Discussing The Characteristics Of Mobile Learning Information Technology Essay

Mobile learning is the point at which mobile computing and electronic learning intersect to produce an anytime, anywhere learning experience. As mobile phone becomes popular in the society and many people can afford the cost, the demand of mobility is extended to teaching and learning purposes.

2.1 CHARACTERISTICS OF MOBILE LEARNING

Mobile learning is dynamic. It is today’s content not old news. On-line experts and best sources for emergencies are available[2]

Mobile learning operates in real time. Learners get what they need, when they need it[2].

Mobile learning is collaborative as people learn from one another. It connects learners with experts, colleagues and professional peers[2].

Mobile learning is individual. Every learner selects activities from a personal menu of learning opportunities most relevant to his/her background at that very moment[2].

Mobile learning is comprehensive. It provides learning events from many sources enabling learners to select a favored format or learning method or training provider[2].

Mobile learning builds learning communities whose members forge[2].

2.2: THE CHANGE OF LEARNING PARADIGMS

Source:http://www.te.ugm.ac.id/~widyawan/mobilearn/MobilearnParadigm.pdf

2.3: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY REVOLUTIONS

Source: http://www.te.ugm.ac.id/~widyawan/mobilearn/MobilearnParadigm.pdf

2.4: HISTORY OF MOBILE DEVICES

Modern mobile devices began with the Apple Newton in 1993, followed by the Palm Pilot in 1996. Five years later, the pocket pc and the introduction of flash player were the next significant introduction and have since been used for educational purposes. The next major development occurred when cell phones gained the capabilities of Personal Digital Assistants(PDAs) and merged connectivity.

The various types of connectivity available through mobile devices include Wide Area Network (WAN), Local Area Network (LAN) and Personal Area Network(PAN). Within the area of education, it was originally envisioned that handheld devices could serve as computer replacements in which full courses could be delivered.

Currently, there exist multiple devices available for mobile learning, ranging from PDAs to video players to cell phones. Add-ons to mobile devices such as cameras, barcode readers and Global Positioning System (GPS) are also popular.

2.5: USING MOBILE DEVICES FOR LEARNING

Figure 1 shows students’ access to mobile devices.

MAP FOR MOBILE

Figure 2

2.6: MOBILE LEARNING FRAMEWORK

It is predicted that the next phase of electronic learning development will be focused in mobile learning. Mobile learning is the point at which mobile computing and electronic learning intersect to produce an anytime, anywhere learning experience[2].

The following is a proposed framework for mobile learning:

Mobile Learning Applications

Mobile User Infrastructure (browser, handheld devices)

Mobile Protocol(adoption of content with WAP)

Mobile Network Infrastructure (cellular systems, satellites amongst others)

Figure 3

Level 1: Mobile Learning Applications

Many new applications are becoming possible and many existing electronic learning applications can be modified for a mobile environment[2].

Level 2: Mobile User Infrastructure

In the mobile user infrastructure level, the design of new mobile learning applications should cater for the capabilities of the user mobile devices[2].

Level 3: Mobile Protocol

In the mobile protocol level, the aim is to hide the underlying network’s details from applications while providing a uniform and easy-to-use interface[2].

Level 4: Mobile Learning Infrastructure

In the mobile network infrastructure level, service quality primarily depends on network resources and capabilities[2].

2.7: CHOICE OF MOBILE DEVICE

While various types of mobile devices can be used in mobile learning, the mobile device that will be considered during the development of the application will be mobile phone.

2.8: MOBILE PHONE

Wherever you go nowadays, you can see people carrying their mobile phone with them. Mobile phone allows communication across the world, different countries and abroad countries.

Nowadays, mobile phones do not only support voice calls, they can receive data and faxes, send short messages(SMS), access WAP services and provide full internet access using technologies such as GPRS.

At the present time, mobile phones support wireless technologies such as:

Infrared

Bluetooth

3G

WAP

WIFI

2.8.1: LIMITATIONS OF MOBILE PHONE

However, mobile phones possess various constraints that may affect their progress in the future. These are described as follows:

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Limited storage

Small runtime heap

Modest processor performance

Limited screen size

2.8.2: CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LATEST MOBILE

PHONES

2.9: WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES

Wireless Technologies denotes technologies in which the use of wire for communication is eliminated. Radio and TV broadcasting to mobile phone and Bluetooth are examples of wireless technologies. The latter was un-imaginable till Heinrich Rudolf Hertz in 1886-1988 demonstrated the transmission and reception of radio signals[4].

2.9.1: DIFFERENT COMMERCIAL WIRELESS

TECHNOLOGIES

Radio

FM and AM radio is the first to use wireless technology commercially. This brings wireless technology to the common man[4].

Television

Another step ahead with wireless technology is Television broadcast. This introduces wireless technology even closer[4].

Mobile

Mobile Technology such as GSM and CDMA made a revolution on communication and it uses time division, frequency division and code division multiplexing. These include the latest and hottest example of wireless technologies[4].

