Projects‎ > ‎Ed Maps‎ > ‎

Full Report


Authors

Jack Marrows

Wan HJ IBRAHIM

Ching-sheng Hsu

Nick Jones

Project Overview

Identification

DED provides educational supportive tools to Australian schools. DEDs objective is to meet the demands of ICTs in the education industry and work with schools and government bodies to introduce sustainable, best learning practises.

This report demonstrates the education ICT activities, investment, and trends within Australia. The purpose of this analysis is to provide justification of DEDs Ed Map proto-type. Furthermore, this report will illustrate how the development team built the application to meet the requirements of the educational system. The technical element of the report delivers deeper understanding into the development process and barriers met in the project. Overall this report presents the DED Ed Map solution, in preparation for further investment and incremental implementation across Australian schools.


Purpose

The primary purpose of this report is to analyse the current educational initiatives and provide justification for future investment for Ed Map.


Key Project Deliverables

The project is broken into three key categories:

Business Case

· Research into the pedagogy methods that lay the foundations for learning environments in the future

· Research into ICTs in schools, targeting education

· Research into Mobile technology in youth

· Research into policy, privacy, and other legal implications

· Research into private and government investment

Design

· Technical research into mobile device and suitability

· Human Interface Design that meets the context

· List of best practises that meet the application requirements

· Reflection on programming barriers and achievements

· Future scope for the application

Proto-Type

· Fully operational web application. Utilising:

· MySQL databases

· PHP back ends

· XHTML validated user interface

· JavaScript (including AJAX)

· CSS

· Native iPhone application




Scope

DED Ed Map proto-type is for demonstration purposes only. The application will require government support and investment before the scope is increased. The DED proto-type is initially targeted but not limited to, primary school students ages 4-7. The application is currently located on a server and is accessible by web browser. Proto-type Apple and Android native application have been developed with basic capabilities however the Web mobile formatted application is fully functional.


Roles and Responsibilities

This section of the report details the work responsibilities of each team member, providing a brief description of each person’s contributions to the overall completion of the project.

JACK MARROWS- Concept design, research and industry analyst, and project architect. Jack as an educational professional was responsible for both concept design issues, and technical requirements and constraints. Jack has provided comprehensive research into the trends in the educational industry, directing the project to meet innovative educational opportunities in mobile computing. Jack has extensively scripted in JavaScript (and AJAX), XHTML, PHP and MySQL to create a working prototype.

WAN HJ IBRAHIM- Initial Android application mock ups.
CHING-SHENG HSU- Application design, research and the analysis of smart phone in hardware and software. In project, Andy as developer and analysisapplication in Android 2.1 platform.
NICK JONES- Business challenge analysis, report designer, and application designer. Nick has ensured the focus of the project has remained on track, establishing guidelines from the assignment materials. Nick provided a clear and comprehensive view of the business challenges, opportunities, and functions of the system.


Business Case

Problem and Justification analysis

21st Century Skills
Schools play a very important role in every society. Great schools will empower their students to achieve anything they set their mind to and that is their role. Education exists to prepare students socially, spiritually, musically, athletically and of course academically. However, globalisation is changing the world.

One of the negative aspects of globalisation that western states are experiencing is the loss of jobs to outsourcing to other countries. Furthermore, it is becoming more and more apparent that the youth of today over their life time will be employed in a greater number of roles than those currently working. This is due to corporations employing far less tenured employee in the name of flexibility to enable them to achieve better profits within a quickly changing market. To compete, businesses must constantly create new types of customers, this means they must also create new employees (often found through outsourcing and contracting) (O'Brien, 1992). Therefore, corporations look to employ people who can learn and adapt quickly, think for themselves, take responsibility and make decisions (Gee et al, 1996). Thus, preparing students for life educators must promote 21st century skills within their classroom.

"A profound gap exists between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need for success in their communities and workplaces."(Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004)

This is an opinion shared by education experts around the world and, it is a concern that extends beyond American schools. Skills that were valued traditionally such as neat handwriting and good spelling are less important in today’s workforces.

