The MobilED – mobile audio wiki – project was a research project we started in 2006. The most active years were 2006-2007, when we build a working prototype and conducted testing in two schools in South Africa. Still in 2008 we did some more testing of the service in Finland with the idea of mobile Craig’s list – local community wiki with news and classifieds.
The original idea of the MobilED was to bring Wikipedia to so called “entry level” mobile phones, mainly used in the Global South. In practice the entry level mobile phones are those with voice (calling) and text message. With the MobilED prototype we demonstrated that this is possible. The content from the Wikipedia can be searched with text message and the output can be 160 characters text message sent back and/or automated call back with text to voice reading of the content. This works with the MobilED prototype.
In schools we made an experiment where pupils were not only using the Wikipedia content, but also did their own school projects in audio format to the server. From there their peers, friends and parents could listen the podcasts with their entry level mobile phones. The testing was not really successful, because the servers crashed and caused a lot of trouble for the users. My conclusion on this was that at this point the system was too complicate to be used for this in schools. The experiment was, however, useful because it opened us to consider the MobliED from a new perspective.
This led us to experiment, in addition to the Wikipedia to mobile phones and school project, an idea of community managed audio information system. With the service people could maintain their own audio wiki news / media service with local news, classified etc. We made a prototype for this purpose, too. It worked but was never took for further development and dissemination.
In the research group we are now working with totally new challenges, such as services for smart phones/laptops and interactive white boards in classrooms. As you might have seen, MobilED project and the blog have not been very active in a couple of years.
Because I think that many things we did in the research project are valuable, I would love to see someone taking over the project and continuing the work.
Here is the offer.
I’ll promise to transfer all my know-how related to MobilED to you, if you’ll promise to do two things:
- Finalize the mobile audio Wikipedia configuration and start to negotiate with the operators / governments to provide this for free in the Global South.
- Finalize the mobile audio community news/media service and start to offer it in the Global South.
I am not a right person to do business / sustainability plan. This you must think and design yourself. I may, however, give my comments on it – if you wish. I am not interested in to start another “research” project, so do not propose to apply new grants for this. What I would like to see is a business or non-governmental organization taking the product to “the market”. We also have the domain: mobiled.org.
If you are interested in, please let me know: teemu.leinonen <at> taik.fi