Saturday, August 03, 2013

Help Spread the Message- Scholarship Fund

I apologize I've been very neglectful of this site and I do have some big plans coming for it, especially as mLearning is starting to become as standard as the QRG in classrooms.

I want to take a moment to spread the word about a Scholarship Fund I've started that is doing some great things for some well deserving students.

The West Rusk Scholarship fund goal is to provide full scholarships for the this year's graduating students of West Rusk High School to East Texas Baptist University.

You can find more information on this scholarship fund on our Facebook page here:

Please "Like" and "Share" this page to help get the word out.


The back story to this scholarship is very interesting. In May, filmmaker Nicholas Sturghill promised every student from West Rusk what seemed to be a miracle; they will never have to face paying for college out of their own pockets. Sturghill promised every student in this school to pay in full their tuition to East Texas Baptist University. The students and parents saw this as a miracle, but sadly, it was a miracle that never came true.

As the days and weeks passed and the deadline for the first payment to ETBU approached, no money arrived from Sturghill. Finally, just a few days before the payment was due, his business manager made a statement that it was all a misunderstanding. What this meant for these students is the sad thought that they now could not go to college. Out of the 16 that were accepted to ETBU, 10 were ready to drop out and possibly put off going to college while they saved up to pay tuition.

This is where the West Rusk Scholarship fund comes in. Instead of waiting for some benefactor to save the day, I started the fund for the community to come together for these students. What we thought would be a small fund, possibly raising a few thousand dollars has become an unbelievable miracle.

In the past few days, well over $100,000 has been raised for this fund with an additional $150,000 in scholarships also being made available through the school. Now, instead of facing not being able to afford college, 15 of the 16 students have resumed their plans to attend.

While this is an amazing show of support, a lot more needs to be done. Please share our story and the Facebook page to help not just our community hear about this and possibly help, but the entire world.

Remember, no first step is ever too small.

Thank You
-Matthew Nehrling

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Next 10 Tech Markets That Will Be Worth $1 Billion Or More - Mobile Learning Is Here To Stay

From: Business Insider


Mobile Education is poised to transform the way we learn.

Mobile Education is poised to transform the way we learn.
As more consumers adopt smartphone and tablets the education landscape is transforming.
Fast Company explored the mobile education industry and had this to say, "the near-ubiquity of handheld devices and their constantly lowering costs will enable the idea of "education that you can hold in your hand," so it becomes a widespread reality in so-called developed markets and resource-challenged parts of the globe alike." 

Read more at: Business Insider

Saturday, February 02, 2013

From Lead Learner-Changing Education from FM to Pandora

How times have changed- has yourlearning changed?
Growing up, we listened to our favorite songs on FM radio . We had our favorite DJs that built excitement about new songs, and he kept our attention with games and contests to be caller number 10. We also had to endure listening to songs that we really didn't care for, and when we repeatedly heard songs we didn't like, we would give up and change the channel or turn the radio off all together. Fast forward 25 years to today. We still have FM radio, and the DJ that pushes music that he believes his audience wants to hear. Listeners tolerate commercials every 3rd song, and everyone listens to the same thing at the same time if they choose to tune in. Does this meet the needs and preferences of every listener? In the last 10 years, we have seen the advent of satellite radio that is now Sirius XM. It has taken the FM concept, but gone a step further to offer listeners different genres of music, talk radio and news radio to its audience. The product is a definite improvement from the FM model, but it is little more than a programmatic change. Now comes Pandora. Looking at Pandora, the listener is the DJ. He can pick the artists that he wants to listen to, and Pandora programs all music based on the artist and other acts and music similar to the artist. The listener can personalize his station by giving his account feedback on each song. He can like the song so it will return more frequently and dislike a song to ensure that it never returns to his ears. Boy, how I wished I could have done that 25 years ago. Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

mLearning Book to Blog

Sometimes you have to make one of those decisions. I've been working on an mLearning book for several years now but life takes its twists and turns and I have files upon files of notes with no time to put it together. I've decided I'm simply going to share them with the world. Especially that through various corporate mergers and job shifts, I no longer have an mLearning focus (albeit it is still a small part of the job).