An organisation that is pushing the agenda in this way of thinking is Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2004). The skills are split into two categories the content and the skills. Content is very similar to that of traditional schooling however, it is the skills that are important. To be successful in the 21st century students need to learn:

Critical thinking and problem solving
· Students need to be able to reason effectively (reason deductively, inductively, etc), use systems thinking (analyse how parts of a whole interact with each other), make judgments and decisions and solve problems.

Communication and collaboration
· Communicate clearly (communicate using a range of modes for a range of purposes) and collaborate with others (work effectively in a team).

Creativity and innovation
· Students need to be able to think creatively (brainstorming), work creatively with others (be open and responsive to new ideas of others and provide constructive feedback) and implement innovations (act on ideas).

Despite these skills having been identified, educational computer applications that are released and marketed towards students continue to be very content oriented. A case study of Bounty Boulevard State School and Undurba State School was completed to understand how computers are being used. The following applications were identified as being used regularly:

· Matheletics - Students practice math facts and compete against people around the world,

· Spellodrome - Students practise spelling,

· Scholastics Lexile - Students answer questions about books they have read,

· Spellingcity - Students practise their spelling and

· Windows Movie Maker - Students record and edit movies.

This is a true reflection of the applications being used within these schools and across the state. What becomes apparent is that students are spending a lot of time practising maths facts and spelling. This approach is traditional in nature and teaches a way of learning which won't be necessary in the 21st century. Rote learnt content can't be applied to new situations and isn't useful in an era where change occurs quickly. Of the applications it is clear that Lexile may help with student communication and Windows Movie Maker empowers creativity. However, there is a clear void in current educational ICT practice which could be filled by educational tools that actively promote creativity, communication, collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving.

In 2002 Education Queensland released the Productive Pedagogies. These are teaching strategies that aim to promote relevance for students and best classroom practices for teachers. Applications being developed for QLD schools should aim to align with these best practices.

Such applications should not be content specific. Instead they are a way of working for students. Using the Productive Pedagogies DED has set out to create a web application that reflects rich pedagogy in teaching 21st century skills. DED is designed to promote:

· Higher-order thinking: Requires students to combine facts and ideas and synthesizes, generalize, explain, hypothesize or arrive at some conclusion or interpretation.

· Deep knowledge: "Deep knowledge involves establishing relatively complex connections to those central concepts." (DETA, 2002).

· Deep understanding: Refers to students understanding a topic in a relatively systematic, integrated or holistic way. Students understand how the fragments of a concept fit together.

· Academic engagement: Students learn when they are attentive and do the assigned work.

· Connectedness to the world: Involves relating content being taught to the real world in a context that is relevant to the students. (DETA, 2002)

Other Productive Pedagogies will be met when students engage in this web application however, the application will be developed using those mentioned above as its core competencies.
Comparative analysis

There are currently educational solutions offered on a number of different platforms. Most of these are found on the Web, providing flash and JavaScript games and educational exercisers (Appendix 1.1). The particular category of education tools are self-learning, external curriculum that targets broad knowledge assumed appropriate to children of that particular age. As argued, this way of learning has limitations and assumptions are not necessarily associated with current learning activities in the classroom.

Many examples of mind map tools are also examined in regards for suitability for the classroom and appropriateness for children K-14. The popularity of mind mapping tools has substantial merit as it promotes cognitive thinking, object associated learning, and collaboration. As argued by Vygotshy (1978) cognitive development is learning that precedes skills and behaviour development, “often less experienced or developed individuals can often carry out tasks with the help of others which they could not accomplish these task independently” (p86). Mind maps could be an excellent means of collaborating, and harnessing collective intelligence of the class however, despite this there they are not used in classroom learning environments. In this comparative analysis (Appendix 1.2), mind maps are commonly used for collaboration, however current offerings are unsuitable as a learning platform because the activity is difficult for educators to direct and control.


Market Analysis

Mobile & Youth
The purpose of this section is to highlight the types of mobile devices and their current applications within the education field. This will provide the reader with an understanding of the developments and opportunities for DED. In doing so, there will be further support for DED.

“Mobile devices have become an institutionalised facet of advanced societies” (Figueira, 2010, p.1). In today’s technology climate, mobile phones are also becoming common even among children. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) shows that 21 to 32% of children between the ages of 5-14 have access to amobile phone. Furthermore, another four percent of these children use the Internet from their mobile phone (table 1-2). In an era where mobile phones dominate the computers almost 2:1 (Adam Figueira, 2010) there is evidence highlighting the importance mobile devices, which will see continual growth in children’s usage and application.

