li></ul><ul><li>eBooks would provide the ‘structured content’ while the Readers would be the ‘shell’ application </li></ul><ul><li>eBook readers, both software and dedicated hardware potential offer students wide range of choice as to how they access their course content </li></ul><ul><li>Wide range of formats, however few of the popular formats support layout features needed for educational text books </li></ul><ul><li>ePub as a format has gained favour amongst publishers in UK as format of choice </li></ul>
  5. 5. Technology of ePub <ul><li>HTML foundations to ePub has considerable potential to take structured content and present it well on a mobile device </li></ul><ul><li>Most eBook readers actually use HTML ‘web engines’ (e.g. WebKit) to render pages and paginate them </li></ul><ul><li>Use of these ‘web engines’ however has largely been limited to static pages </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated hardware readers also largely built around static page, particularly those based on eInk screen technology </li></ul>
  6. 6. ePub – Future Opportunities <ul><li>As a specification, ePub has a number of problems and limitations </li></ul><ul><li>ePub 3.0 due to be ratified later this year addresses many common criticisms </li></ul><ul><li>Most exciting from a developers point of view is the inclusion of HTML5 allowing the creation of truly interactive eBooks using familiar technology (HTML/JavaScript) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Sample Interactive Elements (1) <ul><li>Interactive charts; student selects data, chart type in response to a activity and the resulting chart can be copied and then included in their report </li></ul><ul><li>Chemical formulae that can be edited and the resulting molecules rendered </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive Mathematical algebra as part of a quiz </li></ul><ul><li>Simulations; say of a physical system that allows you to explore the dynamics of the system </li></ul>
  8. 8. Sample Interactive Elements (2) <ul><li>Interactive quizzes’ that provide feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Maps overlaid with information (GIS) that can be selectively explored </li></ul><ul><li>Music that you can listen to while also following the score </li></ul><ul><li>Language practise books, where you can listen to questions; record your answers* and then review correct pronunciation </li></ul>* dependant on audio recording support in advances versions of HTML5
  9. 9. Tool chain, workflows and skills <ul><li>The 1990’s we had the multimedia ‘revolution’, bespoke tool chains and skill sets made it expensive </li></ul><ul><li>Creating interactive elements for eBooks would be similar, but would leverage well known web technologies and skill sets </li></ul><ul><li>Problem; existing book publishers authoring and tool chains are largely based around traditional concepts of static text books </li></ul>
  10. 10. Similar workflows and skill sets <ul><li>Companies involved in creating web sites for what we might term as ‘Curriculum gateways or platforms’ for schools to subscribe to </li></ul><ul><li>Another industry to consider looking at skill sets is the educational software industry </li></ul>
  11. 11. “One Ring to rule them all” <ul><li>A ‘Structured content’ workflow potentially allows you to create multiple outputs from a common source </li></ul><ul><li>For example creating a web version, eBook, PDF, Print, Audio-book (text to speech), and accessibility formats such as DAISY </li></ul>
  12. 12. Some of the challenges ahead <ul><li>Challenge for publishers is understanding the skills to create and manage the workflows and to author the content in the first place </li></ul><ul><li>eBook readers (hardware readers in particular) need a step change to support interactive elements </li></ul><ul><li>Current eInk based hardware readers are aimed primarily at the needs of the trade paperback market they will fail to keep up with the technical needs of interactive educational eBooks – however they may also hinder the investment and adoption of interactive eBooks </li></ul>
  13. 13. Imagine a World <ul><li>“ eBook formats such as ePub, which are largely HTML centric, offer the possibilities of bringing the richness of internet technologies such as the growing popularity of HTML5 to the 'offline' world of the eBook allowing the skills and technical know how of the internet to be leveraged to create rich educational experiences. Imagine a world not of the printed page turned into an electronic book, but of the richness of the internet packed into a self contained entity that you can take away with you.” </li></ul>

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