EdTech Mobile

Creating unique Mobile experiences

How to create unique mobile experiences

So I promised a while ago to put together some ideas of using mobile to create unique learning experiences. They’re unique because they use the device to facilitate the experience, rather than being the experience itself.

Location Aware

Most smartphones have a GPS. Use this in combination with maps, QR codes and augmented reality and you can create experiences that directly relate to the students location. The location becomes integral to the learning experience.

  • DigiMaq – multimedia tour that takes you through the streets of Parramatta
  • QR Code Treasure Hunt – used as part new student orientation

Quick Research

With mobile devices being connected to the web you have at your fingertips to a vast array of information. You can on capitalise this by encouraging quick research – get students to pull out their mobiles and find answers. You don’t have to organise a trip to the library or book a computer lab – the mobile experience is always available.

Augmented Research

There’s no need to think of mobiles replacing books, journals or lecturers. What is possible is the ability to use mobiles to augment, or feature add to traditional research. Find a good quote, a word you don’t understand, a book you want to borrow later – use the mobile to store or find that information.

  • Evernote – Has the ability to take notes but upload pictures. Will even do text recognition on the photos so you can easily search and find. Available as a web, desktop and mobile apps available.


Mobiles provide students with a multifunctional device and one that can be used to increase interaction. Connecting to the web allows teachers to use existing web services to get feedback, run a poll, ask questions – and more importantly – get a response from students and get them involved in the class. Why do student spend time on facebook during a lecture? Because they’re not engaged. Engage students, make them part of the lesson.

Make a Record

Smartphones also come equiped with a camera capable of both video and stilll images as well as a microphone. So students are equipped with all the gear required to record the world around them. Get students to use their phones to record what they see, how they feel, demonstrate what they would do and then get them to collaborate and share these recordings.

  • Flickr – students can take pix and upload them direct to flickr to share and comment.
  • WordPress – fantastic blogging tool with great mobile apps. Can publish media too.


Mobile devices also provide students with the ability to create new content. They can paint and draw using the touch interface. Write and process articles, journals, diaries and essays. Students can map out and create simple and complex diagrams. You can also write and perform music of staggering quality, edit it, processes and upload it. And don’t forget editing and processing those images and videos you recorded earlier.


Mobiles are uniquely tactile devices. Their very form factor allows them to be handled, passed around and physically shared. The technology inside – bluetooth and wifi – also allows them to share content quickly and easily.

  • Bump – share contacts, photos and files by simply bumping phones together!

Read Anywhere

Books are great, I love them – but being physical objects they have certain limitations. I have an extensive library, but be damned if I’m lugging that around. I struggle to even take the book I’m reading anywhere outside the house. eBooks and eTexts allow students to carry a whole library with them in their pocket and frees them from the physical constraints of a traditional book. It also means that anywhere and anytime is a perfect time to pull that book out and have a read.

  • iBooks – browse and read from Apples book store – you can also import existing ePub and PDF documents.
  • Kindle – browse and read books from Amazon – now has textbook rentals and friend lending available
  • Inkling – amazing textbooks developed specifically for the iPad. Really demonstrates the potential available.

Discipline Specific

While being platform agnostic – in the way they can be applied to most subjects in a generic way – mobiles can utilise a range of Apps to for more discipline specific functions. This transform a mobile device into a functional tool for students tackling specialised areas of study.

  • OsiriX HD – viewer for a range of medical images including ultrasound and MRI.
  • AnatomyLab – Explore the anatomy of the human body as if you were a dissector in an anatomy laboratory.
  • Molecule – view and manipulate three-dimensional renderings of molecules.


Mobile devices are inherently 1 to 1, you dont have a lab or a rack of these devices that you roll in. These devices are personal in a way that is unlike any other device or computer. They store all the people you contact, personal information, photos, memories, & music. When applied to a learning environment then they become a personal learning device. One that the student controls, manages, tweaks and makes their own. The learning too becomes personalised – the content is consumed by the learner at a time and in a way that suits them, that responds to their demands. In this sense the mobile device creates a personal learning environment.

Get Organised

A personal assistant is something we could all use. Someone to mark in your meetings, deadlines, priorities, to-do lists and then actually remind you to get them done. By utilising the calendars and various apps on a mobile device you really have that in the palm of your hand. Get students more organised – make them put events into their phone, mark in their assessment dates, reminders, lists – teach them that organisation is part of any effective learning!

  • Due – my favourite to-do app because it bugs you until you tick it off!
  • Things – great task manager. Easy to break down projects and manage what needs to get done.
  • Calendar – most phones will have a calendar app that you can sync to your exchange or google calendar (or other open formats).

OK so that’s it. Feel free to comment and add your favourite or appropriate apps or examples you’ve found. Would love to build this up as a resource!

PS: A heap of Apps and applications of mobile devices.


By Tim Klapdor

Passionate about good design, motivated by the power of media and enchanted by the opportunities of technology.

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