The youth mobile activity in Australia is a paramount to education industry. Integration of ubiquitous computing in the industry and among young people has rapidly growing relevance. Mobile devices are identified as an expressive tool by youth from an early age. Ling and Yttri (2002) use the term hypercoordination to categorise participation youths have with mobile phones. Their experience with mobile phones is believed be a contrast of adults in the sense that youth used mobile phones to "foster connection with peers and define a sense of group membership" (p.162).

Hooft & Swan (2007) state that young people "are often equipped with technology that communicates through an enticing amalgam of images, words, and sound"(p. 293). The digital environment that is prevalent in industrialised society includes mobile phone and young people. These tools are notably becoming part of the ubiquitous computing trend necessary for students to master. Hooft & Swan go on to say "Youth in today's word do not merely consume information from the diverse media sources that are accessible online, but are active agents who manipulate, adapt, create, and disseminate ideas and products through communication technologies (p293).
Mobile and Education

It is important to understand the types of technology and devices that are driving growth, and the applications that mobile devices have in an education context. Moreover, the understanding of educational needs and rapidly changing audience needs associated with this growing use of web-ready mobile devices requires significant attention. There are a growing number of mobile devices suitable for children. The most common mobile devices among children are mobile phones. Nevertheless, new devices are also appropriate for children including the iTouch and tablets. Notably, Internet browsing developments (WebKits) in mobile devices are a high priority as Lane and Lewis et al (2008) web developer guidelines state, “expect a significant presence on mobile devices, and consider this as a growing trend” that web developers must consider. This trend can be seen in Apple, Google, Nokia and Motorola platforms, and the accessibility to web content from a mobile device is increasingly apparent.

The other aspect of the mobile phone market that has a considerable effect on education is the native application. There are already educational applications that target children, (appendix 1) many of which are native. Native application can utilise the hardware built into the mobile device. Some of the key features are discussed inthe technical design (pXXX). For mobile application developers it is important to consider the intended purpose. In Apples Human Interface Design Guidelines (2010), the implementation of the applications purpose and intended audience are fundamental initial design paradigms that will help the developer decided whatmethod is best suited to the application (p17). This is important in deciding what type of application will best suit the end product as there are many types of avenues which the developer can undertake.

Educational tools for mobile devices that are currently available to children are more often than not native applications. Nevertheless, all of which have no elements of collaboration or association to classroom discussions, rather they are extended learning beyond classroom curriculum. Also, in the current application environment for this audience, applications are developed on a single mobile platform such as iPhone or Android. This is one of the limitations of native application development as they limit the cross-platform communication between mobile devices. Presently, this is solved by hybrid applications that use both native elements of a platform whilst adopting cloud services for management of information between platforms and devices. Software above the level of a single device is a concept adopted by the mobile device era. O’Reilly (2007) stated after his own analysis, “That applications use a client on a local computer and one or more server computers”. An application networked to multiple devices, management of the information is required from the mobile device, the PC or the cloud.
Education and Technology Investment

Investment in education is prevalent. Investment from private and government bodies in ICTs implementation has been a priority for schools that enables schools to teach the necessary technology adaptive skills that will be required for future careers. The labour government has funded the "digital education revolution" (DER) which contributes 2.2billion over six year.

The DER national objectives

· Supplying ICT equipment for all secondary schools

· High speed broadband connections in schools

· ICT teachers training

· Online curriculum tools and resources

· Online participation learning

The Queensland Government is also investing in educational ICTs. The Smart Classroom program and parent OneSchool program are strategies to introduced ICTs as the foundation of 21st century education. Initiatives included the Bounty Boulevard State School. They provide their students aged 4-7 with Apple Mac Books that support there e-learning programs (www.bountyboulevardss.eq.edu.au & www.education.qld.gov.au).

