Saturday, March 29, 2008

Notes from mEga 280308 workshop


Workshop 1: Market Analysis:

Understanding the Market

Paul Daly

NTT Do Co Mo – installing a Biometric sensor in a mobile phone to monitor a person’s health -

Google’s Android -

iPhones relationship with AT&T in attracting some of the subscriber revenue

Understanding the Market:
- Need to change consumer behaviour to use your product
- Creating demand to be on the front page of an operator/carrier portal
- Carriers are looking for differentiated offerings
- Looking for ‘branded’ content – easy to move onto the consumer
- “We need to think Global”

Subscription services:

- BlueSkyFrog -
- Jamster -

- Partnerships: nineMSN, Yahoo7

Consider: Subscription vs On-demand

Who else might have a vested interest in the distribution of content?

- viral mechanisms of promoting
- back channeling – via SMS, Bluetooth, Podmo

Export Navigator - exploring export market for mobile entertainment

EU adopting Digital Video for hand held devices standard – DVB-H -

Evolution of Markets of Mobile Content Services:
- Personalisation Content – ring tones
- Interactive Entertainment – games
- Information Content
- Narrative Entertainment

Examples of user created mobile content

Sasha Grbich

Issues around creating content on mobile phones:
- Screen Size
- Processing Power – 200 kb
- Resolution Size on Screen
- Sound issues

Because the file size of mobile content is so small – then the level of computer equipment does not need to be of a high level

Free anti-cyber bullying videos

Pocket Film Festival -

- which equipment the content is developed on is important – if compressing content – start with good resolution – if filming from mobile
- use of colour is very important
- issues around the beginnings of the film industry are similar to those for mobile movies
- ‘limitation breeds brilliance’ - mEga participant quote

The limitations of mobile content developments can actually allow you to ‘push the boundaries’ of what is possible – challenge the limitations to create creativity

ABC micro-mini series:

The “Mobile” Landscape: The User Perspective

Dr Marissa Maio Mackay
Director - Research

AMD – Advanced Media Devices – iPod

“Not what can be done but what should be done”

How to get people to use the mobile phone:
- extend a relationship – go with brands to leverage off, creating mobile content for existing well known products and services
- Intrinsic Value - instant gratification – free wallpaper, ringtone
- deliver immediate benefit – matching ads to the content ie ads in mobile tv linked to what the user would be interested into
- easy to use – KEY to the mobile service
- innovate don’t replicate – use ‘value-add’ to something, create a unique experience, give something user can’t get anywhere else
- Transparent – cost, terms and conditions upfront
- Leverage off their existing behaviour – how is the target market currently using mobile content …
- Make it free or the ads pay for it! – user will put up with the ads if the ad is something they are interested in (tailored ads)

From the consumer perspective

Does it:
- mean anything to me?
- give me anything?
- cost me anything
- lock me into anything?

Provide dynamic content which is constantly refreshed

Researching the opportunity …

Dr Marissa Maio Mackay
Director - Research

Why video-calling hasn’t made the telecoms companies rich: no-one researched whether users actually wanted to use video calls on their mobile.

The Starting Point:
- Your Product
- Your Customers
- The Market – and how you ‘arrived’ at knowing this

The Process:
- Team brainstorm – key questions related to your product, your customers, and the Market – ie a clear framework, a clear set of questions
- Some Key Questions and Sources of Info:

o Market:
o define the market, key trends, predicted growth, opportunities, the value chain, key industry players, potential competitors.
o Sources of info: Lifestyle index survey, m.Net blog, m:metrics, Mobile marketing association, gomo news,, The Netsize Guide, Nokia Whitepapers, Juniper Research Whitepapers

o Product:
o What is your product? How is it different? Benefits to your customers

o Customers:
o What do your customers want? Where does your product sit (new idea or existing, Breakthrough Product vs Continuous type product) Is it an existing product or will it need to be produced?
o Source of Info: Tailored Research: Develop reliable user insights that will shape the development, marketing and management of the project, focus groups - use between 28-30 people, capture ‘quotes’,

Spending time researching your product is just as important as creating solid foundation of a building

When developing a Business Case for your Product: add enough detail to remove as much uncertainty as possible

A mobile operator - view of the subscriber

Shane Williamson

A carrier knows their consumer focuses on what the ‘hand-set’ can do ie people will buy a Nokia, because they know how to use it.

