Augmented Reality eLearning 2012 talk

Today I gave an expert session on “mobile augmented reality (MAR) in het onderwijs” at the eLearning congres in the Brabanthallen 1931 at the eLearning congress 2012. Background information on the event is on the webpage The session was full and I had some positive feedback on the session. Basicaly I presented some patterns about how to use MAR from shared perspectives on 3D objects to collaborative notes sharing attached to physical objects. The more I talk about AR and learning i think it is linked to the synchronisation process in AICHE, i.e. the key question for successful use of AR and MAR is how you design the link between the digital media and the physical environment.

The fair is much more focused on business market and professional training compared to IPON. Some interesting talks and demos I have come across. iTour 360 is one of the e-learning award winners that does some stuff quite comparable to what we do with ARLearn, it is a nice tool for building tours and deliver on mobiles and has some aspects about integrating real time information and location-based filtering.

All information from my talk is available online at:




Mobiele Technologie Talk at IPON2012 (updated)


Just some reflection on my keynote at IPON (ICT Platform Onderwijs) in Utrecht today.

first find my slides in dspace at:


Specht. M. (2012, 29 March). Mobiele technologie in het onderwijs. Presentation at the IPON 2012 ICT Platform Onderwijs, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Basically IPON is a trade show with a variety of podia and stands of all kinds of technology and software companies offering services on the dutch market.

I gave a talk about “mobile technology for learning” mainly following the argumentation line:

  1. A calculator is a mobile device used since ages in the classroom.
  2. smartphones deliver the same functionality and much more!
  3. so but there is one problem …
  4. kids do not want to use it for the things that teachers want them to do.
  5. So as a follow up I showed several apps and some ideas on how to use them in the classroom and beyond as the main power of mobile devices lies in that they

    • are a bridge to the world of the users
    • these are personal and always with them devices
    • they can be used in and outside the classroom
    • they can collect media of all sorts
    • they can be contextualized (or adaptive to the situation)
  6. some of the apps that I used:

    • iStandford, Moodle Mobile
    • audioboo, Evernote
    • weather, Nike+, bar coo, wikitude
    • whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook
    • ARLearn, Mooble

Basically one can say already with quite some basic tools you get out of the box you can implement mobile and ubiquitous learning support today. In most cases users should focus on one feature to be introduced at the time, and understand what they can do with it.

After that I watched two other sessions: Guido van Dijk was talking about Connect College and how the school developed a vision leading to the ICT implementation strategy. The result of this project was a quite impressive movie about the vision statement of Connect College which I will post as soon as I get my hands on.

A second session was announced about Bring Your Own Device, but to be honest as a conclusion of that session one can say: “You need a safe and stable network on which users can log in with different devices!” Yes! and of course you should purchase that with supplier XYZ.

In general there have been quite some interesting sessions on the trade show, further I have not seen so many interactive whiteboards on a trade show ever. Ok the last years I have not been on trade shows in general. So in this sense it seem obvious, lot of vendors want to sell their 80″ touch screens that you can use as table or hanging on the wall. This seem to fit quite well with our research works on Ambient Displays and how to use them for learning. Nevertheless most of these solutions are really expensive still, so you can ask: Should I school really invest in screens of 10.000 each? ups.


Toolkit for DIY Sensor Recording

Today I came across a toolkit for building corss platform DIY sensor recording apps on iOS and Android.


“The AntiMap is an Open Source creative toolset for recording and visualising your own data. The project currently consists of a smart phone utility application (AntiMap Log) for data capture, and a couple of web/desktop applications (AntiMap Simple and AntiMap Video) for post analysis and data visualisation.

Our aim is to produce new and creative representations of data. If you would like to contribute or have created a visualisation you would like to share, please contact us.”


They have a nice snowboarding video:

AntiMap Video application: Unofficial snowboard edit from Trent Brooks on Vimeo.

Music: The XX – Intro (1984 remix)

My aim for this project is to aid in the progression of snowboarding and skiing by means of gathering real-time rider data and post analyzing with video synchronization.

I used an Android phone (HTC Sensation) with a custom built application (AntiMap Log), placed upright against my lead hip/waist inside my pants to log all the stats and information. This position is the most stable and yields the most accurate results for spinning/rotation when snowboarding. Just placing it in any of your pockets works fine for everything else except rotation as it moves around when loose.

Video was captured with a Go Pro camera. In the first segment of the video I had it attached to my helmet, and in the next segment I’m just holding it (I forgot the camera strap – idiot!). Whilst I decided to film myself for these early tests, having someone else do the filming would be ideal.