As time permits, over the next year I'll be sharing 101 Ways to go Mobile with your Learning!

These aren't your typical studies on what content development tools or LMS integration strategies you get in many mLearning books out there. Instead, these are practical solutions that you can implement tomorrow with no help from any technical support.

As a side note, although I want to keep this blog, I am considering selling the top level domain and I really don't have a need for them at this time and the .com has first page level Google rankings for various eLearning and mLearning search terms. If you are interested (serious only) drop me an email at

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 Thanks Google Thanks Google: "Big thanks to Google, they were able to restore Over the next few days I'll be able to redirect mlearning-world..."

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Apple Loosens Development Restrictions on AppTech Developers Using Adobe Flash Tools

HOUSTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- AppTech Corp. (Pink Sheets: APCX) reported today that Apple's recently announced policy of loosening restrictions on use of outside development tools should substantially assist AppTech in the execution of its plan to translate and port over iPhone apps to other operating systems, such as Google Android.

Eric Ottens, CEO of AppTech Corp. stated, "Apple's loosening its policies on the ability for app developers to utilize third party tools is a strong positive step for AppTech. Apple has been such a dominant player in the app market that the previous rules restricted AppTech's ability to speedily bring apps to market on Google Android and Symbian, which are popular systems in emerging markets such as Brazil and Latin America that we wish to penetrate. Apple's new policy will facilitate the opening of new markets for us and together with our technical partners, will expedite the implementation of the AppTech international marketing plans."

Read the rest here...

Hmmm.. could there be an Apple/Adobe truce on the horizon?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What I'm Reading

I'm currently reading Gary Woodill's book, The Moble Learning Edge and I am finding this is an excellent resource for mLearning strategy development. Look for a review soon.

In the mean time, a big thanks to Gary for the plug for mLearning-World in this book.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Notre Dame launches eReader study, creates first paperless course

“This has become known as the iPad class,” Corey Angst, assistant professor of management at the University of Notre Dame, told his students on their first day of class Aug. 24. “It’s actually not…it’s ‘Project Management.’”

Notre Dame eReader Study

A member of Notre Dame’s ePublishing Working Group, Angst is debuting the University’s first and only class taught using Apple’s new wireless tablet computer to replace traditional textbooks. The course is part of a unique, year-long Notre Dame study of eReaders, and Angst is conducting the first phase using iPads, which just went on sale to the public in April.

Read the full article here-

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 09, 2010

From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning: Speak Up 2009: The biggest Obstacle to Using Technology in Ed...Not Being Able to Use Student's Own Mobile Devices!

Very interesting research has just been published by the Tomorrow Group (Speak Up 2009) about mobile phones and education. Here are a few highlights:

PARENTS SAY YES! 63% of parents say they would buy their child a cell phone if they knew it would be used for educational purposes.

ONLY 18% of parents dismiss mobile devices as not having a positive impact on learning.

Read the rest at:

From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning: Speak Up 2009: The biggest Obstacle to Using Technology in Ed...Not Being Able to Use Student's Own Mobile Devices!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

From mLearnopedia: April - June Hot List: Mobile Learning Content

mLearnopedia has compiled a great list of last quarter's hot mLearning articles.

Visit mLearnopedia: April - June Hot List: Mobile Learning Content to read them all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mobile Learning: A 4th Reading List

Here are 10 of the more recent articles and blog posts that I have read concerning mobile learning. Links to the other 3 lists can be found at the bottom of this blog post.
1) 5 Steps to Harnessing the Power of Cell Phones in Education Today: This blog post provides 5 ways that teachers can begin using cell phones in their classrooms to help their students learn.
2) 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile Apps for Learning: An article by Educase discussing the value of mobile apps in teaching and learning.
3) Kids More Likely to Own a Cell Phone Than a Book, Study Finds: A ReadWriteWeb article discussing a study on today’s ownership trends.
4) Full Interview: Marie Bjerede on cell phones in the classroom: A podcast episode from CBC’s “Spark”

Read the rest at:

Ignatia Webs: What to take into account when chosing a mobile device for learning?

