Thursday, August 25, 2005

Google and the Uber gadget

For all those ITers out there who are wondering what it's like to be on the other side of the coin, try to step out of "the loop" for about a month. Granted I posted a few times to get away in August but I wasn't reading and researching anything that would help improve the plight of technology in the classroom. Today was the first day that I started to plug back in after the "Gong Show"(tm) - pics coming soon - comes to a close. Things move so fast that plugging in has caused my head to spin slowly, but I think I'm getting it back. One of the things that I've been thinking about is the cell phone. I'm looking at getting off the Telus network (CDMA) and onto GSM. Why? All my relatives (old and new) who came from everywhere else came here with their phones and with a quick drop of $25+ to Fido, they were up and running with better reception than my Telus cell. Some of these phones were quite fancy and customized and it spoke well to the comments that I had made to an Edmonton Sun reporter about technology in the classroom (I don't know if the story has run yet, but I'll post if it has). I mentioned that the cell phone is the gadget that essentially rules the tech toy roost in the schoolyard, and obstensibly the classroom. Wired ran an article on a book that discusses the way that mobile phones have taken hold in Japan as social tools to keep connected. And Google now in their quest to increase access to the information on the planet, they have got Google Talk to help people exchange that information in a useful manner. Google can already get onto your phone (Google SMS and Audioblogger) so there is likely a time in the future that (assuming Google maintains it's "do no evil" attitude) there will be something will further connect the two. Granted Audioblogger lets you post "podcasts", but this seems to be more conducive to field notes as it would get annoying in a classroom. I think the way that this fusion will happen is through email. Voice Email has been around for a while (I remember Yahoo! doing it a few years ago) and companies like Skype have features like SkypeIn to allow people to have access to virtual inbound phone numbers and voice mail. In this supposed fusion, a user would send a message into Google and the reply would be sent to their email and the user would access this by calling into their email account to hear the information. This would get around the limitation on the small screen on the phone. It's limitation is that the information must be accessed in a linear fashion. With this system, a student in the classroom would send quick texts out to Google to generate searches that would be waiting for them when they get to access their email. If they can't get to a terminal, they can call in and get the results read off to them and through menus, they can expand the searches and pass them on to others. The phones in this arrangement would have some firmware to help manage the flow of information (but the system is basic enough that even "old" phones (3-4 months ;)) will work with it). Again, Wired has an article on Amp'd Mobile (website seems to be down). This system seems to want to do what for entertainment what my preminitions would do for entertainment and "value added data" in general. With this type of device on the horizon already it is only a matter of time before it is adopted on a wider scale (and hopefully in an non proprietary manner - ala Google). Technorati Tags: , , ,