ICT investment is also supported by private industry leaders. In Queensland alone ICT tools in public schools are currently being tested. Immanuel Lutheran Collage on the sunshine coast received the 2009 HP Innovations in Education Grant. The project provides equipment, professional development and resources to the sum of $150 000. Included in the project were 29 HP tablets that were supplied to students for active participation “were supplied with a mobile docking trolley for security and recharging and this will be available to students who can reserve the tablets for use with targeted classes across a range of subject areas and age groups" (www.immanuel.qld.edu.au).

Development Opportunity

DED has a development team whose primary goal is to develop mobile applications for the education industry in Australia. Currently, DED has developed an application called Ed Maps. Ed Maps is an extension of the classroom environment that promotes collaboration among students on home and class work activities, using mobile devices. The motivation behind this development is to provide an educational application suitable for students that promotes cognitive thinking and creativity while teaching them behaviours that will lead them to becoming mobile savvy individuals. Ed Maps facilitates development of skills and learning methods that meet the 21st century education model:

Critical thinking and problem solving
· Students can reason (deductive, inductive) to examine a problem by viewing the Mind Mind exercise that the class has been explicitly contributing to. The thought process behind the decision can enhance the child's judgement by critically examining the problem with the learningactivities within the class.

Communication and collaboration
· Communicate clearly (communicate using a range of modes for a range of purposes) and collaborate with others (work effectively in a team).

· The class collaborates on the exercise together; actively participate in the classroom discussion through the application interface. The primary objective of this is to shares ideas outside the classroom that is monitored and directed by the teacher.

Creativity and innovation
· A students' Ed Map is a reflection of their creativity and ability to be creative with others. Students demonstrate creativity by the content they add, its relevance, and association classroom discussions. Ed Map encourages creativity through enabling whole class brainstorming.

The void in educational adoption of ICT technologies is prevalent. Klopfer (2008) discusses the missing elements in the education system that can be taught by implementing technology. In his book he discusses complex communication as a necessary component in adulthood and is not easily taught in the format of current learning structures (p6).

There is high demand for skills that go beyond traditional classroom rote learning. Mind Maps are an excellent means of engaging a class while applying fundamental skills such as critical thinking and creativity. Kommers (2004) describes mind maps as "a tool to enhance creativity" (p49) supporting the notion of mind maps as a learning tool and its relevance in the 21st century.

As a support tool for education, DED's Ed Maps allows students work to be set by the teacher. This is fundamental for the learning process that many educational applications fail to implement. The importance is highlighted by the notion that students work outside the classroom should be relevant to the lessons in the classroom. Furthermore, DEDs Ed Maps are implemented on a mobile platform application. This is fundamental to the DED developments as we facilitate learning through ICT models that are interconnected with growing trends in ubiquitous computing. Mobiles are rapidly becomes accessible by all ages. Learning with ICTs is the gateway for the future. Klopfer's (2008) "complex communications" are necessary skills that students require but have limited opportunities to constructively apply them "there is a strong overlap between these skills and information technologies... expert thinking and complex communication relies on information technology" (p6) DED Ed Map's are suitable for learning complex communications, as this application promotes early adoption of the ICTs in a educational and relevant manner.
Assumptions

Three main assumptions have been made in designing and implementing DED:

More young people will have access to mobile devices in the coming years
· Participation in collaboration using DED requires every student or at least group of students to have a mobile device. A 2008 - 2009 study completed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicated that between 21 to 32% of student aged between 5 and 14 own a mobile phone. Evidently a classroom would require a higher participation rate. However, these statistics are on the rise. Wilson (2009) reports that due to decreased costs and parent concerns about safety, that three-quarters of all children aged seven to fifteen owned a mobile. Furthermore, students can also use other portable devices to contribute. In fact any device that has a web browser can access the application.

Collaboration plays a vital role in education and the workforce
· The relevance of DED in the classroom is based on the assumption that collaboration plays a vital role in education and the workforce. The Department of Education (2002) within its productive pedagogies outlines the need for students to be able to work collaboratively across all of the key learning areas. Furthermore, as discussed in the justification of this report collaboration has been recognised as a 21st century skill.

Student's mobile devices will be browser enabled
· DED required a web browser to be used on a mobile device. We have made assumptions that in years to come students will own these devices and we have also assumed that they will be browser enabled, in most cases meaning smart phones. By 2012 Duryee (2008) predicts 65% of the mobile phone market (sales) will be made up by smart phones. Such technology trends will continue increase and will be reflected in the general population of Australian school students.


