10 Ways That Mobile

Model Technology Solutions, a St. Louis-based consulting and managed services provider specializing in IT automation, announces the addition of Steve Bowman as vice president of sales. Bowman will lead Model’s sales strategy and execution, with a key focus on expanding the company’s proven managed services offering locally and regionally.


“Our primary goal in selecting the right addition to our leadership team was to find someone who shared Model’s passion for exceeding clients’ expectations and delivering smart IT solutions with integrity,” said Model managing partner, Jason Rutherford. “Having worked with Steve in the past, I know firsthand how dedicated he is to customer satisfaction, and I’m confident in the tremendous value he will bring to our team, clients and community at large.”


Bowman has an extensive history helping cross-industry clients apply the appropriate technology to achieve business results, having led several successful technology sales team expansions in his roles as vice president of sales at Oakwood Systems Group and, most recently, solutions manager at Object Computing Inc.


“I’m passionate about helping organizations uncover the right technology solutions to accomplish their business goals,” Bowman said. “Companies are facing growing demands in security and productivity but with fewer resources to do the work, so it’s exciting to join Model at a time when companies can benefit more than ever from Model’s unparalleled depth of expertise in automation technology.”


Bowman, his wife Suzy and their three children live in St. Charles, Missouri where they are active members of Harvester Christian Church, and are involved with several local non-profits such as The Salvation Army, LovetheLOU, and Global Charity Systems.


For interview opportunities or additional information, please contact Jason Rutherford at 314-401-6698 or via email.


Click here to download a PDF of the press release.

If you’re on-board for Amazon’s monthly Prime membership, I’ve got a bit of bad news for you on this cold December morning. The company’s bumping up pricing from $10.99 to $12.99. Not the end of the world, of course, but that comes out to about $156 a year — a $24 increase over the old price.

Amazon has confirmed the price increase with TechCrunch and laid all of this out on its Prime page. It also handily points out if you bite the bullet and pay the $99 yearly fee all up front, pricing will stay the same. In other words, the company would really like to just lock you into that lump sum. The company settled on the yearly pricing back in 2014, when things went up by $20.

The increase will also impact the company’s newly introduced student pricing. That also gets an 18-percent increase, moving from $5.49 to $6.49. Like the standard Prime membership, the yearly fee is staying put at $49.

If you’re already locked into Amazon’s ecosystem, it’s still a good deal with the free shipping and access to Prime Video, Music, et al. For Amazon, it’s been a wildly successful method for becoming a one-stop shop for consumers. And if the company can convince you to opt-in on a per-year basis, all the better.

The fee kicks in today for new members. Exciting subscribers will see the increase go into effective on the first renewal payment post-February 18.

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Japanese firm Omron’s robot arms can play table tennis.

At its oddest, CES becomes a giant Mad Libs competition in which manufacturers unveil products that seem to have combined trending features and buzzwords — VR, blockchain, Alexa — at random.

Consider the following seven items I came across at CES 2018, some of which address legitimate use cases and some of which may be closer to mad-scientist territory.

Vuzix Blade Smart Sunglasses

Would Google (GOOG, GOOGL) Glass headwear have done any better in the market if it had carried a description like “smart sunglasses”? Somewhat like that doomed project, this augmented-reality eyewear overlays projections of computer data on the world around you. Unlike Glass, Vuzix Blade will also let you request information and entertainment via… wait for it…. Amazon (AMZN) Alexa. Will that attract enough people willing to part with $1,000 or so? The developers hope to find out by the second quarter.


This Bay Area startup made its CES debut to tout its design for a self-driving store with an 80-mile range on a charge. The idea behind this vaguely van-shaped contraption is to bring the produce section (that being the part of the grocery store where people get most judgmental about how the fare looks) to your driveway. You’d summon one via your phone, pick out pre-packaged fruits and vegetables, and the company would bill your account automatically.


Watch out, scented candle: You’re about to get disrupted. This $189 “smart home scent diffusing device” can fill your abode with custom combinations of smells mixed from ingredients in fragrance capsules ($29.95 each after the first four that come with the Moodo device) with names such as “Citrus Fresh” or “Divine Rose.” You can control it with a smartphone app, or, of course, Alexa!

