Mobile learning server is a platform to ordinary schools on which is possible to start mobile learning experiments. It includes SMS, MMS, email and Moodle tools. It has been developed to low cost use and mobile clients will be pupils own mobile phones or smart phones. Main tools in server are open source softwares Kannel and Mbuni. I have coded serves mobile learning environment onto Kannel and Mbuni and it is published with free GPL-lisence. I hope that there will be born open source community to develop this mobile learning server.
More details :
Mobile learning server (MLS) consists of two parts, server core platform (SCP) and mobile application platform (MAP). MLS is not important as itself. There is a lot of “technology toys”, which doesn’t change world of learning and it is possible, that MLS is one of them. MLS is however potentially important, because it makes possible to rapidly and easily to construct applications for mobile learning which together constitutes a mobile learning environment (MLE).
MLS relies on open source technology and open content. Server core platform and mobile application platform is build from existing and reliable open source components. First parts of MLE that I have constructed are also open source that I licensed with free GPL license. Exercises I created to mobile learning experiments are open content. I hope that there will be some day a community of software developers and teachers interested of mobile learning that will together develop MLE and its pedagogical use.
I have published specifications and exact building instructions of MLS in this http://vps.virtuaalikoulu.org/mle. With these instructions for example schools teacher of information technology or it-support person can build own server and teachers can begin to use MLE and develop own models of using mobile learning.
Server core platform is an ordinary Debian server. SCP includes HTTP-server with PHP & MySQL database support, proxy server, SSH server and email server. It is possible to install to MLS any Debian software packets needed.
SCP takes care of data security and reliability many ways. Aim is a high standard production server. SCP replicates data among two hard drives, takes backups to another server, and has a software firewall and an anti-spam tool.
Mobile application platform includes SMS-server, WAP-server, MMS-server and Moodle learning environment. Idea is that as client is used pupils mobile phones. Hardware needed is an ordinary desktop computer (500 euros) with two hard drives and an ordinary mobile phone (100 euros) with SMS-capability connected to server with data cable. Server’s mobile phone is a gateway to GSM-network. MMS-messaging and mobile internet use needs that MLS is connected to public internet. That is why so much effort is used to get MLS to be a real production server with high security.
Use of MLS is cheap. Sending 1000 SMS-messages from server to pupil’s costs only 10 euros. MMS-messaging costs only data costs, because with MLS it is possible to send and receive MMS-messages without telecom firms MMS-servers. If in pupils phone is support to WLAN, use of MLE costs nothing in schools own WLAN or some open WLAN.
A teacher controls MLE by using WWW user interface, which I have coded. He or she can with user interface build from pieces SMS, MMS and email messages (email support not yet coded) and sent these messages to students and students can answer to these messages. It is possible to collect students answer to WWW gallery and students can comment other students’ answers, such as photos and videos.
Environment makes possible also building of simple learning games. Also collaborative learning is supported so
that learners can in teams make for example problem solving exercises. Students can send messages to other students or group of students from mobile to mobile, from mobile to WWW and from WWW to mobile and from WWW to WWW. Students WWW user interface is of course possible to use via mobile Internet with GPRS, 3G or WLAN connection.