Ignatia Webs gives us an interesting article on choosing a mobile device for learning. I generally take a different approach, starting first with what your users already have and molding the strategy around that. This article, however, is good if you are looking at starting from scratch on a mLearning project where you will be in charge of providing the devices.

Read it at:
Ignatia Webs: What to take into account when chosing a mobile device for learning?

A few notes of contention or commentary-

* BlackBerry devices do not require the Enterprise Server software for mLearning (or even email).

* When considering a device that has Wifi, look for one that creates a mobile hotspot. You won't regret it.

* I appreciate this article mentioning screen reflection. This is something people often don't think of but regret not checking when they are shopping for a phone. For example, my current device, the Motorola DROID works great in bright light situations where one would have trouble seeing the screen on an iPhone. Considering the context of your mLearners is just as important as the content. If your learners can't read what is on the phone, what good is pushing out a text mLearning strategy?

* Later generations of a device don't always guarantee a better experience. Doubt this, just read the Apple support forums and the nightmare that many are having with the iPhone 4.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

mLearnCon 2010: Dr. Mimi Ito – What the User Wants in mLearning

....People will go to great lengths to have personal content at hand. Users customize their media environment themselves, filling in gaps inherent in devices. We can harvest this drive this potential.

Social Media, Mobile Media, is highly personal content shared with others. They want to, they need to share it with their mobile community (friends, not necessarily their parents).

Good to look at Japanese youth to monitor future trends as they’re about 10 years ahead of US youth...

Read the rest at:
mLearnCon 2010: Dr. Mimi Ito – What the User Wants in mLearning

Monday, June 07, 2010

Too Funny

The Disadvantages of Mobile Learning (Only 5 years too late)

Once again, we are graced with another article touting the problems with Mobile Learning. eHow gives us "The Disadvantages of Mobile Learning". The main problem with this article, is it is at least five years out of date. Not only could this article have been written five years ago, it is pretty much a re-hash, word-for-word, of many of the same misconceptions.

Let's address some of these myths.

1. Cost- While an end-user does need to have a mobile device of some sort to participate in Mobile Learning, so would a user need to have some time of Web enabled device to participate in most types of eLearning in general. Properly set-up, a mobile learning strategy should not have to require all your participants to buy new devices. One of the first considerations it would take is what type of devices do your users already have. Even if new devices were required, the price ranges presented in this article represent the premium end of the spectrum. A good mobile learning strategy can take advantage of even simple devices that cost little to nothing from most wireless carriers.

2. Size of the Device- This is only a challenge if one incorrectly plans mobile learning content to be nothing more than compressed eLearning. If your users are already using their mobile device that you plan to push learning to, your strategy should be what content do they need in the context of using the device. Add to that, the greatly improved displays, such as the OLED display on the DROID Incredible, and size isn't a detriment any more, but an advantage.

3. Battery Life- The article incorrectly states that the battery life for mobile devices is 2-4 hours. This is further evidence that this article is outdated. Your average smart phone these days has at least 2-3 days of stand-by power and the battery will run 8-10 hours of continuous operation. If a learner needs a continuous learning experience that is mobile and lasts more than several hours, you should probably re-evaluate your mobile learning strategy.

