A Cardboard Alternative to HoloLens


I attended the Augmented-Virtual-Mixed Reality Workshop hosted by LDE Centre of Education and Learning and the Leiden Centre for Innovation, where the Aryzon AR Cardboard Headset caught my attention. The Aryzon AR/MR Headset is an interesting alternative to the high-tech AR headsets. It is both available and affordable for average students, schools and universities. Like the Google Cardboard, it uses a smartphone for rendering and displaying virtual models. Different to Google's solution, the Aryzon Headset does not block the field of view.

At the Augmented-Virtual-Mixed Reality Workshop in Leiden we learned about different approaches and solutions for using this technology in higher education. It also hosted a marketplace for sharing ideas and solutions from research and the industry, where I met Ralph van der Meer from Breinwave. Ralph brought some Aryzon Headsets and a bunch of demos that showed possible interactions between HoloLens wearers and cardboard headset wearers. This allowed me to compare the Aryzon Headset directly to the HoloLens 1.

New Book: Seamless Learning - Perspectives, Challenges and Opportunities

Over the last year I had the great opportunity to work with Chee Kit Looi, Lungs Hsiang Wong, and Su Cai on a new Book about Seamless Learning. This book is a follow up on previous book and it includes 10 interesting chapters that address new insights from research and practice about applying seamless learning in education and offers a much-needed update on seamless learning, reflecting the research and development advances in recent years.

Last week I received the information that it is now available online and as a harcover.

10th eduhub days, 18 years Swiss Virtual Campus - looking back and looking forward

The slides from the ETWG welcome address to the 10th eduhub days, the annual meeting of the Swiss academic e-learning community. How did technology change teaching and studying in higher education over the past 10 years. It raises questions that will concern the community in the coming 10 years.

On mobile learning in (Swiss) higher education

During the eduhub days in Luzern I had a workshop to introduce the eduhub SIG Mobile Learning with the great help of Marion. Of course, I gave a little outlook on our past activities, but I found that the workshop participants should better relate themselves to the activities of the special interest group and find out how they might contribute to the work of the SIG. Therefore, I asked the three main questions that drive our little sub-community and let the participants come up with their own ideas and responses. The discussions during the workshop were very fruitful and shed a light at the current state and challenges of mobile learning in Swiss higher education.


Learning Design with Context in Mind

I went through my draft blog entries and I found this one from 2013. It was supposed to accompany my chapter in Ally & Tsinakos' Book on Mobile Learning. Recently, Marion and I worked on a different book chapter, in which we built on the same concepts. This post discusses why I found it necessary to extend Engestöm's Activity Theory model and what insights on learning design re-arranging the activity components yielded.

Adapted Activity Theory Layer 1 Instruments T ools Subject Actors Object Resources Rules Learning tasks Support tasks Context Learning Outcomes 2013, Christian Glahn, lo-f.at Resources T ools Subject Actors T opic Rules Learning tasks Support tasks Context Learning Outcomes 2017, Christian Glahn, lo-f.at

edu-ID Mobile App for Smart Environments

This presentation provides a brief community update on the status of the Swiss edu-ID Mobile App project at the 2017 SWITCH edu-ID information workshop on 29. June 2017 at University of Berne.

It presents the use cases directly covered by the project as well as the reference architecture. It provides a bunch of links to the different resources related to the project.

EduID Mobile App - Use-Cases, Concepts and Implementation

This presentation describes the token-agent implementation for openID Connect for authenticating native mobile apps provided by third parties. It presents a standards-based working solution for integrating loosely coupled native apps into a trust federation using. This allows for deeper integrated authentication services on Android and iOS without violating app-store policies.

This presentation has been part of the EduID Mobile App workshop at SWITCH on 25 Apr. 2017.

Thanks to Christoph Graf (SWITCH), Riccardo Mazza (USI), Michael Hausherr (FHNW), Goran Josic (USI), and Yann Cuttaz (USI).

Formative Assessment using the Mobler App

This presentation shares some experiences from 4 pilots of using the Mobler App at University of Zurich and at HTW Chur. These slides were presented together with Marion Gruber as show-and-tell at the eduhub days 2017 in Lugano, Switzerland.

Mobile Blended Learning

These slides were presented on 13. Oct. 2016 at the BFH in Bern, Switzerland. The slides cover practical approaches to blended learning in higher education.