Limitations

Price
· Cost may affect students' accessibility to devices. Whilst we have made the assumption that more students will own these devices in the future there will be family’s that cannot afford the necessary technologies. Schools also take on cost of infrastructure whilst budgeting for system updates, and the servicing an ICT environment.

Privacy
· Students require parental permission to publish certain content .

· Pictures and names of students cannot be published on the internet without prior parental permission (Ed QLD, 2010). DED publishes student’s names and therefore, before allowing students to use the application a parental permission form will need to be submitted to schools.

· Any application or ICT that is school related or integrated must be operated using the school's server.

· Threats to the mobile integration for educational tools are cyber-bulling, access to adult content, misuse/ misconduct online, accountability protocol.

· Due to these privacy concerns a risk analysis will need to be taken out by every school wishing to use this application.

Standards
· There are 1000s of unique mobile devices currently in existence and developers can be sure that a potential audience won't all have the same device. School phone usage is no different and therefore, when developing DED it has been acknowledged that the application won't run seamlessly on every device. To maximise compatibility the standards of xhtml, CSS and JavaScript have been followed strictly. However, various browser limitations on phones result in some devices not offering full functionality (See Technical Design for more details).

School Policies
· There are two major Australian bodies to govern ICTs in education, the Education Network Australia (EdNA) and The Le@rning Federation both of which work with the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). The development of policy is continual as ICTs are growingly integrated into the school curriculum. Some of the current policies that are used within schools include, all school ICT information must run through the schools server, personal content regarding the student cannot be published without parental permission, and permission of proxy are required from the department of education.

Schools managing the devices
· A summary provided by Hooft & Swan (2007) of studies conducted by numerous sources (Berson et al., 2003; Ito, 2003; Netsafe, 2005; O'Connell, 2003; Yates, 2003) discussed that "youth, despite their enthusiasm for mobile phones, lack a critical awareness of the concomitant dangers associated with a globally connected technology, which is largely utilised outside an adult-supervised context" (p.291). This limitation for integration of mobile devices (primarily phones) has seen much improvement in the parental controls within devices such as the iPhone and applications such as Safe Eyes Mobile. These developments and implementations are fundamental to the integration of ICTs into the classroom curriculum, and for uniquely designed devices management for an educational context.


Technical Design
O'Reilly (2007) outlines the concept of software above a single device where functionality is improved through using the strengths of each device. Ed Map operates on a mobile device however, managing users or sharing a concept map on a mobile screen is not practical or useful. Following a similar model to iTunes which is outlined by O'Reilly (2007) DED utilises both a desktop web application and a custom phone application. When users visit the domain of the application they are automatically redirected to the appropriate web location. The phone application offers a simpler design and is designed for people using touch screens where as the desktop application offers more functionality and uses a larger screen.


Mobile Web Application

The mobile web application has been developed using PHP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. It is designed to simply and easily allow students to contribute information to a collaborative concept map on their phone. During development extra features have been avoided in an effort to keep the application simple and maximise the quality of its core competencies. Best practices for mobile device development were considered when creating the application .


Best Practices Considered

· Minimal pictures - Sebesta (2009) outlines best practices when developing for low speed internet connections such as mobile devices. Text requires far less data be transferred than pictures do. Therefore, when developing the DED mobile application it was developed using minimal pictures to provide a better user experience,

· Only displays four most recent maps on screen (can be searched) - The most recently updated maps are displayed when users log into this phone. This is because the assumption can be made that consumers will be contributing to the most active maps. Users are not required to type unless their map isn't displayed. This is preferable for a mobile device because typing can often be tedious and difficult.

· Processing takes place in the cloud - This reduces power consumption that would higher if processing took place on the phone. Furthermore, through utilizing cloud technologies the amount of data stored on the mobile device is reduced. This is important considering the limited amount of storage available to mobile devices.

· Follows XHTML browser standards - Ed Maps mobile application has been verified by W3C (2010) as being XHTML compliant. Through following these standards the application is likely to be displayed correctly on most browsers (i.e. most mobile phones should be able to display Ed Maps),

· Sends large chunks of data rather than many small loads - Mobile devices are susceptible to regular connectivity drop outs and because of this, rather than requiring a constant connection, Ed Maps sends data in larger chunks less often. This means the length of time a phone needs to be connected to the network is reduced.

