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The Smart Move

August 2, 2011

The Smart Move_SimonCowan2011

Either you change or you will be obsolete. Either you produce or you will go under. Either you define the moment or the moment will define you. Enter technology and a flattened world, and you have an educational system on the brink of self-sabotage.” Roe M.J. (2011)

This report will describe at a high level the processes required to enable e-Learning content on the new generation of mobile devices known as Smart Phones (SPs). The SP has evolved over the last 20 years from a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant). The current breed of SP is defined by Apple’s iPhone released in 2007.

Since this point, SP sales have increased exponentially and continue to grow globally. There are five main operating systems that run on SPs, one of which, Nokia’s Symbian, will disappear in favour of Microsoft’s Windows 7 Phone.

The current portfolio of e-Learning content relies on Adobe’s Flash Player for delivery. By the end of 2011 Adobe estimate that only 36% of SPs will be Flash Player enabled. This figure predominantly relies on the sales growth of Google Android phones. Executives at Apple have categorically stated that the iPhone will never allow Flash content to run natively.

The web standard of HTML is currently going through a transition period to its next release. Many of the features in HTML5 will make the need for Adobe’s Flash Player obsolete including video/audio recording and playback.

All SPs, when within network range, are able to access the internet using either a standard browser or a purpose built application called an App. Apps are downloaded from the operating system provider’s website and are fundamentally encapsulated websites. Browsers are still the favoured means of accessing the internet but Apps are quickly catching up. Apps that access content and data stored on the web are considered as the way to go for accessing learning content.

Because of the actual screen size and the methods by which SP users interact with their devices, existing and new content will need to be re-designed in order to run effectively on SPs. Simply shrinking down the content will not be an effective means of conversion.

In conclusion, this report recommends that e-Learing content is processed and extracted to allow for re-use and re-deployment to all internet connected devices. This report also recommends that open source content management systems are used to allow for scalable and adaptable learning portals that keep in step with emerging learner behaviours and strategies and allow learners to nurture their own personal learning environments.

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