Using Google Goggles in mobile learning projects

One of the lesser known free Google services in our experience is Google Goggles. Specially in it’s lastest release (Version 1.7) it has received a few enhancements that make it very useful for some mobile learning applications

Scanning of barcodes

Google Googles will scan most standard barcodes and provide information on the product scanned.

Here is an example from the Google Mobile Blog:

Let’s say you’re reading a magazine article you really like and want to share it with your friends. Just point Goggles at a part of the page, and instantly find a link to an online version to share immediately or read again later. You won’t even need the entire article in the frame. Goggles will also pull up more information from pages around the web where that text is mentioned, so its easier to learn about what you’re seeing.

Text recognition

You can use Google Googles to take images of printed text and have the result converted to text using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Whil the results may vary our own test have shown good results on newspaper and magazines.

To download Google Goggles you can scan the QR code below

Google Goggles are currently available for both Android and iOS phones (just install via Android Market or Apple App Store. See http://www.google.com/mobile/goggles/ for further details.

Using Yahoo Pipes to aggregate learning resources

I am using the opportunity of me taking part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on mobile learning as an excuse to add some more content to this neglected blog.

On of the issues I am facing with my participation in the MOOC is the massive amount of e-mails generated and my already overflowing inbox would not cope (let alone me managing it). That is not taking into account other sources such as Twitter & Flickr

Since I have always been a fan of RSS (hat tip to Dave Winer) my answer to this dilemma is to create an aggregated RSS feed from a number of sources (including the Google Group responsible for the bulk of the traffic). And so far the best tool I found for this purpose is Yahoo Pipes.

To create a Pipe log into http://pipes.yahoo.com/ (if you don’t have a YahooID you need to create one first).

The GUI is very simple (kudos Yahoo) and for simple aggregation needs hardly any explanations. The hardest part can often be finding the RSS sources to add to Pipes. The aggregation process is basically 3 steps

  1. add sources (see list below)
  2. add union operator
  3. connect to output

 

 

As an example here are the sources used for the MobiMOOC Pipe are:

  • http://groups.google.com/group/mobimooc/feed/rss_v2_0_msgs.xml?num=100
  • http://search.twitter.com/search.atom?q=mobimooc
  • http://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/geo/?tags=mobimooc&lang=en-us&format=rss_200

All you need to complete your “mobile learning journey” is to subscribe to the resulting feed (http://pipes.yahoo.com/leogaggl/mobimooc) with your favourite (mobile) RSS Reader. I personally use GoogleReader which has worked for me on various devices. It has worked well for me on Nokia S60’s, Windows Mobile, iPhone and more recently on Android.

To download for Android you can just scan the QR Code below or just visit http://m.google.com/reader from any phone.

Since the feed sources are fairly simple I am happy for any comments on other sources to add to this feed.

Enjoy !

 

 

m-learn: Mobile evidence gathering using GoogleDocs

This one nearly escaped my attention yesterday. Google has just announced the ability to edit Google Docs on your mobile device via their Google Mobile Blog.

Just point your mobile browser to m.google.com/docs and start editing.

Along with the use of 2D barcodes this will open a few interesting m-learning possiblities for educators that would previously have required custom coding to achieve. I can see this being very useful in situations where you have students being in the field and allowing them to enter data gathered using a standard mobile phone. The barcodes could point students to the location of the spreadsheet (avoiding the need to type the information)

The screenshot below shows a spreadsheet that I just made up for demonstration purposes.

Google Spreadsheet
Google Spreadsheet
Google Spreadsheet - add record
Google Spreadsheet - add record

The data gathered can easily be used embedded into LMS course pages for review in the classroom. The (quite capable) graphing tools in Google Spreadsheets can be used to visualise the results gathered. For some of our clients that use Moodle and GoogleApps for Education this is a very interesting combination as would allow for the authenticated entering of mobile data into the LMS.

It would be interesting to look at how you could easily geo-tag the information gathered for mapping purposes. But that’s probably a topic for another post.