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Moodo is a “smart home scent diffusing device.”

Matrix PowerWatch

This activity-tracking smartwatch, $169, $199 or $249, depending on the model, requires constant recharging, which is OK because its power source is your own body heat. But be aware that the smartwatch’s features are limited, compared to an Apple (AAPL) Watch. The Matrix PowerWatch’s thermoelectric charging technology also imposes its own limits. For instance, the watch can’t be charged if it gets above 90 degrees outside, which makes Vegas a poor market for this.

Somnox Sleep Robot

If you have trouble going to sleep, spend a week at CES and you will find yourself nodding off all the time. If you can’t do that, Dutch startup Somnox has a different remedy in mind: a 4.5-lb. animatronic, fabric-coated lump that comes programmed to lull you to sleep “via breathing regulation, sounds and snuggling.” (The company is not unaware of the weirdness of that, to judge from the “I go to bed with a robot” T-shirts its employees wore.) It’s supposed to ship in September, with Indiegogo backers getting it for 499 euro.

HabitAware Keen

Many people go to Vegas to indulge bad habits, but HabitAware CEO Sameer Kumar brought this smart wristband here to help people quit theirs. The Bluetooth-linked Keen, $149 or $179, uses a 9-axis inertial measurement unit sensor to judge whether you’re about to snap into a habitual gesture — hair pulling, nail biting, scratching, whatever — that you want to quit and have trained it to recognize. When it detects one of those tics are about to happen, it vibrates automatically to help you stop.

(Admit, you were about to pick your nose until you read this paragraph.)

Venkat Dheeravath, VAM Programme Policy Officer in Papua New Guinea, talks about implementing mVAM in a country where 850 languages are spoken, his journey with WFP, from South Sudan to Southeast Asia via Iraq, and a moment in the field that changed him: being stranded without food rations and with no means of communication

Venkat leading a food distribution in the remote Highlands region of Papua New Guinea, for a community affected by the El Niño-induced drought

I grew up on a family farm in Andhra Pradesh, India. We grew vegetables for sale and I experienced the joys and hardships of farming while attending school. Little did I think then that I might one day be leading efforts to assess the food needs of vulnerable communities!

I studied Civil Engineering in Hyderabad City and worked in this field for several years before moving to GIS and Remote sensing, mapping croplands and completing my doctoral degree. Having also fulfilled my dream of working with NASA and the US Geological Survey, I asked myself “What next?”

I’ve long had a desire to serve humanity, and so my humanitarian journey with WFP started in South Sudan. As a GIS officer in Juba, I was meant to stay only for a short while – but in the end it turned out to be a five year stint! During that period, I assessed and mapped the entire South Sudan road network to assist the humanitarian community and the Government of South Sudan. There were countless times when while on mission, I had to sleep in the car on the middle of a remote road because our car got stuck in the mud – sometimes I had to survive only on muddy water!!

From East Africa, I moved to Iraq, where I helped set up and implement the country’s first mobile-based (mVAM) food security and market monitoring system. Then my journey took me, via Indonesia, to Papua New Guinea. Again, I was only supposed to stay for two weeks to support WFP’s response to the El Niño drought – but I’ve now been here for almost two years!

Since coming, I have successfully implemented mVAM in Papua New Guinea – even though many people did not believe it would work in a country where there are over 850 languages spoken. The context for WFP’s work here couldn’t be more challenging: data is scarce, the health, transport, and communication facilities are very basic, and accessibility and security problems make large regions of the country a very expensive place to operate any programmes. With 80% of the population living in very remote areas that are difficult to access, conducting food security monitoring through traditional face-to-face data collection methods would have been close to impossible. mVAM’s remote food security monitoring approach offered an alternative, viable option.

Digicel Call Center in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, from where the mVAM survey interviews are conducted

But we as the mVAM team also had to make sure that we would be able to effectively reach the people. Because of the large number of languages spoken in the country, we created our survey in two of the most common languages (English and Tok Pisin) and hired operators from different regions who could also speak various dialects. The second problem – no network coverage in some parts of the country – initially seemed hard to overcome, but, upon closer inspection, people in these regions are used to traveling across wards in order to catch a signal and communicate with relatives and traders pass by, so it was in fact possible to reach people who lived in areas not covered by a mobile signal. Our cooperation with the mobile network operator Digicel, which has solid network coverage and close to 100% of the market share, further helped us to reach a decent sample from the most drought-affected areas.

