A new journey in education

What would you want from a School web app

with 2 comments

Having bought an iPhone just before Christmas and learning its capabilities and down falls, I started to look into how it displayed websites such as those which I have developed, specifically the schools website. Without any iPhone specific changes they worked ok, using the phone network only, they took to much time to download. These sites are not big in size and download to the desktop extremely fast.

So what to do? First I thought lets find out how many of these devices are out there? Well finding information out about phones is difficult normally, the iPhone specifically even more so. After searching the web I found this little snippet…

The iPhone is selling well in Australia. Research firm IDC reports that the iPhone has taken 21% of the Australian smartphone market share in the past 12 months, putting Apple in 2nd place behind Nokia and just ahead of Blackberry.

I imagine having seen more and more iPhones and other smart phones in the hands of people over the holiday break there are even more out there then these figures suggest. Google has released the Nexus one Google phone. Although not available in Australia until some time later this year, this device will have more smart phones in the hands of people who are not keen on an Apple iPhone.

So back at the start of a new school year with an Apple announcement in a few days, I did a quick survey of my students. Who has an iPod Touch?, who surfs the net with it. More then half of 60 students answered yes to both and added that the local burger joint now has a free wireless service again.

A couple of days later Apple finally showed the world the new device, the iPad. The iPad takes your smart phone and makes it bigger. It has most of the functionality of a smart phone, minus the phone. Obviously we now have a world of smart portable devices, connected to the internet all the time. Which leads to my question.

“What would you like from a School based web app ?”

Web apps are not just for the Apple mobile devices, any mobile device that uses the Android (Google developed) system can access most of the same features which the Apple devices enjoy. These modern web apps all use the new HTML5 and CSS3 standards, unlike your Windows based desktop or mobile devices which are not compatible unless they are running the Google Chrome Web Browser. Web apps also are not like the applications you have to purchase from iTunes or the Google apps store, they are actual web sites/pages which you can download to your mobile device or desk top if compatible.

There is so much more technical detail I could go into, but if you have seen an iPhone or an Android phone in action with web apps like Flickr, Google etc…  you can see what the future holds for our students. The future is web apps, it may not be visible to all this year or the next, though when Windows and Internet Explorer become aware of the new HTML5/CSS3 standards it will be like a punch in the face.

So please, anything you would like to see easily available through a school based application for mobile devices, let me know in the comments. I would like to develop an initial web app which would portable throughout the NSW DET.

Note: Not just for Apple mobile device systems.

Written by themolisticview

February 20th, 2010 at 5:32 am

2 Responses to 'What would you want from a School web app'

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  1. molisticview
    Microsoft has had HTML5 in its scope for a long time: and is already supporting a range of HTML5 functions. They like all developers are waiting for for the standards to be ratified as there have been several other standards that have poped up over the years then disappeared into obscurity (ie XHTML 2). Apple is only driving HTML5 to gain a strategic advantage, Google is smart enough to hedge their bets and Microsoft has finally learned they are better of being silent, let others do the fighting and quietly join the victor.

    But yes HTML5 is exciting, even if it doesn’t come to fruition it has inspired Adobe into a cycle of serious innovation CS5 has some really cool tools for Web App development and Mobile development. My feeling is we will all deal with a cycle of competition for 3-4 years till the victor finally comes out or a new standard (more likely) is born.

    Ben 🙂

    Ben Jones

    20 Feb 10 at 6:47 am

  2. Thanks Ben,
    My question though is more what do you want now? from the devices that already support these new formats such as the iPhone OS and Android. These devices are in the hands of our students now, and those who do not have access to one can still view and use such web apps using either Safari or Chrome on MAC and Windows now. All these features are driven by the Webkit engine.

    The victor is HTML5, there are only a few niggly details to sort before inception. Microsoft is the hurdle. Google are not fence sitting either, if it was not for HTML5 they would not be as advanced with technologies such as Google Goggles, Wave and the Chrome OS.


    20 Feb 10 at 7:02 am

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