iPhone for mLearning?

Is the iPhone the first platform that allows for “true” m-learning? Mobile phones have become ubiquitous and indispensable but seldom used as a tool in education mainly because of small screens, slow connection speeds, incompatibilities and complicated interfaces. The iPhone elegantly created a paradigm shift in the way we interact with applications. I want to experiment with this interface as an educational platform.

As an example I will be creating a series of photography exercises to be completed by the users and then reviewed by other users of this same application. These exercises are geared towards demonstrating techniques to take better pictures. After the user submits his picture for a particular exercise he has to evaluate at one or more pictures taken by other users to be able to continue. With this, the user will be guaranteed to also receive a review of the picture he submitted.

The user’s motivation would be something like this:

  1. Read the assignment
  2. Complete the assignment
  3. Submit their work
  4. Critique/review another person’s work
  5. Receive the following assignment

Other assignments might even have software analyze the picture automatically and make suggestions for improvements (over/under exposure for example)


teaching, mobile, application, software, photography, web 2.0

External Project Link


Personal Statement

I have worked for a long time with mobile applications and believe that they still have not been explored to the maximum of its potential as a tool to facilitate new forms of interaction.

At the Learning Technologies conference in London UK the former Vodafone Director of Global Learning Management Gordon Bull was talking of the prospects of m-learning but conceded that it was perhaps 2-3 years away because of issues with infrastructure (lack of super Internet Speeds) and devices (compatibility and not being able to access webpages properly), towards the end of his lecture he added that if anything that came close to the m-learning reality at this moment in time would be [for students] to be equipped with the iPhone.


Photo sharing applications – some of them have tips for taking better pictures but none have an interactive tutorial

Online photo tutorials – reviewed many tutorials – only one or two of them allows users to upload their own pictures.

Photo analysis tools


People interested in learning the basics of photography in a simple, fun, and interactive way.

User Scenario

Sign up – user gives us basic information about the camera they are using.

Assign to groups – user is informed that a group of 10 other people will be his “classmates” – they will critique each other’s work. Grouping people into smaller groups facilitates the task of “grading” the assignments and commenting on composition, quality and content.

Receive assignments – the assignments are sent out to the user’s cellphone or emails. Each assignment has a specific goal it is trying to achieve. The pictures will be evaluated according to these goals.

Complete assignment – the user takes several pictures and then selects up to 3 pictures to submit for review.

Review – the application will evaluate the incoming pictures and make suggestions on how to improve the image according to what the content of the assignment was. In some cases the final part of the assignment is to comment and analyze the photos of your group according to the goals of the assignment.The reviews will be either using multiple-choice questions or voice recordings with comments.

Web – on the web you can go over your assignments, read comments and “grades” given to your pictures and check your progress within the course.




How People Learn – Donovan Bransford Pellgrino
Wireless Generation
OLPC – Squeakland.org
Bob Tinker – Concord Consortium
Exploratorium (C.I.L.T)
Low Residency Programs

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