In February 2016 mVAM was first implemented in Papua New Guinea. In cooperation with the country’s National Disaster Centre, WFP launched a telephone-based survey to assess the effects of the El Niño-induced drought on food security and livelihoods. Our survey became the most comprehensive assessment of food security in the country. The findings then formed the basis for the design of WFP’s emergency response, helping us to provide food assistance to 268,107 of the country’s most vulnerable, food-insecure people.

For almost a week during the El Niño crisis, I travelled the ocean on a small dinghy with a life jacket to see the food insecurity situation on the remote islands of Milne Bay and subsequently led the distribution of food assistance with the Provincial Government. I am proud to say that I did not leave even one family behind on the outer islands and atolls, of which there are 110!

However, my dinghy trip was by no means my greatest adventure Papua New Guinea held in store for me. I recently travelled to a very remote area called Kira Station in Oro Province, located on a steep mountain in Waria Valley to validate the findings from our most recent mVAM survey, which classified the area as one of severe food insecurity. The only way to reach Kira Station is to use a private airline, which flies twice a week – provided there are enough passengers.

Our journey there went smoothly, but after two days, when we were supposed to fly back to Lae city, no plane came to pick us up. We were stranded with no means of communication. My satellite phone did not work because of technical issues, and there was no mobile signal in Kira Station. We had to walk through mountains for a day and a half before we were able to catch a very weak signal in one of the wards which borders Morobe Province, which allowed me to send a text message to the WFP regional office during a night of thick clouds and heavy rain. Every day, we looked up at the sky waiting for the plane only to see other planes flying over us.

On the mission to Kira Station to validate the mVAM survey findings

We ran out of food rations. Most of the communities around us were consuming only one partial meal a day since the crops had failed. So I also ended up surviving on greens (Choko leaves usually grown in the wild bush), poisonous nuts (which have to be processed carefully before consumption and are only eaten when no other food is available), spring water, and a few coconuts. In the ten days I spent stranded without rations, I truly experienced how much hunger can affect you!

Finally, we decided to walk to reach the nearest airstrip in Garesa in the neighboring Morobe Province, assisted by four local community leaders from Kira Station. We hiked through mountains, rivers, valleys, swamps, and steep cliffs, for another day and a half, during which we survived on greens and river water. The mountain paths were very slippery, but happily the rivers were not flooded so we managed our journey without any incidents except for a few falls on slippery tracks. On arrival at the Garesa airstrip, we were lucky that a plane landed shortly afterwards and the pilot agreed to take us back to Port Moresby although we would only be able to pay for the fare on arrival.

We continue our commitment to ensure that vulnerable communities get the support that they need, currently we’re focusing on establishing a two-year food security surveillance and analysis programme in partnership with the National Disaster Centre, the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, and the National Statistics Office. A lot remains to be done in Papua New Guinea, but I strongly feel that technology can play a major role in connecting and ensuring the food security of remote vulnerable communities.

25-9011.00 – Audio-Visual and Multimedia Collections Specialists

Prepare, plan, and operate multimedia teaching aids for use in education. May record, catalogue, and file materials.

Sample of reported job titles: Audio Video Technician, Audio Visual Coordinator, Audio Visual Specialist, Audio Visual Technician, Electronics Technician, Instructional Technology Specialist, Library Media Specialist, Media Specialist, Media Technician, Multimedia Services Coordinator

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Tasks  |  Technology Skills  |  Tools Used  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings


Show all 5 of 16 displayed
  • Set up, adjust, and operate audio-visual equipment, such as cameras, film and slide projectors, and recording equipment, for meetings, events, classes, seminars, and video conferences.
  • Maintain hardware and software, including computers, scanners, color copiers, and color laser printers.
  • Install audio-visual equipment.
  • Instruct users in the selection, use, and design of audio-visual materials and assist them in the preparation of instructional materials and the rehearsal of presentations.
  • Direct and coordinate activities of assistants and other personnel during production.