So data and video are recorded separately to keep the riding experience as unaffected as possible. Then once your pow riding day is over and you’ve recorded that perfect run, you can synchronise your video and data easily with the AntiMap Video desktop application and play it all back.

– Real time snowboard/ski games. I was originally inspired for this project by playing Shaun White snowboarding on Nintendo Wii.
– Making personal snow/ski movies.
– Training/tutoring tool.
– Competitions. I’d love to see technology like this used in an accompanying role at televised events such as the Winter X Games. Giving spectators a bit more insight through data and stats would be invaluable.
– Whilst I specifically built this application for snow/ski, it could just as easily be adapted to suit other sports such as mountain biking, skateboarding, parkour, gymnastics, even running or walking.

Data is gathered through a smart phone utility application built in Processing called ‘AntiMap Log’. The application logs latitude, longitude, compass direction, speed, distance, and time to a standard CSV file at 30fps. Currently Android only, iPhone version is under development.

The post analysis application, ‘AntiMap Video’ is a desktop application built in Openframeworks. It allows the logged data from the mobile application to be synced with video footage (not captured with phone). The standout feature of the AntiMap Video application is spin detection, which uses the compass data to accumulate a rotation value and attempt to determine when a 360, 540, 720, 900, 1080 has occurred and which direction (frontside/backside). The rider’s path and current position is graphically generated from the recorded latitude and longitude into a mini map. Speed, distance, and time stats also update on screen.

AntiMap Video is still an early working prototype at the moment, but I will be continuing development and improving before making it available for download. Application and source code will be released free under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 ( This is the first of a few free applications I plan on releasing for the AntiMap project which visualize logged data from the mobile application.

I am looking for testers to help create the first official AntiMap Video. I failed in my search for the perfect run at Mr Ruapehu (1 bluebird day at Whakapapa with no helmet strap for the camera and no park, followed by 3 days of whiteout at Turoa). I just recently left New Zealand, and won’t even be close to snow till at least next winter, so need some help! In short, I just want someone to film their perfect run landing a couple of spins off medium/large jumps whilst running the mobile application. If anyone is interested, drop me an email All you need is an Android phone and a camera (preferably a POV helmet cam like the Go Pro).

I’m a little disappointed I was unable to find my perfect run and had to Frankenstein together videos to show different parts of the applications functionality. But overall I’m happy with the results of the tests.

Applications and source code for iPhone & Android available:

Interesting collection of best practices for CRS

Classroom response systems are often named as a popular way to integrate mobile technology in the classroom. As comprehensive collection of best practices and reflection on educational practices can be found at:

Set of references with underpinning research at:


Building Sensor Based Apps for iOS update

Last year I build some apps makeing use of sensors build into the iPhone.

This blog post gives an overview of resources I have explored and found helpful as also examples used.

I tried out some sample code and started to experiment with sensors build into the iPhone.


  • A first pretty cool example reminded me of the ContextBlogger that Tim once started. Tagging events with timestamp, tags, GPS location. This is basically what you get from TaggedLocations: If you want to try yourself beware you can only deploy stuff to phones and not run them in the simulator as you need the sensor stuff in the hardware, so compile and run will give you an error with the “No architectures to compile for (ARCHS=i386, VALID_ARCHS=armv6 armv7)”.
  • Second one was a Teslameter (Hi Stefaan ;-)) this one gives you the Gyroscope data and visualizes them in a kind of simple trikorder user interfaces.
  • A simple “air level” Wasserwaage is the third one. Interesting in relation to keep balance whilst doing an other activity, so one could use the module in experiments to calm down as in the Air Medic game
More example to come, good book is

OS X Dictionaries for Dutch

So a lot of times I come across the problem that I have to look up a word or check the detailed meaning of a word when reading and writing dutch. 

Most of the time until now I used van Dale widget, which gives you a good solution but I never found a good way to integrate with the existing dictionary in OS X. So now solution found.

On the the website

I found several dictionaries as

From Dutch:

Čeština ➠➠ Nederlands (2.8 MB)

Dansk ➠➠ Nederlands (442KB)

English ➠➠ Nederlands (1.6 MB)

English ➠➠ Nederlands (1.6 MB)

Français ➠➠ Nederlands (2 MB)

Svenska ➠➠ Nederlands (1.3 MB)


To Dutch:

Nederlands ➠➠ Čeština (2.5 MB)

Nederlands ➠➠ Dansk (726KB)

Nederlands ➠➠ Deutsch (3.5 MB)

Nederlands ➠➠ English (4.6 MB)

Nederlands ➠➠ English (2.2 MB)

Nederlands ➠➠ Français (3.3 MB)

Nederlands ➠➠ Svenska (1.4 MB)

that you just can download and add to your system folder for dictionaries, after restarting in OS X you can use these ;-).