Mobile Identities with the EduId Mobile App

Mobile Identity Management becomes increasingly relevant for organisations. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and a great diversity of native mobile apps ask universities for new ways of identity management. The Swiss EduID Mobile App project develops a solution for embracing the diversity of mobile applications and integrate them into the academic service portfolio. This presentation provides a first insight into the challenges and the technical approach we chose for linking mobile apps for students (and lecturers) with distributed academic services of the Swiss academic federation.

Save the Date: Applications of Clicker Apps in Swiss Higher Education

On March, 17 from 13:00-18:00 the CIEL @ University of Geneva and the EduHub SIG Mobile Learning are organising a mini symposium on clicker apps in Swiss Higher Education.

We have confirmed presentations from ETHZ, HES-SO, University Basel, University Bern and University of Geneva. Stay tuned for more details soon.

Inverted World: Smaller Devices Are No Longer Premium

A new rumor is spreading regarding a 4-inch iPhone. What is interesting is that the article suggests that the smaller device is not considered at the same level than the premium models of the same brand. This is inline with a develpoment that I observe also with other vendors: Almost all small phones cripple the design of the modern smart phone while the premium devices are really phablets rather than smart phones: The small phones are designed with small memory, bad cameras and poor screen resolution. They often lack useful sensors and come with weak processors - and are shipped too often with completely outdated operating systems. Yet, these devices perform even worse when it comes to battery life.

If the rumor is true, Apple seems to follow that idea instead of buying into a different perspective: a small device may contain the same power and sensors for all the awesome features of the bigger brothers and sisters. Really, there is only one good reason for a bigger screen in a thinner phone: the battery life. With the given performance of the devices, I would be excited if a vendor would offer a super-power device that lasts a week with one charge even if it does not provide desktop-level computing power.

The interesting aspect of this present development to bigger screen devices is the difference to the perception of laptops and notebooks: the smaller device is not considered as the executive version of the bigger "assistant" version. Personally, I won't mind at all to carry a smaller "executive-style" phone that still gives me the premium functions plus a premium of battery duration.

Mobile Learning in Security and Defense

This 2013 ISN Report has been removed from the homepage the day I left the department. I make this report available permanently here.

Webinar: Interactive E-Books

E-Books are most probably the easiest way to get started with mobile learning. For conventional texts, it is as easy to create an e-book as generating PDF file. However, e-books are not just an alternative format for print material, but offer greater flexibility towards interactive and rich-media content than traditional publishing channels. While there are some interactive e-books on the market, it is much trickyer to create them, because one needs to understand the capabilities of e-books and how they are supported on the different platforms. 

Today, Nathalie Roth from SWITCH/eduhub announced my Webinar on "Interactive E-Books" on 11 Dec. 2014, 11:00-12:00 CET. The webinar will integrate some aspects that I learned in the course of the IEEE ADB, the PfP ADL WG, and of the SIG Mobile Learning discussions. While the webinar is primarily targeting audiences in Swiss Higher Education, the webinar is actually open to anybody. So if you are interested, see the full announcement and registration links below.

Patterns for Mobile Learning

em77_imlws2014logotake6cearth_1.pngThe ADL Initiative organizes a online conference on mobile learning for the second time this year. It takes place from 20-22 May 2014 and it has many very interesting speakers on board. I have the honor to present my recent work there and discuss educational design patters of mobile learning. 

GMW 2013 perspectives on mobile learning

Last week I had the opportunity to present our project results at the GMW 2013 conference in Frankfurt a.M. and at the "Fernausbildungskongress" of the German Bundeswehr. The GMW conference is one of the prominent meetings of the German-speaking media-education and e-learning community for discussing the latest developments in education and learning with technologies. It featured a key note from Larry Johnson from the New Media Consortium (nmc.org) as well as a dedicated track on mobile learning with presentations and posters. In this article I give an overview on the mobile learning perspectives that discussed at the GMW 2013.

Speedlabor of the SIG Mobile Learning

The FHNW group "Digitales Lehren und Lernen" hosts the first event of the Eduhub SIG Mobile Learning: the Speedlabor on Mobile Learning. This evening event on 13 November 2013 will allow professors and lecturers in Swiss higher education to learn about innovative concepts of integrating mobile technologies into their courses. We brought four interesting speakers together who will talk about different aspects of mobile learning in higher education.

Webinar: TinCans in the Wild

On 25 July 2013 I will present on the practical implications of the Experience API for mobile educational apps in a SWITCH eduhub Webinar.

geouri.org - Blog for Promoting the geoURI Scheme

I looked at the statistics of my blog and found an interesting referrer: geouri.org. I was not aware of this web-site until now. I found that it collects some useful resources of this URI scheme and it links back to my earlier blog post on the use of the geouri RFC. Thank you!