4. Technology- Two major failure points in the article. First is the issue of limited storage capacity. Not even taking into account that common memory chips now can store well over 32GB of data- far beyond the needs of most learning curriculum, this fallacy assumes the learning content would be stored directly on the device versus accessed from a remote server versus streaming. The second error in the article is the limitation because of the different operating systems. While yes, there are some limitations that various mobile operating systems have, such as the iPhone's ability to run Flash content, this is only a limitation for poorly designed mobile learning programs. A good mobile learning strategy takes into account what the learners have and need and designs accordingly. This is much the same challenge eLearning developers face when it comes to just conforming to various IT and security standards of the learners' computers.

5. Usability- Simply watch any 12 year old with a mobile device and you can kiss this limitation goodbye. Again, a good mobile learning strategy takes into account these items before a single piece of content is developed. A good strategy accounts for how users already use their mobile devices and conforms course content to that.

Don't let these challenges deter you from considering a mobile learning strategy for your organization. Remember, it is all about how you develop your strategy that revolves around your user's experience. Mobile Learning is NOT just compressing eLearning down to a smaller form factor.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

mLearning and Accessibility

Question of the month. What are your experiences making your mobile learning solutions accessible to people with disabilities?

Monday, May 18, 2009

6 Teachers talk about the iPod Touch and learning

This new paper describes how Australian teachers are using the iPhone and iPod Touch to A. assist them as Educators, and B. to enhance learning. As such, it presents a vital survey of apps and ideas to be shared with other teachers also beginning to use this platform. Thanks to the included Teachers for their keen responses.

6 Educators Talk About iPhone Use High Qual

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Training Top 125: Alltel Links Training to Sales Success

Kudos to my team.. Awarded the training top 125 again.

With wireless voice sales margins dwindling industry-wide, Alltel launched a big push in late 2007 to increase the company's data services revenue. "At the time, the wireless industry as a whole was no longer making much money on voice, so our sales efforts became heavily focused on data products and services, which were deemed the next big purchasing area for consumers," says Mindy Lane, Alltel's VP of training.

As part of this push, Alltel began selling data cards, which provide wireless connectivity to laptops from any area with Alltel Network coverage. Almost immediately, however, Alltel began fielding complaints about the cards, and found that many cards were being returned by consumers.

Concerned about the lack of data card sales and the number of subscribers leaving or switching to other carriers, the Alltel product marketing department assembled a task force to tackle the problem. The task force's needs analysis, says Lane, determined that most of the churn the company was experiencing was attributable to customer dissatisfaction or confusion.

"Among customers, we identified a number of misconceptions regarding what data cards were and what they could do. We also found that our sales reps and managers had misconceptions of their own. Many reps, for example, were selling data cards as ‘DSL replacements.' While that's true in most instances, a data card's ability to function as a DSL replacement depends on where the consumer is located and whether there are gaps or holes in wireless coverage in that area. Because a consumer's location also affects speed, we also received complaints from those who told us their DSL connection was faster than their data card."

To stem the tide of disaffected subscribers, Alltel reps were encouraged to do a "deeper dive" with each customer and ask more relevant questions during the buying process. "They needed to do a more in-depth job of finding out where the data card would be used, explaining the speed capabilities of data cards, and walking customers through the set-up and troubleshooting process," says Lane.

To arm reps with this knowledge, the Alltel training department developed a comprehensive training program to assist front-line reps in selling and supporting data cards. The program included computer-based training (CBT), as well as supervisor-led training on how to qualify and sell data cards to customers, questions to ask, what to listen for, and how to ask for the sale.

As a result of the training, Alltel channels experienced a 63 percent lift in data card sales and a 39 percent decrease in subscriber falloff from November 2007 to May 2008.

Interested in developing a training program to support a mission-critical product launch? Here are Alltel's tips for success:

Tailor to your audience. Using Flash, Alltel's in-house training team developed a full-scale CBT simulation that taught sales reps and their managers how to work with data card customers more effectively. "Going through traditional training on a complex product such as wireless Internet cards would have been far too technical and boring for our sales force," says Lane. By creating an engaging, interactive simulation, she says, Alltel was able to draw learners in and grab their attention. "Sims are expensive and time-consuming to develop, and they are not the right solution for every need," says Lane, "but they are often a perfect choice when teaching workers about complex products, particularly when your audience consists of younger workers who are tech-savvy and appreciate interactivity in their learning."