UNESCO Mobile Learning Week report published

From 12-16 December 2011 the first mobile leanring week has been held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This week the report has been published. 

The report provides a good overview on the practical challenges for mobile learning for the information society – that is turning increasingly into a mobile information society. This has implications for education and teaching, where not only educational concepts are of relevance but also economical and societal factors have to be considered. Furthermore, it becomes clearer that mobile learning tackles a different set of educational problems than elearning did some 10-15 years ago.

You can download the report from the UNESCO web-site.

Sensors and Biofeedback

We are currently kicking off some cooperation project for the evaluation of bio-sensor feedback for more focused work. I think there are quite some interesting technologies on the horizon in the area of sensors, bio-feedback, and learning and perofrmance support.

When visiting Stanford University I had some talks with Neema Moraveji ( director of the Calming Technology Lab. They do interesting work on breath control, user feedback, and using the state of being calm for more productive and efficient work. I remember the idea of "if you are working with a computer for your body it’s like being attacked all the time".

An interesting aspect is how to design these kind of tools so that the distraction from the main activities is not high. Split attention effects for monitoring your calm status on the one hand and being productive on the other hand. One idea would probably be that by monitoring your state for some time reactivates senses that we had before and that we have just unlearned by every day stress and schooling.

In one of the upcoming experiment we will probably look how we can use the monitoring of breath, skin resistance, and/or heartbeat while answering multiple-choice questions.

On ths image see my colleague being hooked up to a sensor controlling a bio-feedback game.

Group versus individual analytics – why versus?

Wolfgang’s recent overview of the discussion on perspectives of learning analytics discusses tactics of annonymising “group analytics” for personal use. The main critique of that blog entry is that the common approach to ensure “privacy’ is flattening the data so no individual can get identified. However, this might render the resulting information useless for learning support. Privacy aspects raise certainly ethical issues for educational applications of analytical data. I consider data flattening as a naïve approach for enforcing privacy. 

First of all, the common data flattening approache takes perspective takes a very pessimistic viewpoint that literally everybody is your enemy from whom you should get protected (e.g., because you might get bullied). Of course, the education system is not a friendly environment, but equally not everybody is an enemy. There are social planes that influence individual learners in different ways.

Secondly, privacy is tightly coupled to personal perception: everybody draws the line between private and public differently and what is considered private is quite fragmented rather than a homogeneous space. The aspect of fragmentation has been quite nicely addressed by Google plus, which makes a difference between the “all private” or “all public” dichtomy of prior social network applications. This fragmentation is further extended by individual choices of what is considered private or public information. 

Thridly, privacy and more particularly data privacy is considered something that has to be produceted. Data privacy is frequently used as a synonm for data protection, for which the provider of an IT system is responsible. However, data protection and data privacy are to very different concepts. I agree that data protection has to be assured by a system provider, but data privacy is a shared responsibility of those who run a system and those who provide the data. Closely related to this problem area is transparency. Learners can only take personal responsibilty of their data/analytics if they are aware what data and analytical approaches are awailable. 

The primary privacy issues that affect learning analytics affect three different problem areas.

  1. Social planes
  2. Personalisation
  3. Transparency

The dimension of social planes for providing tunable perspectives on learning analytics data has been recently discussed in Flores et al. (2011)

Personalisation of information distribution is currently diffusing into a range of social software platforms after Google has introduced the circles in its Plus service. 

Transparency for supporting learning has been covered by Verpoorten et al. (2009) and Glahn (2010).

The main challenge ethical challenge is to integrate these dimensions into an educationally sound framework. This will not be achievable without rethinking and sometimes disrupting popular educational design approaches, paradigms, and organisational policies. 

Self-regulated learning and situation awareness

On the CELSTEC Mobile Media retreat meeting I gave a presentation about the relation between self-regulated learning, reflection, and situation awareness. These concepts are relevant for contextualised informal learning. 

In this presentation I reviewed the Butler & Winne Self-regulation Model and the Endsley Situation Awareness Model. There are some interesting relations that received very little attention in the area of mobile and contextual learning.