Mobile carrier’s main focus: revenue, subscribers, churn (subscribers migrating across to other carriers)

Non Voice Services:
- Communication Services: videocalling
- Messaging services: SMS, MMS, email, instant messaging
- Data Services: high speed wireless modem, mobile internet, business applications
- Content services: text, pictures, video downloads, video streams, ringtones, games, mp3 music tracks

Carrier’s filters – carrier’s interest in 3rd party products & services will be filtered by: revenue (profit); subscriber additions (stop churn); content synergy; ease to deploy; differentiation from competition

Carriers are losing control – content aggregators; major synergistic content brands; the internet (out of the walled garden); on device portals (ODPs); in device content (manufacturer)

Group Break out Session:

What is different about using a mobile phone?
And what opportunities does this create?

What does this mean for our team?
And what implications does this have for our project?

- Mobility – from anywhere and anytime – allow for ‘immersive’ learning
- Interactivity – mark/tag where you’ve been and ‘access’ more info when able to get access to the info via internet or database – ‘takeaway’ fact – ‘mash up’ the info with other info ie GoogleMap/Webspace and create a new learning space, Geotagging photos, RFID/Bluetoothing content including websites/social networks
- Ubiquitous – everyone has one
- Easy to assess info via Bluetooth
- User to contribute back to the data – upload up to date information – current situation ie what a plant look likes, flowering
- ‘Personal’ – one mobile to one person – don’t need to share like a PC
- The SMS card is a ‘SmartCard’ – it identifies you

What does this mean for our team:

- Ability to be able to digitally access information outside of the traditional classroom.
- Deliver more interactive and engaging learning.
- Enable user to contribute (upload) information to the learning experience

Coolest Girl in School – Mobile Game Case Study

Champagne for the Ladies

Holly Owen ( &
Karen Lanthois (

Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's OK to FAIL!!

After reading the NCVER report “Having your say: ‪Views from the sector on enhancing vocational education and training provider capability” I felt a HUGE sense of relief when I read the LAST few words of the following sentence:

“… people (VET Practitioners) also need to take risks, be innovative with their own learning, and prepare to fail

I'm a great believer in taking risks and encouraging risk learning - in fact, that's how I learn best - but this paper has made me realise that we also need to send the message to educators that it's ok to make mistakes and ‘fail’.

As professionals, educators are often expected to be 'perfect'.

How many times have you heard: "You're a teacher, you should know that … "

To become the educator I’ve always dreamt of being, I’ve realized that:

It’s OK to:

Take risks
Make mistakes
Evaluate the mistakes
Share the learning

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Trades and Social Networking

My dad did his painting apprenticeship at the one of the big ship building yards along the River Clyde (Glasgow, Scotland) in the 1950’s.

There were hundreds and hundreds of men, covering a wide variety of trades, working closely in these ship yards, and the sharing of tacit knowledge came as natural as sharing their morning tea break cigarette.

Trades-folk have been passing on technical and on the job experiences for centuries through the ‘master-apprentice’ method of training, as it is not possible to learn a trade in isolation or just from a ‘text book’. The establishment of ‘guilds’ has supported this practice.

Whilst working with a couple of groups of ‘Trade’ lecturers to investigate ways of providing more ‘flexible’ training options recently, it has become apparent that it is a natural progression for Trades-folk to carry on the sharing of their tacit knowledge in the online environment. This has been happening through online forums and shared spaces like blogs and wikis, but have social networking sites like Twitter, Ning and Facebook been fully utilised by this network of people?

Imagine pockets of ‘Trade-specific Twitterers’ – where ‘guilds’ of trades-folk ‘follow’ one another – and out on the work site there’s an issue and a quick ‘tweet’ is sent to the Twitter-guild. Within moments @replies are received … “check out this…” “call me on…” “contact…” “try…”, all via the mobile device which lots of Trades-folk carry these days.

Social Networking Sites like Ning and Facebook Groups have become popular places for people with similar interests to gather and share their knowledge and issues. These would be great places for Trades-folk to do likewise.