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Technology Skills

Show all 5 of 11 displayed     Show 29 tools used
  • Desktop publishing software — Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign Hot technology ; Microsoft Publisher Hot technology
  • Document management software — Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat Hot technology
  • Graphics or photo imaging software — Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop Hot technology ; Microsoft Visio Hot technology
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Video creation and editing software — Apple Final Cut Pro Hot technology

Hot technology Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.

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Show all 5 of 8 displayed
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Communications and Media — Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

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Show all 5 of 17 displayed
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.

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Show all 5 of 21 displayed
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Work Activities

Show all 5 of 23 displayed
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

    Recently frog has been researching how learning models are evolving–and how they can be improved–via the influence of mobile technologies. We’ve found that the education industry needs new models and fresh frameworks to avoid losing touch with the radically evolving needs of its many current and potential new constituencies. These range from a generation of toddlers just as comfortable with touchscreens as they are with books, to college-aged men and women questioning the value of physical campuses, to middle-aged and elderly professionals hoping to earn new skills in their spare time to secure a new job in turbulent economic times.

    We have been focusing on the concept of mLearning–where “m” usually stands for “mobile” but also just as easily for “me.” The near-ubiquity of handheld devices and their constantly lowering costs will enable the idea of “education that you can hold in your hand,” so it becomes a widespread reality in so-called developed markets and resource-challenged parts of the globe alike. Thanks to findings from a frogMob–an open research tool that allows people to upload and contribute their own observations from around the globe–along with additional research and other insights contributed by our partners at the World Economic Forum, we have arrived at 10 key themes that are likely to drive the development of mLearning initiatives in innovative directions. Here they are.


    Up until now, most people relegated “education” to a finite time in their lives: entering school at around five years old and attending school institutions all the way to university. Education had an expiration date, then working life began. This model, which has its roots in the industrial era, is quickly becoming less relevant or applicable to the way we live our lives in the connected age.

    Education is getting increasingly interspersed with our daily activities. On our phones, tablets, and PCs, we download and digest life or work-related articles with instructions on how to fix our appliances or how to use a new professional software program. Many people across age groups decide to take formal online courses in their spare time, including complex subjects such as artificial intelligence, computer science, and game theory–all real examples of free courses offered by Stanford University and taken by everyday people, including 11-year-old kids and retirees.

    Continuous learning will simply be a given for the generations of today’s youngsters who are often literally born within reach of a connected personal device.


    Continuous learning isn’t just happening in the developed world. With low-priced computerstablets, and cell phones in the hands of children in resource-challenged communities, many kids who are engaging in technological leapfrogging will have the opportunity to skip past outdated formal school systems, too. This is especially relevant in the case of children living in poverty, who may be denied an opportunity to improve their condition through education because they start working very early to help sustain their families or do not live near schools.

    The ability to interstitially access educational content during pauses throughout their daily routine, or at night, or even as a running “soundtrack” that accompanies them during their tasks are all novel opportunities offered by a classroom that can follow you wherever you go.


    A by-product of the continuous learning phenomenon is the fact that the grandparents of children growing up with a touchscreen in their hands–people in their 60s today–are being pulled into mLearning more than ever, motivated to adoption by the need to stay in touch with their grandkids.

    The availability of tablets and other touch-enabled devices has radically reduced the perceived complexity of computers, helping older users to more easily communicate with their middle-aged children and grandkids via email, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype.

    This is a demographic group that often has the time availability to take online courses for fun, but the same time availability also offers another untapped opportunity: Retirees represent a huge potential talent pool of educators who could address the scarcity of qualified teachers in many areas of the world–especially if they teach remotely, via mLearning.


    In parts of the globe where, because of centuries of cultural practices, young women may still not be allowed to access a formal education, mLearning promises to be able to put girls and women of all ages in contact with high-quality education privately and on their own time. Along similar lines mLearning also helps bring educational material within the reach of people with extreme disabilities, who may not be physically able to get to a classroom or campus on a regular basis. In both of these cases, new freedoms can be exposed. As a result, these groups can take control of their educational and professional destinies.


