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CONTSENS Using wireless technologies for context sensitive education and training

The profile of the typical mobile device is changing rapidly. It is estimated by 2010 that thenumber of people using mobile broadband connections will have increased to over half a billion.This access is being made on all types of mobile devices: mobile phones, media players,handheld games consoles, ultra portable PCs, etc. Already one is seeing a great deal ofconvergence in the marketplace; while it is common to see people carrying both a mobile phoneand a media player, such as an iPod, these devices are merging, with mobile phones offeringgigabytes of storage for audio and video. Devices running Windows Mobile and Symbian havemany of the features of laptops or desktop computers and are now being used to access the net atbroadband speeds.As a result it is now possible to envisage an audience for mobile learning content which is mediarich, collaborative and always available to the user. Using established technologies such as GPSand SCORM, and developing for newer technologies such as RFID (Radio FrequencyIdentification) and Mobile Positioning, training content can be developed for both contextsensitive and location based delivery. Context sensitive education and training refers to trainingmaterial which is directly relevant to the training situation that the learner finds themselves in.Location based education and training refers to material which is directly relevant to the locationin which the students finds themselves.Because mobile devices can be used almost anywhere, they are perfect platforms for situatedlearning activities, where real life is used to provide stimuli and activity for learning. An exampleof a situated learning activity would be studying art in a gallery instead of from an onlinephotograph or a text book. In this scenario, the learner would be pushed information about thespecific artwork they are standing in front of which would be determined by the mobile network.Handheld devices can be used in public and social settings where larger devices would beintrusive and seem out of place. Using a small device like an audio tour guide or an iPod or amobile phone web browser is an obvious use of mobile technology; typing on a laptop computerin the same environment is not as acceptable or practical.Mobile learning is the harnessing for education and training of the 2.5 billion mobile devices inthe world today. Every student in every higher and further education institution in every EUcountry possesses one. The future is wireless and wireless devices are replacing wired ones in allwalks of life. The European Commission has supported the development of mobile learning inEurope in 5 EU projects, 4 of them led by partners in this project.The aim of this project is to avail of the latest technological developments to bring mobilelearning to the next level.
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