Sunday, 25 March 2012

Mobile Development Challenge Starts at the Grassroots for mLearning

Published on Desire2Learn's learning insight blog (Tues, March 20th)
During the past few months, I’ve had a great opportunity to engage with students and faculty at our local Conestoga College. In one of my several visits, I discovered their inaugural ‘4x4 Challenge’ – an internal technology development contest that really peeked my interest. I was intrigued; why would students dedicate Reading Week (their week off from school!) to work on a project that may never see the light of day? Not to mention, with limited resources and time (4 days x 4 nights), could they even pull it off?
After speaking with Ignac Kolenko, Chair of the School of Engineering and IT at Conestoga College, the answer was a resounding ‘yes’.  Innovation and ideas are thriving at a grassrootslevel. Students are self-motivated, driven, and have a great deal of pride to deliver something meaningful – something that matters.
With the Desire2Learn Edge Challenge, we hope to expand upon great events and opportunities such as these. We want to motivate students and young start-ups to innovate and create mobile solutions that transform the very educational landscape they’re a part of. ‘Mobile’ (as broad as that is) is a hugely growing space right now, and the opportunities for Higher Education solutions are endless when you consider the possibilities:

Social: Where to meet friends and check out school events
Security: One button push for friends to identify your location
Location Based:  Where to find a local club and after school sports
Transit: Never miss the bus again with up to the minute information
Integration with School Systems: Reserve a book and purchase event tickets

The use cases above look great on paper and appear easy to deploy, manage and integrate. How do you support both the diverse student community (give me all the functionality) with the somewhat technical administration, make it easy and create an out of box experience? This is an example of our vision from when we started the company. For mobile, we created a mobile SDK framework “Campus Life™” for developing rich, intuitive mobile applications that provide new ways to learn and take an active role in shaping the future. With the Campus Life framework, students are encouraged to build their own mobile applications that are specific to the culture and fabric of the institution. This creates loyalty, builds community and instills innovation at the grassroots level and cultivates the spirit of building something that matters. Stay tuned for exciting developments on this topic in future posts.
But Higher Education isn’t the only space benefiting from this growth. In K-12 schools, interactive mobile between student, teacher, and parent can build more  transparency into classroom progress and motivate learning accessible remotely from home or rural areas.
As the parent of an ambitious six-year-old, I’ve personally noticed improved engagement in our bedtime reading when using our iPad® device. She can let the story read by itself or practice words without the narrative, and the interactive nature of the illustrations is great for developing her creativity. Mobile Learning (‘mLearning’) is opening up a world of possibilities for thriving young minds.

Do you have big plans to transform education with eLearning and mobile? Sign up for the Desire2Learn Edge Challenge!

Or, do you have an innovative idea that you’re bursting to share? Join us for Elevator Pitch Night!
With over $75,000 in cash, including a$25,000 grand prize and a trip to present your idea to education leaders at our FUSION Users’ Conference in San Diego, are you up to the challenge?


  1. Great idea, it enhances the skills of the students.

  2. Nice blog! I loved reading through your blog. wish you good luck for your best efforts...

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