Mobile flash cards

On my way to work this morning I was listening to Chris Pirillo talking to James Wen from Positive Motion, about their new tool called Mobile Prep a mobile phone flash card program.

Atf irst I was a bit skeptical about the product but listening to James and hearing his vision of how he wants to change mobile education I was very impressed.

The program allows users to create a desk of virtual flash cards and install them on their phone.  Easy enough.  From here the enterprising desk creator can earn money by selling their desk to other Mobile Prep users.  Very cool.

The tool also has built in quizzes with progress reports, this is where things got really interesting.  It could be extended into an eLearning platform.  Think, students finishing a class immediately download the next desk of cards, take the test and load the results back into the eLearning tool so the teacher knows what to focus on next lesson.
James also talked about the ability to build multi-demensional cards.  For example in the legal profession where you need to learn multiple facts about a single case, each type of fact is connected to a key on the mobile phone, case precedents are always connected to the 5 key.  This way you each time a new case is displayed you can test yourself on the different facts by pressing the same key on your phone.

The tool can be used for all sorts of learning, including professional development, CPD points and other certification processes.

The biggest issue?  Seems like the tool is only available on certain networks in the US, very sad.

How to manage gaming geeks, or any geek for that matter

Just finished listening to show number 51 from The Cranky Middle Manager Show where Wayne spends time chatting with Matt Manuel from EA who looks after the development of FIFA 2006.

A great show with some really interesting ideas covering on-boarding, peer mentoring, and team management. It seems that a number of the manager’s at EA regularly listen to the show along with another management podcast Manager Tools.
EA sounds like a very dynamic organisation trialing new ideas both internally and externally.

Learning like a 5 year old

A recent Wired Magazine article provides unique perspectives on learning and to a lesser degree recruitment.

The article talks about a senior manager at Yahoo who is a guild leader in World of Warcraft, a massive multi player online game. His position in World of Warcraft has provided him many of the necessary skills needed to succeed at Yahoo.

The article also highlights the differences between planned learning (textbooks, lectures, and classroom instruction) and accidental learning, the type of learning that takes place through daily activities and you don’t realise you have done until afterwards. Accidental learning is primarily based on learning by doing and through experimentation aka failure. This accidental learning is typically how a 5 year old learns, and they do a good job given most can walk and talk without having to got formal classes.

Ross Mayfield has also written about the article who has listed some of the extracurricular items he has begun looking for when hiring:

  • Wiki use, of course
  • Playing a role in World of Warcraft
  • Blogging as context that goes beyond the resume and a sign of a good communicator
  • Participation in ad-hoc events like BarCamp and Wiki Wednesday
  • A basic level of connectivity in LinkedIn, but more importantly a pattern that shows valued connections, not trying to connect with everyone
  • I actually think interests listed at the bottom of a resume like international travel or the outdoors still count for something

It was only 2 weeks ago when Dan Farber claimed the same thing saying that World of Warcraft is a good skill to have on your resume. He also has several quotes from organisations trying to model themselves around these online games and their social interactions.

The question is, do you or your recruiters pay attention to details like these or are you still looking at the basic hardcore skills on the resume? Once you have hired these people is all of your training provided in classroom or do you foster and facilitate accidental learning in the workplace?

Students who actually think!

Anne Bartlett-Bragg (one of the organisers of BlogTalk Downunder) was interviewed recently by Anna Salleh from ABC Science Online about her research in blogs and education that she has been conducting for her PhD. Her quote “I say, I’m sorry, I’m making you think. Isn’t that why we’re here?” made me laugh, so many people just don’t want to think as it is hard!

While only a short item it did raise several points about blogs, while the research is focused on students I suspect the findings would also hold true for general blogging (apologise to Anne if she has found they don’t).

  • They help people think more critically
  • They are interactive
  • They engage people in debate, even people how normally sit on the sidelines
  • They have to be responsible about what they post
  • Not all blogs are credible, and just cause it is published doesn’t mean it is true
  • They help you manage your ideas in a way never done before

Education podcasting

Amy Bellinger from Learn and Teach Online has found a new site for podcasting within education called Education Podcast Network, or EPN for short.

The site looks to be setting itself up as a directory of sorts within the education space on podcasts and blogs. The directory looks like it has been built using RSS feeds, content from Del.icio.us and suggestions. I wonder how much of the content has been sourced from iPodder.org and whether or not EPN will offer their directory as an OPML file? It does seem that EPN has more podcasts than iPodder.org.

Tablet PC’s in Education

For the last 3 months I have been wanting a Tablet PC, specifically the Toshiba M200, and since returning from BlogTalk Downunder this want has increased. Why? Firstly I got to see Mick Stanic’s up close and personal and I got to use the iBurst wireless broadband.

My personal view is Tablet PC + Wireless Broadband = Freedom

Now through a new blog (via Scoble) called The Tablet PC Education Blog I see a whole new set of uses. It is a fascinating read on how Tablet PCs could be used within the school system, and this can easily be extended to higher education and the corporate environment. The integrated learning and knowledge management environment would be amazing.