Simon Brown has been using Twitter and a Ning site with his Stonemasonry apprentices. Hopefully his students will be able to transfer the skills they develop in these social networking sites into their workplaces and utilise the strength of their online networks, like they do their formal networks, to improve their work practices.

Where am I at with ePFs

I have been very interested in the benefits of e-Portfolios (ePF) for the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector after reading the E-standards for Training ‘Developing e-portfolios for VET: Policy issues and interoperability’ report in June 2007.

I have been involved in raising the awareness of ePF in South Australia through:

- discussions with the SA COAG RPL team regarding the potential of ePFs as an effective (pro-active) RPL tool

- building cross-border partnerships between TAFE SA and Charles Darwin University through a joint Reframing the Future project application to develop a Community of Practice to investigate innovative ways ePFs can help in the delivery and assessment of Employability Skills

- developing cross-sector connections with High School and Higher Education stakeholders

- nominating to participate in a reference group to investigate an appropriate ePF tool for TAFE SA

- organizing an ePF presentation by Clint Smith, e-Works, for 2007 Learnscope Project Leaders

- sharing links related to ePFs via a social bookmarking site

My professional development in the area of ePF includes:

- attendance at the 2008 Australian e-Portfolio Symposium and e-Portfolio Showcase

- attendance of a PebblePad ePF presentation and hands-on workshop

- reading the Allen Consulting Group’s “Development of a Strategy to Support the Universal Recognition and Recording of Employability Skills - A Skills Portfolio Approach” (December 2004) recommending the use of student ePFs to assists the assessment of Employability Skills

- participating in a recorded online discussion with other VET practitioners regards the purpose of ePFs in the VET sector

- aware of the work currently being done by e-Framework, DEEWR and JISC, the use of ePFs in the Australia, UK and USA.

I have also publicly written and reflected about the uses/purposes of ePF via my blog, Connecting in a Connected World.

I understand the issues of accessibility, interoperability and longevity of ePFs to allow users to transfer or ‘carry’ their ePF data throughout their working and learning lives, as well as the need for a cross-sector collaborative approach to the adoption of ePFs in Australia.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Marie Jasinski - you live on in our hearts and in our minds

Last week a few TAFE SA (and ex-TAFE SA) colleagues ran a beautiful memorial for the wonderful Marie Jasinski.

I only knew Marie for a very short period of time, when in mid-2006 I started a 6 month stint in the Innovations in Teaching and Learning Department of TAFE Adelaide North, where Marie was also based.

However, in that time I was truly inspired by:
- her brillance,
- her bright, bubbly personality,
- her creative and innovative ideas, and
- her warm embrace of all things new and different

I was also fortunate enough to attend some of her workshops - on 'Game Based Learning' and 'Understanding Gen Y'. During these workshops she used some wonderful techniques of trick of the eye games, speed dating, and Appreciative Inquiry.
I was truly expecting to be sobbing throughout Marie's Memorial - I am a very emotional person. However, I didn't sob once - I was actually enlightened by the stories Marie's colleague told of how Marie had 'touched and inspired' them, and actually left the Memorial feeling GREAT.

It was a similar feeling to when I was actually with Marie.
I left thinking: 'How can I inspire others to reach their true potential?'
This is a very interesting challenge for me.
Does inspiring others just come natural to some folk?
Can inspiring others be 'managed' or 'facilitated'?
Where do you learn the skills to inspire others?
In an educational institute or part of our community learning?
Am I already inspiring others, but in my own way?
And if I am, how can I measure this?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why are 'soft skills' so hard?

Our ‘Soft Skills’, such as:

- how we communicate,
- how we work with others,
- how we problem solve,
- how we use initiative and entrepreneurialship,
- how plan, organise and manage ourselves, as well
- how we learn

are very important in order for us to effectively contribute to society.

In the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in Australia, these ‘non-technical’ skills have been referred to as ‘key competencies'.

However, since the early part of this century, they have been tagged “Employability Skills” (ES), as a result of the Business Council of Australia (BCA) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) expressed that ‘key competencies’ in Training Packages ‘needed to be revised and expanded to reflect the changing world of work and broader range of skills which employers currently required’(1)

Since then Industry Advisory Groups have been working to explicitly ‘embed’ ES into all new and revised Training Packages, and a lot of research, work and professional development has gone into how VET practitioners ‘assess ES’.