GPS

Latest and greatest technology that uses wireless is Global positioning system-radio waves are used for this[4].

Bluetooth/WI-FI/Infrared

With the introduction of computers, all these technologies are becoming popular to everyone. All these technologies are based on wireless. Bluetooth uses short range wireless technology that allows connection to various types of electronic equipment like printers, mobiles, camera amongst others to computers. WI-FI is mainly used to establish a wireless LAN and wireless internet connection which is called as hotspots[4].

2.9.2: INVESTIGATION OF POTENTIAL WIRELESS

TECHNOLOGIES

There are three technologies that best suit the communication of two or more computers using standard network protocol without network cabling. An overview of these three technologies is described below:

WAP

The WAP protocol stack is made up of the

Application layer

Session layer

Transaction layer

Security layer

Transport layer

It provides an environment in which applications and services for portable and wireless devices are developed and executed.

It includes a microbrowser, a markup language interface and push technology for the transmission of data to applications residing on clients plus multimedia message capabilities and content formats.

Wireless Application Protocol(WAP) or WAP 2.0 is next generation of the WAP specification that delivers a richer and more secure experience to mobile internet services and even printers.

WI-FI

Wi-Fi stands for Wireless Fidelity and is used to define any of the wireless technology in the IEEE 802.11 specification including the wireless protocols 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g. The Wi-Fi Alliance is the body responsible for promoting the term and its association with various wireless technology standards[5].

A Wi-Fi network can also be used to enable connectivity to a larger Local Area Network(LAN) , Wide Area Network(WAN) or the internet[5].

To be able to use Wi-Fi, you must be using a computer or PDA that possess Wi-Fi connectivity already working. Most portable computers can add Wi-Fi using an adapter that plugs into a PC card slot or USB port[5].

Wi-Fi is supported by many applications and devices including video game consoles, home networks, PDAs, mobile phones, major operating systems and other types of consumer electronics[6].

Bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless technology is a short range communication technology intended to replace the cables connecting portable and/or fixed devices while maintaining high levels of security[7].

The structure and the global acceptance of Bluetooth Technology means any Bluetooth enable devices, almost everywhere in the world, can connect to other Bluetooth enabled devices located in proximity to one another[7].

Connections between Bluetooth enabled electronic devices allow these devices to communicate wirelessly through short-range, ad hoc networks known as piconets[7].

2.9.3: WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES COMPARISON

There exist numerous technologies to develop a mobile application. Hence, a comparison is made between these technologies in order to select the most appropriate technology depending upon the requirement of the system to be developed.

Range Worldwide 10 m 100 m

Frequency range 1000-Mbit/s 2.4 Ghz 2.4 Ghz

Transmit range 54 Mbps 1 Mbps ~10Mbps

Power High 1/5 of Wi-Fi High

Penetration Penetrate objects Penetrate objects Penetrate objects

Line of sight Not required Not required Not required

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Cost Cheap Cheap Cheap

2.10: WAP TECHNOLOGY

WAP is an enabling technology based on the internet client server architecture model for transmission and presentation of information from the World Wide Web(WWW) and other applications utilizing the Internet Protocol(IP) to a mobile phone or other wireless terminal. However, WAP is a global standard developed by the WAP Forum for wireless devices to access the intranet and telephony services. WAP can also be used to access data from corporate intranets through public or private IP networks[8].

Figure 3 shows the WAP services that are currently offered.

Figure 4

2.10.1: FORMATION OF WAP

Ericson, Motorola, Nokia and Phone.com founded the WAP forum in June 1997 to create license-free standards for the entire industry to use in order to develop products based on WAP.

2.10.2: WAP SPECIFICATIONS

WAP is an open specification that defines a set of protocols application, session, transaction, security and transport layers. To leverage existing programming and development skills, WAP is based on existing standards and protocols such as XML, HTTP, UDP, HTML and Javascript[8].

The key elements of the WAP specification include:

A well-known application development framework- The WAP transport model is analogous to the internet model, except for the gateway that is inserted between the web server and the client[8].

WML(Wireless Markup Language) as the standard markup language.

A browser inside WAP services that parses WML and WMLScript[8].

A framework to support advanced telephony, like WWW to mobile messaging, call forwarding, mobile to telefax access and address book access[8].

Figure 5

Figure 4 compares a protocol stack based on the internet model to WAP. As you can see, numerous networks are included in WAP with the ultimate goal of targeting multiple networks.

WIRELESS SESSION LAYER(WSP)

The wireless session protocol is an interface between the application layer and delivers all functions that are needed for wireless connections. A session mainly consists of 3 phases: start of the session, transferring information back and forth and the end of the session. Additionally, a session can be interrupted and started again(from the point where it was interrupted)[9].

WIRELESS TRANSACTION PROTOCOL

The Wireless Transaction Protocol (WTP) is a transaction-oriented protocol, executed using a datagram service. WTP offers the following functions[9]:

Three classes of transaction services

Unreliable one-way requests

Reliable one-way requests

Reliable two-way request/response transactions

Optional user-to-user reliability feature

The WTP user triggers confirmation for each received message[9].

