does someone think that a on/offline moodle forum reader would be a nice gadget for your Java cell phone/PDA? I've got a student working on it. Ideas and suggestions will be most wellcome.
My recommendation is always to use normal email standards like POP, and extend the email framework that we have to accept email bound for modules (eg forum) to allow people to reply from a phone and have it end up on the web. By passing encrypted codes in headers/subjects we can make it secure. Some work was already done on this by Catalyst in 1.5 (for bounce emails) and it just needs extending.
A Java app might be sexy to program but is probably just going to be complicated, rigid, and require heaps of maintenance to run on different phones etc ...
Ohh, what's this in my hand, its one of Martins socks
I could not agree more, but j2me is just a litle devil and poses no more danger.
A fellow teacher has some students playing with mobile stuff, and its really hard to wee where is everything going to.
Rather than email I had in mid to tap the RSS feed of the forum or to develop some kind of service to be called from AJAX (in a standard browser or a mobile one ) or from a midlet. I've thougth also to tap on the glossary module to develop a simple offline glosary reader for the cell phone... and in the end all will come down to wiki
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions, my student has a lot of reading to do.
Maybe we come along ina few weeks with a toy, just to explore.
I think down the road, we want to allow cell phone users to participate in the Forums:
Reading and navigating threads:
- Use cell phone web browser to navigate and read threads
- Use Text-to-voice to read threads to users, giving options (press 1 to reply, press 2 to hear next message, press 3 to hear previous message, etc)
- Use cell phone text msg capabilities to write a discussion topic message for posting or replying
- Use Voice-to-text to dictate the thread content (this one requires voice-to-text technology to improve)
For students who prefer it (or who don't have a computer) this could really provide some flexibility. ClearTXT is a good example of a company that has started in this direction (http://www.cleartxt.com/index.html).
As far as mobile Java interfaces go, I'd recommend your student looks at the Opera Mobile browser for inspiration. This software deploys on most mobile platforms, and its interface has been widely acclaimed. Rather than "refreshing" the mobile screen with a new screen, it "slides" screens across - providing an intuitive, visual way to navigate.
Furthermore, the way that information is structured and accessed is a critical issue in designing the interface and navigation for such an application. The interface should probably display top-level post information, enabling the user to read the full text of just the posts they are interested in. Pictures should be resized/edited/removed by the module to reduce bandwidth.
I like one of the previous ideas that was mentioned - the idea of a text-to-speech engine to "read" posts. I've previously read of a mobile learning project in Africa that used text-to-speech to access learning content via mobile phones. If the sound can made to "stream" (a la VOIP) to the Java application, this could be a very low-cost way to access posts.
Alternatively, XHTML context could be rendered with a choice of CSS stylesheets to enable text to display in a variety of sizes, including small sizes for those with good eyes to enable quick "scanning" of text content, without disadvantaging other users who can select a more accessible, larger print size.
Yet another alternative to Java/POP is using Ajax to power the software via a normal mobile web browser. The advantage here is, there's no software to install, significantly reducing problems with hardware incompatibilities. To see what can be done, for example check out SoonR, which enables access to your PC from your mobile phone and VOIP calls from your mobile, among many other features - all without installing software. This blog post has more information that may be of interest.
Just a few ideas...
I was wondering how you student go on with this project as I am interested in soing something simular and it would be great to share ideas.
Though people are probably tired of the comparisons, the way Facebook Mobile does it is really to my liking. With my cellphone provider (Rogers, in Canada) receiving SMS is free. Sending SMS from a Rogers cellphone is 15¢, which is somewhat expensive but can be worth it with action items. For instance, accepting a friend request by replying with 'a' is a very efficient way to work with Fb. As my carrier charges very high data fees, this method is still a lot less expensive than using any kind of dedicated application.
Going back to Moodle.
Receiving notifications of new messages in my courses' Moodle forums would be quite useful in and of itself. In some cases, it could even be possible to provide quick feedback using a custom scale (like the "connected" scale in default Moodle installations). There could also be special messages for "emergencies" (room changes, cancelled classes, etc.). Events could generate SMS notifications (à la Google Calendar).
Of course, with an iPhone or an iPod touch, there should be ways to browse the actual Moodle sites using Safari. And there could be something like Google Gears for browsers on laptops.
Just some random thoughts. But there's a lot to be said about cellphones in educational contexts. Even though some schools ban them.
Well a simple way to get notifications to your cellphone would be to be use a email service that provides SMS notifications (Vodafone in New Zealand does this). In this way an email is sent from Moodle to your email and the email sends the notifications. This works BUT...
The notifications that are sent to the phone from the email are not the best due to the word limit of the SMS. It will only show the first part of the notification. This is typically only the TO, FROM and SUBJECT fields and the navigation tabs (I have attached a picture of a test SMS sent to my iPaq phone from a test moodle site I use, which will give you an idea). To be more useful the notifications need to be modified so that possibly the URL is shown first and then the student can log in the website on a web capable phone and check the message.
Any ideas how to change the layout of the notifications (I haven't had a real good look for the relevant file but if some one would point me to it, it would save me the search )
It could be useful to have this kind of notification, if only to know what to expect. But the key to services like Facebook mobile is that it is possible to interact with the Web platform through SMS.
I guess this can't be done with Vodafone, right?