Mobile Lives of College Students

Mobile Lives of Online Colleges



Apple Patents Compass Bearing Feature for the iPhone Camera

One of the most challenging aspects of online learning and distance education in the geosciences is fieldwork. Access and cost of equipment is especially problematic for conducting field studies. It’s becoming easier to engage students in field activities as mobile devices with geolocation capabilities are winding up in their pockets. A new patent published by the USPTO describes a new compass bearing feature for the iPhone’s camera. An overview of the patent is provided on the Patently Apple site.

Image courtesy of Patently Apple

William Rankin, LWF Talk, London 2011

Always inspiring, William Rankin from Abilene Christian University presenting his 2011 Learning Without Frontiers talk “Dispatches from the Frontier: Next-wave mobility and the future of digital books”.


Shared on Twitter this week ….

News and comment shared by The Digital Professor this week.

“BBC News – Does it pay to be a student (from the UK) in America?”

The 10 Biggest Myths About Synchronous Online Teaching:

“Professors Publish Guide to Copyright Issues of Multimedia Projects – Wired Campus-The Chronicle of Higher Education”

“Professor’s iPhone App Gets Users Off the Beaten Path – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education”

“Isarithmic History of the Two-Party Vote « David B. Sparks”

“Top Trends of 2010: Growth of eBooks & eReaders”

“Paper or electronic? Universities consider e-textbooks | The Daily Collegian”

“E-Learning Brings University Education to Post-Quake Haiti”

Apple, eBooks and the Media Tablet.

TechCruch’s MG Siegler posted an article interpreting Steve Jobs comments in the New York Times about Apple’s interest in eBook devices. It should be apparent to all from Jobs statements before last week’s Apple music event that Apple has no intention of creating an eBook reader. Only once in recent history has Apple created a single use device, the iPod, for entertainment media. But even the iPod has morphed into a multi-use device, the iPod Touch/iPhone. It would not be in Apple’s interest to build a standalone eBook reader. There are several players in the field already for such hardware. Though garnering lots of press, I wonder as does Jobs just how well they are selling. What Apple would be interested in is selling eBook content through the iTunes store to drive the purchase of a media tablet.

It is a media tablet that is needed for distributing eBook content in the education market, not the standalone reader. Students from elementary through graduate school do not need an additional device to carry around. What they do need is a well-done touchscreen media device capable of performing daily tasks related to their educational pursuits. For most this may mean just a tablet, capable of taking notes in class, reading an eBook, and communicating with their teachers and classmates. The device must be of sufficient size (10″ inch?) to comfortably allow for text entry of notes and playback of most media types. Storage space is not of great concern due to the advances in cloud computing and cheap external drives for archiving files. A few years ago rumors began swirling about Apple’s potential move into the tablet market, and an announcement seems imminent next year. In January of 2008 a patent for a Mac docking station was released. Such a pairing would be ideal for students.


Mockup of Apple Tablet and Docking Station (Courtesy appletell)

In the meantime, others are testing the touchscreen tablet waters. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington  promised a special press and user event for last July for his “CrunchPad” media though nothing official has seen the light of day. Netbook maker Asus has made a half-hearted foray into the touchscreen tablet field. But we continue to wait for an elegant solution to bring eBooks to life in a truly useful device. Patience grasshopper …

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