· Designed for a smaller screen - When designing the user interface a minimalist approach has been taken. Only content necessary to the application is placed on each page,

· Large buttons have been used to allow an accurate touch interface for the user. Notably, touch doesn't need to be used. This is important, Reevoo (2009) elaborates on the failures of touch interfaces on a number phones. The web application allows for users to make the choice forthemselves.

· Utilises typical mobile application conventions - The application follows conventions similar to other mobile applications. This includes a banner at the top and very clear navigation options that can be accessed using a touch screen or a mouse. Users are not required to learn any new concepts when using this application,

· Doesn't rely on JavaScript - Burkard (2007) suggests that JavaScript on mobile browsers is still experimental noting that only around half of the smart phone browsers in use support it and not to the full extent a desktop computer does. JavaScript is used in the application for presentation purposes on the input screen. However, if a user doesn't have JavaScript they will still be able to submit ideas.

· Optimised for power through using the native web browser - Nokia (2009) outlines the difficulty software developers have when developing for mobile devices because they are constrained platforms. Applications are not always tested immediately on a real device and poorly designed software can easily impact the standby and active use times of mobile phones. DED is a web application. As a result its power efficiency is dependent on that of the browser a phone is using. This was kept in mind and through development the assumption was made that native browsers are usually developed by companies to be energy efficient. Due to this, the temptations of Flash or Silverlight were avoided, a decision which was further secured due to incompatibility between platforms.


Limitations

· Can't run easily offline - Ed Maps cannot run offline because the entire application is hosted in the cloud. A native iPhone app is being developed that would solve this problem and would only require an internet connection when content is to be updated

· Some browsers don't allow for files to be uploaded - Browser restriction on some phones result in the user not being allowed to choose a file for upload. As a result, people using these phones cannot upload pictures. To date this issue has been confirmed on the iPhone.


Future Scope

· Intention to add optional GPS to posts,

· Possibly link in with other apis (such as a Google search) to locate relevant pictures,

· Possible offline mode,

· Better implementation of cookies/sessions so users only need to log in once,

· Direct camera input,

· Edit posts - would need to be done strategically so it doesn't impede navigation.


Desktop Web Application

The desktop web application offers the same functionality as the mobile and more. Using the web application users are able to search and view maps (with everyone’s contributions on them), create a new map, delete a map, delete notes on maps, contribute to maps, create new users and reset user passwords. It has been developed using PHP, MySQL, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript (more specifically AJAX). The computer web application works with the same data as the mobile devices.
Screen Shots

Best Practices

· Website - The application like the mobile application exists in the cloud and therefore can be accessed and used by a majority of computers.

· Picture Navigation - Pictures are used in the tabs of the web application. This is because the target audience of the application is children, so using pictures reduces that barriers between them and the application.

· Two interfaces - Admin and User

· An admin password would be assigned to a teacher in a classroom wanting to use the application. It would be this teacher’s responsibility to manage the classes accounts.

· Users cannot access any administration functions. They can create, view, delete and contribute to maps.

· Web application utilizes HTML and AJAX (JavaScript) client’s side. AJAX is used so that each time a user interacts with the application the entire page doesn't need to be reloaded. This is useful for school that often have slow Internet connections.

· The back end of the application uses the same MySQL database (see appendix ..) as the mobile applications. This allows the data to be shared seamlessly.

· The database is accessed server side using PHP. PHP is a lightweight language which allows developers to be responsive to issues that may arise or respond to how users are using the application (O'Rielly, 2005).


Limitations

Full functionality relies on the user having JavaScript enabled. There is the scope in the future to allow for data to be submitted without JavaScript.

The positioning of nodes on the page when maps are being viewed is still being tweaked and refined. Whilst the current algorithm places the nodes around the map they are not always evenly spaced and could look more effective.


Future Scope

· Multiple output views - Currently DED only offers a mind map output view other options could include:

· Table,

· List,

· Pictures in a grid.