WIRELESS TRANSPORTATION LAYER SECURITY(WTLS)

The wireless transport layer security is an optional layer or stack which consists of description devices. A secure transmission is crucial for certain applications such as e-commerce or WAP- banking and is a standard in these days. Furthermore, WTLS contains a check for data integrity, user authentication and gateway security[9].

WIRELESS DATAGRAM PROTOCOL(WDP)

The wireless datagram protocol represents the transfer or transmission layer and is also the interface of the network layer to all the above stack/layers. With the help of the WDP, the transmission layer can be assimilated to the specifications of a network operator. This means that WAP is completely independent from any network operator. The transmission of SMS, USSD, CSD, CDPD, IS-136 packet data and GPRS is supported. The Wireless Control Message Protocol(WCMP) is an optional addition to WAP, which will inform users about occurred errors[9].

2.10.3: HOW WAP WORKS

A typical WAP network consists of the following components[8]:

User with WAP-enabled device

Gateway

Application server

The Application server can be located in either a public or private IP network. The gateway is normally located in telecom networks but it can be setup by a company using its own computer systems[8].

A typical scenario using WAP technology

A user with a WAP device requests content from the application server[8].

The request reaches the gateway first, which does the protocol translation from WAP to HTTP and routes the HTTP request to the destination server[8].

The server returns WML output and adds HTTP headers to the gateway, depending upon whether dynamic or static pages are requested[8].

The gateway converts WML and HTTP to binary form to conserve bandwidth and returns a WAP response to the user[8].

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The browser inside the WAP device interprets the WML and shows the contents[8].

2.10.4: WAP LIMITATIONS

Compared to PCs, wireless devices are limited in terms of processing power, memory, battery life and display size. Other issues of low bandwidth, latency and connection stability brings motivation to come up with new set of WAP technologies[8].

2.11: INVESTIGATION OF POTENTIAL MOBILE WAP

(and Web) INTEGRATED DEVELOPMENT PLATFORM

Web development on mobile phones has long suffered from a rigid platform and the inability for mobile browsers to keep up with current web technologies. You could test your WML code with a cell phone but most providers charge a premium for Web access and testing could cost a lot. Instead, there exist emulators that are available, some of which are packaged with a full SDK while some even include a full Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

2.11.1: WML EMULATOR

Instead of installing an entire WAP SDK, you can install a WML emulator. An emulator allows you to view the contents of your WML files as they would be appear on the screen of a WAP-enabled device. There are various WAP emulators available. Some are illustrated below:

WAP PROOF 2008 professional version 4.2.0327

WAP Proof is an emulator of a WAP browser for Microsoft Windows, a universal WML, HTML and XHTML intended for designers of mobile content. It is designed for the preview and debugging of mobile websites.

The purpose of a WAP proof is to emulate the rendering of WML 1.3, HTML, XHTML Mobile Profile 1.0 and Chtml documents by different devices. The mobile- oriented content is rendered exactly as if it was downloaded on the real cellphone[10].

The source code of the WML document can also be viewed as illustrated below.

KLONDIKE WAP BROWSER

This is produced by Apache Software. Klondike looks like a Web browser and is therefore very easy to use for beginners. Local WML files can be accessed easily. Klondike WAP Browser employs the Wireless Markup Language (WML) through an implementation of Klondike WAP Microbrowser Engine, including character entities, text input and validation, single and multiple selection boxes, variable substitution, deck-card task and event shadowing, deck access control, GET and POST methods, variable escaping, timers, and BMPs and BMP anchors[11].

YOSPACE

Yospace is a mobile application s innovator and platform provider allowing digital publishers, mobile application developers, and mobile operators to rapidly and affordably deliver mobile video services[12]. WAP developers can use the desktop edition of the emulator to preview WAP applications from their desktop as the emulator provides a reasonably faithful reproduction of the actual handset products.

WinWAP

This is produced by Slob-Trot Software. WinWAP is a WML browser that works on any computer with 32-bit Windows installed. Moreover, it is web browser for WAP made by Winwap Technologies available for Microsoft Windows and any Windows CE powered device, like the common Windows Mobile powered Pocket PC phones[13]. WML files can be browsed locally from the hard drive or the internet with HTTP(as with your normal browser).

2.11.2: WEB SERVER SERVICES SOFTWARE

EasyPHP version 5.3.2

EasyPHP is a complete software package that allows you to use all the power and the flexibility that dynamic languages like PHP offer as well as the efficient use of databases. Package includes an Apache server, a MySQL database, a full PHP execution, as well as easy development tools for your applications.

You can change MIME configuration in apache to make the server recognize WML pages, WMLS and WBMP.

CERN server

It is a generic public domain full-featured hypertext server that can be used as a regular HTTP server. The server is typically running on port 80 to serve hypertext and other documents but it can also serve as a proxy – a server on a firewall machine, that provides access for people inside a firewall to the outside world. Furthermore, the server runs on most Unix platforms[14].

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