But why has the ‘emphasis’ been on providing Professional Development on how to ASSESS ES?

Surely assessing ES is the easy part – it is relatively easy to determine whether a person is good at communicating their ideas or works with others?

For me, the hard part is about how to develop ES in an individual.

If it is so easy to teach ES skills, along side technical skills, why has VET been avoiding them for years?

And why is it so hard to teach ES? Are these the skills which we should be learning as part of our ‘community’ learning – ie from our parents, relatives, and neighbours? Or is it that ES are more innate or intuitive than a learnt skill?

What this has highlighted for me is there is a real gap in how to teach ES.

So now I’m very keen to learn from others about any training techniques teach ES alongside technical skills. Can you help?

(1) Employability Skills, From Framework to Practice, an Introducton Guide for Trainers and Assessors, Precision Consultancy, 2006

Friday, March 7, 2008

Another way of making the most of out of Twitter via Snitter

A little while back @Tuna tweeted #(word) ie something like #twitter.
I thought this tweet looked quite strange, as it was a hyperlink, so I clicked on it, and discovered that the #(word) hyperlink created a 'Search' link in Snitter, via Terraminds, which allowed me to see all of the 'tweets' which include this (word) - even from peeps who I didn't follow.
At the time I thought - cool - but nothing more!
However, it took until now for me to realise the true potential of this 'Search' feature in Snitter.
This evening, I've been interested to learn more about: Mahara (an e-Portfolio tool which works well with Moodle) & dimdim (a free [beta] web conferencing tool which a colleague told me about today).
I tried my Twitter network to see if any Twitterers had heard or used these tools but no-one online had. So I tried the 'Search' feature in Snitter and discovered what other Twitterers, outside my network, had been tweeting about these tools. It was very useful to see what others were saying about these new online tools.

I've even starting following some of the Twitterers I found in the 'Search' feature, as an opportunity to build onto my current Twitter-knowledge base.
I've also 'RSS feed' these 'terms' into my Google Reader, so now that anytime someone 'tweets' about 'Mahara' or 'dimdim', I'll be able to see what they are tweeting about.
So the next time you come across something new and interesting - try the 'Search' feature in Snitter ... and discover the 'conversations' happening around this tool, beyond your Twitter network.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

mEga meGa megA Mega

I love the show SpongeBob SquarePants, especially 'Patrick' the StarFish, and his classic saying 'Never, ever, ever ever', which made me think of the title of this blog post: mEga meGa megA Mega.

mEga - mobile entertainment growth alliance - is a collaborative group comprised of private sector, education and government bodies operating under the banner of mEga, which aims to increase the mobile applications and content industry in Australia.
mEga offers an Incubator Workshop program, which in 2007, our Chief Executive endorsed as 'approved' professional development for staff ;>.

So during farewells at a workshop last year, a very brief conversation occurred between the mEga National Manager, Peta Pash, and another colleague, Jim Plummer about "why didn't Jim & I apply to be a part of this Incubator Workshop program as part of our PD in 2008?"

Jim has been a keen advocate and pioneer of mobile learning (mlearning) in South Australia, for a number of years.

Although nowhere near to the level of Jim's experience or passion, I too have been very keenly watching and supporting the potential of using mobile devices to aid learning. This interest in mlearning was kicked off in 2006, when I discovered Leonard Low's Mobile Learning blog.

Like half the world's population, I am 'physically' attached to my mobile phone, and use it as an alarm clock, calculator, camera, reminder, to do list, note taker as well as a phone and text messager.

So Jim and I submitted our applications to be apart of the mEga Incubator program and we've been accepted. Last Thursday evening was our first Workshop Session: meeting the other mEga Incubator participants, and pulling together our teams for this program.

Our team is made up of a people with a range of skills including: graphic design, training/education, project management, creative ideas, WAP site development, practical thinkers, scripting, content development, multi-media creation, mobile technology, finance, admin etc.

Our team has not really formalise the 'commerically viable product or company' project idea yet ... that's over the next couple of workshops ... but there are certainly some good ideas about using mobile technology to allow learners to learn WHEN and WHERE they need to ... so stay tuned.