Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Location Moblogging...Resources? I've exhausted my search..

From a post on Mobile Learning (Thank you Leonard Low!), I got the idea to start researching "loco mobloging" or location mobile blogging, where you can use your cell phone to immediately pinpoint your location on a map and post to the internet. I think location moblogging could be a very useful resource for social studies teachers who are doing local history projects or science teachers studying geographical distances and features. I also think that foreign language teachers who take their students on a cultural trip to another country could use location moblogging to document places they visited and post images, video, or audio of their experiences on a map. In language arts, students studying a novel that was written about local places or events could do some location moblogging for homework or extra credit to document those places and the inspiration that the author drew. Or better yet, students could create their own moblogging autobiographies where they moblog specific locations and how those places impact their personal stories. Health students could document their athletic activities and see the results online. In other words I think there could be many applications for location moblogging in education. The problem I have been having is finding a "perfect" resource to use for location moblogging. What I have found is that most of the resources ask you to...

1) Have a specific cell phone or cell phone provider. Such as Nokia's Sports Tracker needs you to have a Nokia Smartphone. Most basic cell phones will not work. Locoblog is a great example of a blog that documents people and their locations (along with images), but you need Bluetooth and a Smartphone in order to use the service (I know many students will not have a fancy smartphone or Bluetooth).

2) They ask you to pay money to use the resource (as we know, this is not a great option for schools), such as Runner's world Run Tracker. While both Nokia's and Runner's world application are really cool, you can track your run or jog or walk route on your cell phone as it happens, then log in to your online account to check out statistics (great for health education and geography classes). You cannot post immediate audio, video, or images (except I do believe you can include images with Nokia, but I am not sure how) from those locations to your files. Additionally they both couple with Google applications (such as Google Maps).

3) You have to download an application to your phone to use the web2.0 service (Sports Tracker and Run Tracker both have you do this). Google Mobile Maps and Locoblog are other moblogging applications where you have to download the application in order to use it on your cell phone and post to the Internet. While I am not against downloading to my phone, I really think that if we want to get educators using cell phones for learning and asking all of their students to use their cell phones for assignments, we need to cut down on the "extra" steps. Downloading an application often means that it will not work universally on all cell phones, which may cause problems if you want all of your students to be able to participate with their own cell phones and/or a landline.

4) You have to add the pictures to the map while you are online. Flickr is great for moblogging images, I use it often. And Flickr does have a nice map feature. But you have to physically add the images to the map in your online Flickr account, you cannot do it from your cell phone.

I would like to find a location blogging application that does the following....
1) No need to download an application to the cell phone
2) Works on all cell phones (not just smartphones)
3) No cost option
4) Tracks where you are on a Map
5) Allows you to document your locations with images, sound, and/or video (and not have to add them to a map later online).
6) Posts immediately online

Anyone know of an application like this?

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