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Mobile technologies for teachers

Peter Scott, Wednesday 07 July 2004 | Annotate
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At the E2BN (East of England Broadband Network) conference, this week I did a fun workshop on Mobile Technologies for Teachers. The E2B folks run schools networking in this region of the country. And this was their annual conference. Last year I did a keynote for them, so this year (not wanting to bore them too much) I did a wee workshop on mobile technologies. In the workshop I showed them a few things sitting in KMi just now, like the Cipher folks Bletchley Park SMS experiment and some new CNM RFID stuff. At the heart of the session was a game using XDAII PDAs. The plan was for them to split into competing teams who would have a home and away contingent. The home part of each team was seated at a networked pc, whilst the away team members searched around the buildings and grounds of Robinson Executive College in Cambridge. The mixed teams consisted of teachers and children from the regional schools and they had a very good (and informative) time! The teams were looking for tags which would fire off clues in the PDA and that (when solved, with the aid of the home team) lead to the next tag - and ultimately to a prize. Today's workshop had five competing teams running around searching for clues. Each tag gave exclusively different clues to different teams, so there could be no cheating or following! And each treasure trail was different for them all... with a mix of geographical, mathematical and general clues leading to the next location. The tags we used were produced by a company called Hypertag - being IR devices they can easily work with the IR interfaces of smartphones, like the XDA. So whilst they can show the potential of RFID like devices - they can be used right now, to get the exploratory models right! The game itself was designed by Jeff Howson and Simon DePinner consultants to E2BN and supported by Nick Hardy from Hypertag. It was much fun, and technically very neat. Next challenge will be to build this model into something sensible that might actually be usable in a class setting!

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