    MLearning could usher in a boom of interest in learning software programming languages, which could very well become a new lingua franca. This is already happening; Numerous startup web-based businesses today such as Codecademy teach people via interactive lessons how to understand and write software programs. Not even a year old, Codacademy has more than a million “students” and has raised about $3 million in venture-capital funds.

    This scenario is particularly relevant in emerging economies, where gaining software development expertise can introduce new opportunities for economic growth, or give communities what they need to address unmet local needs. Consider the boom of homegrown startups in Kenya that has been shaping mHealth solutions to solve some of the many health care issues affecting the country, or the success of an organization like Ushahidi, which has been financing a social high-tech accelerator called iHUB in Nairobi precisely to promote software literacy and local entrepreneurship.


    MLearning solutions are poised to tap into the vast amount of existing educational materials that could be made accessible via mobile channels. This is especially true with YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-sharing services already providing a critical mass of tips, tutorials, and full-fledged lessons that can be re-aggregated by theme and packaged as educational material. The recent TED-Ed initiative attests to the opportunity offered by the clever repurposing of existing quality lessons.

    Others have leveraged the video-sharing social platforms to distribute educational materials created in an ad hoc way. It’s a model made famous by Salman Khan, an MIT graduate who, with his eponymous academy“flips” the traditional education model by having pupils absorb lessons at home, and practice and discuss what they’ve learned at school instead.

    The range of mLearning materials does not need to be limited to higher education but can easily encompass valuable, practical know-how, from grandmothers showing how to prepare traditional recipes to companies demonstrating how to install solar panels on mud huts.

    The nature and complexity of educational materials can also vary greatly and not necessarily require a video-capable smartphone: Humanitarian organizations like MAMA have put to good use simple text messages to help mothers in developing economies learn about pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for their infants.

    These examples illustrate how the power of mLearning lies in its ability to offer solutions for numerous niche audiences.


    The same handheld-connected tools that enable children and adults to access existing educational solutions also provide the opportunity for them to capture and share knowledge in return. In other words, imagine kids who are raised with programming and video-production knowledge from very early ages creating educational materials for their peers, or even to teach adults, exposing them to very young people’s points of view of the world. Imagine a 12-year-old boy explaining how effectively to communicate health information to him as a tutorial for nurses, physicians, and parents.


    Developers of emerging mLearning ecosystems can learn a lot from their predecessors in mBanking and mHealth and such services as mobile money transfers or mobile health monitoring. Beyond adapting some ideas, including using text messaging to deliver short lessons, teacher feedback, and grades, mLearning, mHeatlh, and mFinance can also be synergistically combined. After all, better education can easily improve people’s financial condition and in turn positively influence their health. These three factors can be combined in different orders without changing the result, which will always be more than then sum of the individual components. Applied on a micro or macro scale, this virtuous cycle has the potential to become a very effective way to improve personal, regional, and even national economies.


    The mLearning phenomenon will not necessarily compete with well-established schools but actually complement and extend their current offerings. An intriguing new model was offered when Harvard and MIT announced that they have teamed up to offer free online courses via a joint nonprofit organization, edX. Both universities will observe how students respond to the courses to better understand distance learning.

    After a few missed opportunities in the early 2000s, established universities seem to be looking beyond turning a profit and are turning to mLearning as a means to find new promising students or research how people learn. Traditional institutions could also help mLearning solutions scale quickly by leveraging their vast and established networks of students, faculty, and alumni. The business potential could also be big; a report published in February by Global Industry Analysts projects the global market for online and other electronic distance learning to reach $107 billion by 2015.


    The key for successfully channeling the mLearning revolution will not simply be about digitizing current educational systems. The real appeal will be allowing people to choose their own paths, leverage their talents, and follow their passions and callings. MLearning has much business potential, but the most exciting and rewarding aspect of these solutions is that students of any age or background might have the chance to pursue knowledge that is meaningful, relevant, and realistic to achieve in their own lives.

    Mobile technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in the higher education space and educators must embrace and capitalize on the use of this technology in order to remain relevant.

    Let’s start at the bottom line: With the increasingly important role mobile plays today, some are still failing to grasp its significance or, worse yet, are ignoring it altogether.