Reinforce. After going through the simulation, Alltel sales reps attended comprehensive face-to-face training that was conducted by their supervisors. In addition to reinforcing material covered during the simulation, the supervisor-led training provided a "perfect platform," says Lane, for supervisors to reinforce the data card product line's importance to Alltel's balance sheet. "We honed in on clarifying the basic value proposition of data cards, and on explaining what our churn rates were and how they were impacting us."

New Apps on Blackberry Make Online Learning Easy

I've always been a proponent of Blackberries in the mLearning world because I feel it is the choice device of 'road warriors' who would need an mLearning tool. Now, online schools are targeting the Blackberry for courses.

What if someone told you that you can earn a degree from your Blackberry? What if they said that you can study anywhere and anytime to fit it in with your schedule?

With this July’s updates, it will be much easier to take online classes on the go. Google plans to release software to make its email and calendar services work for the Blackberry. Google Apps Connector will allow users to access Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and Contacts using built-in applications. It also connects to the Google Apps servers and synchronizes email, calendar and contacts.

Why is this helpful for online learners?

Read the rest here..

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Perpetual motion

An improv demonstration of the kitchen recording system

E-Learning for me, does not just mean developing applications and websites, no it also means creating a system or dare I use that cliched word solutions to allow teachers to get more out of a session than what they put in.

Over the last year or so I together with Impact have been developing a system that will enable our catering staff to record teaching & training sessions.

First a little information, we've got two kitchens on site Ora & Skills; Ora is a kitchen where students cook lunch and dinner for staff and members of the public, Skills is a demonstration kitchen where students learn new techniques. Each kitchen has two PTZ (pan tilt zoom) cameras, three ip56 rated televisions, a touch panel and a control lanyard each. The system is quick to boot up, easy to log in and simple to use to ensure that there is minimum disruption to any session. Once the Chef has logged on he can use the lanyard to command the entire system from anywhere in the kitchens, without having to interact with the touch panel. As soon as the videos are recorded they are transferred to our servers and (pending approval) are viewable by all staff and students. So we've created a system that records chefs, this in itself is nothing new, we've had the ability to use video cameras in class for years; where's the benefit to the learners and most of all the teachers?

Lets say we have 20 students in the kitchens watching the chef joint a chicken. The chef proceeds to joint the chicken, students watch and then try it themselves, prior to this system that's where the lesson stops. What happens if a student has a question, or wants to see it again? The chef has to grab another chicken. Not so with our new system, the chef can instantly play back the recording on any number of screens around the kitchen, enabling them to both demonstrate and instruct which better serves the students needs.

More importantly, what happens if the student has a question outside of the kitchen, or outside of College hours? In combination with our VLE our students can access all the videos from home, bookmark relevant sections and review training sessions whenever or whereever they like.

So we've seen how it can benefit students, but how can it help teachers get more out of sessions then they put in?

Over time, Teachers can record training videos of sessions & techniques to create a bank of personalised learning resources that they can access in and out of the kitchens to enhance course content and delivery. We've given them the ownership over their own content, no longer do they have to search through youtube videos from tv shows for the 10 second clip required. The chefs can simply navigate to the content they themselves have created and students can see their peers using the same techniques instead of random people from the internet, students are more likely to be engaged with content if its relevant to them and teaching staff work better with students who are engaged with the content.

By creating and using these personalised resources in class, the lecturer can literally be in two places at once, as they can be onscreen demonstrating techniques whilst being able to walk round the kitchens and supervise students replication of the demonstrated technique and support/guide students where necessary instead of just being stuck at the front of the class.

With this system staff can get more in than they get out (and its a lot faster than human cloning).