· Sharing maps with other web applications and taking information from the APIs of other applications. For instance if a map is about a book it could take necessary information from the Amazon API,

· Create an API to allow contributions to maps from other sources,

· Data in maps could be later developed into games that would be distributed to school (e.g. which picture doesn't belong?),

· Connecting multiple maps together.


Reflection

When developing the Internet based applications we faced barriers that we needed to overcome. This section of the report outlines the more significant barriers that were overcome during the creation of the application.

· Database - When creating the database structure for the application we needed to create it in a way where the data was kept in context, multiple groups could create databases with the same name and that was scalable. After trialling and considering many database structures, we devised a structure whereby a new table was created for each new map. The tables were kept unique through assigning each table a unique id. Each table name was referred to by its id and group number this ensured the table was kept in context.

· Output - Displaying the nodes evenly across the screen was a big challenge. Many algorithms were developed in an attempt to solve this problem. Finally, we created a div element with a fixed size. The nodes were then positioned around the element using absolute positioning. The algorithm assigns each node a different top and left value in an attempt to place the nodes evenly around the screen. We have used this algorithm effectively so that the nodes aren't over lapping and the application is scalable. However, this is scope for this aspect of the project to be further developed.

· Drawing lines - The number of lines (connecting the centre node to the contributed nodes) changes therefore, we needed a scalable way to draw these lines. The solution to this problem was the wz_jsgraphics library which has functions that allow an application to draw a line by entering a set of 'top' and 'left' co-ordinates using JavaScript. This library has worked effectively when displaying the concept maps.

· AJAX (adding child elements) - To reduce the amount of data being sent over the internet and in turn increase the speed of the application we have used AJAX. The AJAX was very effective at posting strings however, when new data was added, the page wasn't being updated appropriately. To solve this issue, within the functions that use AJAX we included scripts that add or remove HTML elements where appropriate (ultimately editing the DOM of the page). There is evidence of this script when new maps are added or deleted to a group and when nodes are deleted from a concept map.

· Phone Redirection - Users visiting the application from a mobile device were originally required to follow a link to the mobile page. This was deemed inappropriate because all users accessing the application from a phone should only have access to the mobile application. To solve this, users accessing the page from a mobile browser are automatically redirected to the mobile login.

· Navigation - When designing navigation for the mobile application we intended to display the four most recently updated maps. To cater for this (and improve the navigation of the product) an extra column was added to the map index table to record when the map was last updated.

· Pictures too big for screen - When the number of nodes on a page became large the images became cramped and often overlapped. To solve this we included an "if" statement which meant when more than 8 nodes are being displayed only the titles for each node are shown. To access the rest of the information users may click on a title and the information is displayed in a separate box.

· Validation - Initial versions of DED lead to many databases' integrity being affected. This was because originally there was no validation on the fields entered leading to incorrect values being entered into some columns. To solve this problem we implemented client side and server side validation on information entered by users.

· Security (+ case sensitivity) - User information is stored in the session details on the server to ensure users are authorised to access certain pages. Each time users log in their password and username is ran by the database. If a row is returned then the user's session files are updated with their username and that they are authorised to access that group's maps. In the future it would be important that the passwords stored in the database are encrypted to keep them secure.
IPHONE APPLICATION

The Apple iPhone Human Interface Design Guidelines (2010) outlines the best practises for developing and designing iPhone applications. DED provides users with an application that follows the best practises and designed to meet the industry context.

The native application can utilise the hardware of the device. The DED Ed Map application uses the follow:

· Camera – the camera function for Iphone 3.0 has a built-in 3-megapixel camera and Video recording, VGA up to 30 fps with audio. This ideal for the Ed Map application as it enables the user to take a picture from their device and upload it to relevant exercise.

· Photo-Album – All models of iPhone have a built-in Camera that stores the photos in the “photo-album”. If a user has taken a photo earlier and wishes to use that for the Ed Map exercise, they can access this in the Ed Map application.

· Wi-Fi-connection/3G network – Because the iPhone has network connection capabilities Mind Map app can be managed on the host server and access from the mobile phone. This method of management is enables software that is above the level of a single device and adaptable for cross platform acquisition.

· WebView – As the management is conducted on the host server the application must view the Ed Map exercises from the WebView. This enables the user to view what their classmates and teacher have added. This uses Request from the iPhone to display the exercise Request.