    As we continue to spend more time on our mobile devices, we’re spending less time on other media. Smartphone usage grew by 50 percent from 2011 to 2012; there are now four times as many smartphone owners as there are computer owners in the United States [1].  What’s more, Forrester Research reports that American tablet ownership doubled in 2012. In the words of Business Insider Editor and CEO Henry Blodget, “Everyone in the global economy who just finished scrambling to embrace the PC-based Internet is now frantically scrambling to figure out mobile.”[2]

    What does all of this mean for education?

    For starters, there is a clear opportunity to move students of all ages beyond playing games, texting friends, and otherwise wasting time, to actually learning something useful from educational content delivered via a mobile website or app. A whopping 91 percent of Americans have their mobile devices within reach 24/7 and mobile is proving a crucial platform for learners: Younger students are growing up with this technology and have different — and higher — expectations than older learners. Older learners need and want the convenience and ease of use they have quickly come to expect from their mobile devices. Users from both groups are already discovering and yearning for more educational content on their mobile devices.

    Understanding Mobile’s Challenges Mobile devices are used differently by different audiences, each of which has its own set of needs, therefore presenting varying value propositions and resulting benefits based on each audience segment. People are increasingly using a combination of desktops, laptops, tablets and phones for consumption of content, and educators need to address all of these platforms in a cohesive and integrated manner. Add to the equation that as many as 86 percent of cellphone owners are using their mobile devices to do a variety of things while in front of the TV, bringing in the challenge of holding students’ attention.

    There is a clear separation between how people digest content among platforms. They may start a course on their desktop, resume while mobile on an iPhone, then switch to a tablet. And when you consider that, while Android mobile users may own an iPad, iPhone users are not likely to own an Android tablet, supporting the mobile ecosystem can become even more complex.

    The complexity is worth it. The mobile opportunity doesn’t just help existing education models, but it is also unlocking new content and new ways of learning for both students and instructors. On-demand videos in Adult Learning and educational games for K-12 and are just two examples of new ways to educate two very different audiences using the mobile platform. And with an increasing number of apps not requiring an Internet connection, mobile users are even more likely to use their smartphones to take courses while on the go.

    When bringing educational content to the mobile platform on an app, for example, the most common hurdles are:

    • Integrating the user experience across all media;
    • Reach, i.e. not getting lost in the clutter of the app stores so that, when you build an app, people actually find it;
    • User engagement, i.e. making sure people actually use your mobile app after they download it;
    • Monetization, i.e. including payments within Apple Appstore;
    • Cross-platform support, i.e. supporting Android smartphone users who also own an iPad.

    Distribution can be more difficult on mobile than on the web because of the need to go through the app stores for mobile applications. A strong product-market fit is no longer enough to attain a large user base. After all, how many of us regularly use more than 10 apps? The key is keeping users engaged and continuing to use the app, even after the six-week honeymoon period.

    Mobile Recommendations If you don’t have your educational content or service available and optimized for mobile, you are likely losing business and potentially falling behind competitors and upstarts whether you realize it or not.

    Think about timing. Studies have shown that people use their mobile devices the most in the morning and the evening, depending on audience segment. How do you translate that into usage for education purposes? In our experience, you focus on the places and times people reserve as private time for learning: at the kitchen table, during commutes and longer travel, as a passenger in the car with family and before bed.

    For mobile websites, first define your target audience and then be sure the site has clear, simple navigation, is blazing fast and feels tailored to mobile and to the smaller, more personal screens.

    For apps, master the commonly referenced flow of “download app, use app, keep using app, put it on your home screen” by continually measuring user behavior and improving the mobile experience with each new product release.

    Overall, you can avoid becoming a laggard in the mobile race by:

    • Resourcing mobile as a separate initiative, but one in which the user experience is still integrated across other media such as desktop;
    • Providing a truly mobile-optimized experience (fast!);
    • Understanding your user’s behaviors in the mobile world and how they may differ from other online or offline experiences;
    • Managing the mobile ecosystem to ensure users can find and engage with you in the mobile medium.

    Now is the time for educators to embrace mobile. It is not going away; on the contrary, it’s quickly moving from being a key advantage to “table stakes” in the race to bring educational content to mobile users. Organizations that aren’t already working to integrate mobile into their education strategy will be left behind.




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