Friday, May 01, 2009

Interactive technology keeps classes 'relevant'

Eunice Morton walked around her desk, grabbing an electronic writing tablet and quickly jabbing it with a stylus.

As the Pine Tree High School science teacher moved her hand, a presentation projected onto her classroom wall came to life. Text appeared, changed color, became underlined and then vanished. Yellow smiley faces appeared next to bullet points, and slides slid across the screen.

"I don't know how to teach without my InterWrite Pad," Morton joked, leaning against a student's desk.

The pad allows her to control the computer presentation as she walks around her classroom. Morton said the technology frees her from standing behind a desk at the front of the classroom, allowing her to interact more with her students. The students also can use the pad to answer online quiz questions and do other activities.

The electronic tablet is one example of how classroom technology has grown by leaps and bounds from even just a few years ago — and many teachers and technology directors believe the changes have improved the teaching field.

Morton said the projected presentations force her to develop focused and concise lessons. The technology helps keep students interested and alert in a course that is heavy on content and traditionally includes a lot of lecturing, she said.

"There's no wasted time in my classroom," Morton said.

Staying relevant

Mike Stanfield, Hallsville Independent School District's director of technology, said the use of technology provides a connection with students who have become accustomed to the everyday use of computers. He said many schools and classrooms continue to follow the 18th-century model of teaching — lining students in rows and lecturing them — even though a more interactive model can be effective with modern students.

"The classroom needs to stay relevant," Stanfield said. "The classroom today needs to at least reflect the state-of-the-art."

He said the district's studies of the effectiveness of some technology in education — specifically iPods and the iPod touch — indicated the multimedia approach improved students' knowledge retention.

Funding obstacles

Despite the apparent benefits, not all school districts can incorporate the same tools for their teachers. While larger districts have the resources to fund technology purchases, smaller schools can face challenges to equip their teachers and students with the latest tools.

Big Sandy Independent School District residents will vote in May on a $6.75 million bond election.

Superintendent Scott Beene said a significant portion of the bond will pay for the construction of computer labs at the district's elementary and secondary schools. Although the district has at least one computer in every room, not all of its students have access to the Internet. He said the district's different campuses share a computer lab.

"That's one of the areas that we are weaker in," Beene said.

Beene said the district is not hurting for technology. He said he believes the district is comparable with other districts of the same size.

The Pine Tree Independent School District has more equipment available in general, but not all campuses have the same access to it. Most classrooms have video projectors, which project an image of whatever is underneath their lens onto a screen, but not every campus has laptop carts and wireless internet, said Jeff Hahne, the district's director of technology.

Online learning

Much of what the Pine Tree district does technologically is actually online. Hahne said the district has created its own version of YouTube, called "ptTube," for teachers and students to use in class or to share videos with the community. Each teacher also has a Web site, and some teachers have begun using district-provided blogs. Teachers also have access to thousands of educational videos through an online subscription service.

"So much of what we do now is Web-based," Hahne said.

Hahne said a few years ago it was a big deal for every classroom to have Internet access, but most teachers now expect Internet access as standard for most school districts. The technology expectations of students also have changed.

"Kids used to be excited about computer classes," Hahne said. "That was their computer fix. Now, kids actually lose some aspects (of technology) at school."

Stanfield said reaching students' expectations in classrooms is the next step for many districts. He predicted incorporating text messages in classrooms could have a great impact on students.

"If we can mimic their culture, we won't have that as a barrier to teaching," Stanfield said.

* * *

Some technology used in local classrooms

Document camera: Overhead projector displays images of objects placed beneath camera lens

Personal response systems: Wireless remotes used to involve students in computer-generated and projected lessons

Laptop carts: Provide wireless laptops to students in classrooms

iPods/iPod touch: Used to display educational content and to create multimedia content

Interactive white boards: Display boards allow teachers and students to interact with projected objects

Source: Area school districts