Limitation

The iPhone SDK software requires a payment to upload to an iPhone for demonstration.

Tablets are a very useful device for the education. In Immanuel Lathurem State school Hp has provided the students....etc..... It is unclear whether or not the iPad or iPhone is suitable for the education in state schools. Cost, reliability, durability are issues that equate in the investment. Nevertheless, continual investment in tablet and mobile devices for education is likely to continue. The device will have a browser but its native application is hard to predict. Different variables play a role in this decision including, standardisation, unification, synchronisation, and privacy.


Future Scope


Improve functionality on the native app

· Create higher resolutions apps for iPad

· Add an a UI that displays the Ed Map exercises
Reflection




System Architecture

The database architecture of Ed Map is demonstrated and explained for understanding behind the process of storing, and view data.



MOBILE WEB APPLICATION WALKTHROUGH



Desktop Web Application Walkthrough


References

· Lane, J., Lewis, J., Moscovitz, M,. & Smith, S., (2008). Foundation Website Creation with CSS, XHTML, and JavaScript. NewYork: Springer-Verlag.

· iPhone Human Interface Design: Guidelines (2010). Retrieved April 12,2010, fromhttp://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documents/userexperience/conceptual/mobilehig/MobileHIG.pdf

· Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2008-09. Reterived April 05th, 2010, fromhttp://abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/8146.0/

· Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Edited by Cole, M. John-Steiner, V. Scribner, Souberman, E. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press

· Klopfer, E. (2008). Augmented Learning: Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

· O'Brien, R. (1992). The End of Geography: Global Financial Integration. London: Pinter.

· Gee, J.P., Hull, G. & Lankshear, C. (1996). The New Work Order: behind the language of the new capitalism. Sydney: Allen & Unwin.

· Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2004). Overview. Retrieved April 29, 2010 from http://www.p21.org/index.php

· Department of Education and Training. (2002). Productive Pedagogies. Retrieved April 29, 2010 from http://education.qld.gov.au/public_media/reports/curriculum-framework/productive-pedagogies/html/manual-intro.html

· Wilson, M. (2009). On Average, Children Get Cellphones at Age 8. Retrieved May 1, 2010 from http://gizmodo.com/5156030/on-average-children-get-cellphones-at-age-8

· O’Reilly, T.(2007).Software Above the Level of a Single Device. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://radar.oreilly.com/2007/11/software-above-the-level-of-a.html

· O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0: End of the software release cycle. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=4

· Arthur, C. (2009). Touchscreen phones fail to push buttons. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/feb/19/touchscreen-phone-disappointment

· P. Kommers,. (2004). Cognitive support for learning: imagining the unknown. Amsterdam: IOS Press.

· Sebesta, R. (2010). Programming the World Wide Web 2009 (5th ed.).Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.

· W3C.(2010).Markup Validation Service. Retrieved April 17, 2010, from http://validator.w3.org/

· Duryee, T. (2008). Smartphone Sales Will Jump 52 Precent this Year to 190 Million Units: Report. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://moconews.net/article/419-smartphone-sales-will-jump-52-percent-this-year-to-190-million-units-re/

· Burkard, J. (2007). Mobile browser statistics: JavaScript and CSS on the go?. Retrieved May 7, 2010 from http://johannburkard.de/blog/www/mobile/mobile-browser-statistics-javascript-and-css-on-the-go.html

· Hooft.,V. M., & Swan., K (2007). Ubiquitous computing in education: invisible techology, visible impact. Lawrence Assoicates: New Jersey.

· Australian Governement Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations. (2010). Digital Education Revolution: OverView. Retrieved 24th April, 2010 from www.digitaleducationrevolution.gov.au.

· Queensland Government. (2010). Department of Education & Training. Retrieved 24th April, 2010 from www.immanuel.qld.edu.au.

· Bounty Boulevard State School. (2010). Learning for Vision. Retrieved 20th April, 2010 from http://www.bountyboulevardss.eq.edu.au/.

· Figueira,. A. (2009).Mobile Devices in Higher Learning. Retrieved 23rd April, 2010 http://www.edesigntree.com/resources/white_papers/Mobile-Application-for-Higher-Education-White-Paper.pdf


Comments