theMolisticView

A new journey in education

Archive for the ‘iPod Touch’ tag

Mobile Phone Application Challenge

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PBL in Metalwork has not been my only foray into Project Based Learning. Now I do not profess that what I have been using is strictly PBL or the Apple version CBL.

So what came after the Metalwork attempt, the mobile phone app challenge. In the last weeks of term 1 this year I introduced this concept to my year 9 IST class. We spent 75 minutes discussing what was expected.

The next lesson they all lined up outside before coming into the room and selecting their chosen mobile platform. There were three platforms for them to choose from: Apple’s iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.

The 24 students that we started the term with (several students have since left the school), separated perfectly into the three groups. They were all provided with their platforms device so they could start their research. The questions of inquiring minds came thick and fast and we ran out of time in the lesson.

Basically I asked the students to develop a concept of a mobile application from which they would then produce and deploy to a device within a ten week period (turned out to be 11 weeks). The application had to follow the given platforms requirements and be suitable for submission to the platforms appstore. There would be two presentations, one at week five and the final “Keynote” where they would launch their application to the world. This final presentation was to be delivered in-front of the Principal. Each group was also to provide detail information of their progress with lesson by lesson updates on a group posterous account. These updates were intended to be reinforcements of the students individual KWL (What I KNOW, What I WANT to KNOW, What I LEARNED), forms from each lesson. In the final week each student had to present their own one page reflection and working timeline in a spreadsheet.
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August 1st, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Why Windows Phone 7 is dead already

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There are many reasons why Windows Phone 7 is dead within six months of release. For me it is the fact that Microsoft gave in to the worlds telcos and allowed them to modify the OS to suit there backward needs and stop the instant release of OS updates. You can see form the distribution list at Where’s my phone update? how bad it is and yes that is the site name. Though it still isn’t as bad as the Android devices from Sony and Samaung that will never be upgraded to the latest Android OS.

Yes Nokia did come on board the Windows Phone 7 platform but their products wont launch for six months or more. But the real evidence is when you see companies selling the phone for free! Thats right free, Logic Buy an online retailer in the US has done just that in store for free with bonus goodies to choose from when you buy http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/htc-hd7-windows-7-smartphone-for-t-mobile/27239.aspx

When I first received my phone I thought “yay integrates great with work and social, way better then my Nexus one (the phone I was using at the time) or my iPhone 3GS.”

It turned out to be false promise, Microsoft let us down again 🙁

The best thing about my phone at this point, is it make a great Windows iPod and my games are linked to my Xbox.

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April 2nd, 2011 at 4:51 am

XNA game studio at school

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Start this  at the start I guess.

Being a Play station user since the play station (one), and not into computers at the time I never really cared about the Xbox when I bought my PS2, or even early last year when I upgraded to the PS3. The first I had heard of Microsoft XNA Game Studio was in 2008 and it was totally by chance when having purchased the then new Microsoft Expression Studio. Microsoft Expression Studio came with 2005 Visual Studio. Now at the time I had only just been made a permanent teacher filling in at what is now my school and my position. I had at that time had little experience with computers except what I had to learn at University and what I had picked up during the many casual and temporary permanent positions I had, had since 2004 and had no interest in coding or  programming.

Fast forward to June 2010, I had spent the last 6 months trying to get year 10 into Flash games using their DER laptops. What a nightmare that was, the DET Lenovo’s struggle to power Flash projects, there is a constant issue with the Flash player plugin being out of date. So this quickly removed any enthusiasm the kids had. Around this time rumors of the new Windows Phone 7 started along with some of the then suggested capabilities of the phone. One of these was to play games, games that would be linked to an Xbox Live account. In one article that I read they linked to XNA Game Studio.  On arriving at that page I was amazed that this secret had been hidden away from me for so long. With a simple download you could make games for your PC or Xbox.

So immediately I download the development tools which were available at the time and then went in search of books which would help me in learning how to make games. I spent most of the school holidays reading through books and coming up with ideas for my multimedia classes.

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February 5th, 2011 at 5:23 am

Adobe Refresh 10 Sydney, Flash is reborn

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Yesterday I went to Darling Harbour for Adobe’s Refresh 10 conference. I was all hyped for a big day.

Signing was my first disappointment, no show bags, and only three stalls on offer, ho hum. The conference got underway with all the presenters showing us one at a time why we enjoyed the Adobe Creative Suite so much with some very OOoo and Aaaah moments. Followed by a demonstration by a design company which has offices in Sydney. The skills were extremely impressive and their work of the highest class on the net.  This was followed by news and demo of Adobe’s newest merger/buyout. Not exactly sure how all this worked or how to explain it, there was a section on tracking revenues from your websites, which was interesting for those in eCommerce. The system worked much like Google Analytics does except that it allowed you to make adjustments to your site on the fly and have some idea as to how many clicks these changes may generate as well as suggested improvements to your revenue stream.

The day after this was sectioned into sequential sessions which you had to choose from on registering for the event a month ago. I chose to go to Extending PDF’s with Flash, AIR with HTML and AJAX/HTML5/CSS3, Multi-target apps, Flash Future technology sneak and Building an iPhone app with Flash CS5. In the opposing sessions they were learning about about Adobe Live Cycle and making forms, collecting data and that boring stuff.

Extending PDF’s with Flash was enjoyable. Having already experimented heavily with this concept this year I still picked up on some interesting pointers especially with alpha transparency swf’s and video over laid on text. There was an interesting section on PDF Portfolios, how they actually work and that the best results come from using the adobe.com service. (does anyone from DETNSW know if we have access to this from the DET Portal?)

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February 24th, 2010 at 8:32 am

What would you want from a School web app

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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.

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February 20th, 2010 at 5:32 am