Posts Tagged 'Mobile phone'

Prediction Markets and Educational Gaming

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

A prediction market is a speculative market “created for the purpose of making predictions”, according to Wikipedia. OK, that definition doesn’t exactly spell out the concept very well, so here’s my understanding of this term: a prediction market provides its users with a means of betting or speculating on the outcome of predictions regarding future events, such as who will win a presidential election or exactly when humans will first set foot on Mars. It’s a bit like opening up the future to the “wisdom of crowds” (see James Surowiecki’s book on this topic), allowing a large group of people to collectively speculate on the likely outcome of a future event, even “intangibles” such as the popularity of a novel or film yet to be released. The act of speculation can add a monetary value to the event, allowing it to be further traded, just like any other commodity.

In a learning and teaching context, prediction markets have been used to speculate on the uptake of communication technologies in tertiary institutions. Bryan Alexander, a contributor to the Educause Review recently wrote an article about research into predictive markets in Higher education. As research director for the US National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE), Bryan reported on a web-based gaming approach that explored “propositions” on future events beginning in 2008. One example proposition asked about smartphone platforms and their presence on campuses. Gamers were asked to predict

“Which smartphone or smartphone platform will be the most popular for campus-supported teaching and learning projects by May 2009: iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre?”.

NITLE is a non-profit community-based initiative located at Southwestern University in Austin, Texas that is dedicated to helping “educational organizations use technology effectively to strengthen undergraduate education”. According to its homepage NITLE allows participants to “use a market system to learn about emergent practices for higher education”. All participants are initially given $5000 virtual dollars to use for buying shares in one part of a proposition, or to start a market of their own. In the example quoted above, for example, the iPhone attracted a share price of $50.95 (which equates to a probability of 50.95% that it would be the market leader) by the time the proposition closed in May, 2009.

While this level of educational gaming using share-trading seems a natural for any US-based institution, the list of participating institutions and universities is impressive, including Yale, Vassar, Georgetown University, Chicago University and Brandeis.

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Depth Charge: 3D laptops and mobile phones

wrote a post recently about 2009 shaping up to be a bumper year for mind-reading by machines.  It looks like another breakthrough technology is also on the radar this year:  3D displays for laptops and mobile phones.

The adoption of any new paradigm such as 3D requires the development of three basic components:
•  Capture technology –  cameras that can acquire 3D video images or graphic software that can produce 3D
•  Broadcast technology – capable of broadcasting stereo image information
•  Display technology  – monitors and mobile devices that can receive and display 3D video broadcasts

Canadian company Spatial View has been developing 3D capture and display technology which is marketed through its consumer brand, Wazabee, and seems to have the lead on other 3D mobile developers at the moment.  Here’s a Macworld 2009 interview with Jason King, Spatial’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, where he talks about a Wazabee 19-inch display showing World of Warcraft in 3D:

As Jason explains, the monitor uses a parallax barrier display to create auto-stereoscopic 3D content that can be viewed without coloured or polarized glasses. This is one of two display technologies currently being developed for 3D TV, the other being a lenticular lens display (Spatial’s clip-on for the 13-inch Macbook is known as the 3Dee Flector). Another player in the lenticular display field is Singapore-based Alioscopy.

Tampere University of Technology (TUT) in Finland has a good overview of the two technologies. Atanas Boev maintains a blog on 3D Mobile displays which has an on-going discussion of the technology and the current state-of-the-art.

One broadcast technology that may fit the bill is Digital Video Broadcasting – Handheld (DVB-H), described by Wikipedia as ”a technical specification for bringing broadcast services to mobile handsets”.  Since 2008 it has been endorsed by the European Union as the “preferred technology for terrestrial mobile broadcasting”.  Tampere University has been experimenting with DVB-H broadcasts of 3D content to mobile devices.  The experimental platform is explained here.

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Social Mapping with Google Latitude


Google Latitude

Google Latitude is either a fantastic browser add-on that will bring you and your friends closer together than ever, or a civil libertarian’s Big Brother nightmare, allowing users to track the movements of their employees/relatives/spouses/children down to the metre. Here’s an article in Wednesday’s Sydney Morning Herald that takes the cyber-stalker angle (in the headline at least) on this iGoogle gadget release.

Latitude uses GPS, mobile phone tower data or manual position settings to map subscribers onto a Google Map. The map display can be viewed on a GPS/Web-enabled mobile or PDA, or on a desktop browser. If installed on a desktop machine, users need to have an iGoogle account running Gears, and an optional Profile. The position of subscribers (who opt in to the system) is calculated with either GPS or tower data or is manually set to a Google Map location by individuals. You can download the gadget and add it to your iGoogle page here.

Implications for Ed Tech
I think this type of software has the potential to expand a learner’s view of the world, particularly if used in an international context. Students from different locations could locate themselves and their exchange counterparts on the world map, adding another dimension (geographic location) to the learning context.

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