By now the specification has not received as much attention as I expected. The potential is still there because this specification is simple and yet powerful if you need to share geo locations with people working  on different mobile platforms using different mapping apps or services. I would like more app developers make use of this specification for their location-base apps.

6 Ideas for Using Micro Learning in your Classes

My current lead project at the ISN is Mobler Cards. Mobler Cards is a smart phone app that allows bringing Micro Learning content from ILIAS managed courses to Android and iOS devices. Mobler Cards uses the ILIAS question pool feature for nesting Micro-learning activities into LMS managed courses. This feature is widely used for creating dynamic online assessments. Our Mobler Cards app uses these question pools for supporting mobile micro-learning for your Ilias courses.

In our first demonstrators we used only one question pool per course, but Mobler Cards more capable than that and can use all valid question pools in your courses. This provides a powerful instructional tool, because you can activate and deactivate each question pool independently. I collected five interesting solutions with Mobler Cards for using Micro Learning in your classes and courses.

Mobile Learning Workshop at DeLFI 2013

Today, I have been invited to the programme committee of the next mobile learning workshop at the DeLFI conference in Bremen. This workshop focuses on the German speaking community in mobile learning research and development. 

The deadline for submissions to the conference is 2 June 2013. Please note that submissions need to be in German!

UPDATE: The deadline for submissions has been extended until 16 June 2013.


mLearn 2013 Conference In Doha, Qatar

I was preparing a submission for the main conference mobile learning conference I try to attend every year, the mLearn. Today, I recived the notification that the mLearn submission deadline will be moved from next Monday to May, 1st

If you like to present your research on mLearn 2013 as well, check out the Call for Papers and visit the mLearn Page on Facebook

ICCE 2013 Contextual, Ubiquitous and Mobile Technology-enhanced Learning

I am happy to co-chair this year's ICCE CUMTEL track. The ICCE is one of the important international technology-enhanced learning conferences in the Asian-Pacific region that has a dedicated mobile learning track (or sub-conference as they call it). 

ICCE is usually at amazing locations and this year it will be in Bali from 18-22 November 2013. I invite everybody in the mobile learning community to submit to this conference!

Understanding User Experience and Acceptance Statistics

I am still busy with my literature review of the mobile learning research that has been published over the past 5 years. One aspect that strikes me after scanning over 200 papers is the high number of user acceptance or user experience studies that use simple questionnaires with likert scales. 

While some of the studies use questionnaires that are based on standardised models such as UTAM, the vast majority uses hand crafted questionnaires without an underpinning model. Without such a model it is hard to understand the real meaning of the results, because in most cases the items that were asked are unique to the study. So the critical question is: how do we interpret the results of these studies in order to gain a better understanding of our domain?

Kick-off meeting of the Swiss Mobile Learning SIG

Mobile learning is one of the hottest topics currently in education. At the same time, mobile learning is one of the latest trends in educational technologies. Therefore is the development of best practice networks is critical to support both researchers and practitioners in the field.The ELK-Team of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Zürich has taken the initiative to organise a kick-off meeting for a Swiss mobile learning SIG. This Special Interest Group invites researchers and practitioners who work with mobile technologies in education and training in Switzerland. Currently, there is a poll for the exact date. Below you find the exact details of the invitation.

Printed books on the decline

Over the past 12 months we have seen many new tablets and e-book readers appear on the market. Remarkably, since the launch of the iPad three years ago, also other and older e-book reading devices seem to benefit from the technology hype around apples product. What appears to be smart marketing trick of the late Steve Jobs, could also be part of a much larger change of accessing text information in the information society. Today, I found a nice visualisation of some statistics about reading preferences of American students on Schools.com

Meet me at Learning in Context in Brussels.

The STELLAR Network of Excellence and CELSTEC organise the workshop Learning in Context on 26 and 27 March in Brussels. This workshop is aligned with the third grand challenge of Technology enhanced learning of STELLAR. I have been invited to present my recent work on mobile learning for security and defence organisations at the ISN.

Go and register for the event if you want to learn about the challenges of mobile learning in the security and defence sector.

Publications on Mobile Learning


Currently, I am conducting a broad analysis of contemporary mobile learning research. I was looking forward to this exercise because I wanted to contextualize the results of our concept mapping study with ongoing research. In this post I list a few high-level views on the mobile learning research based on statistics reported by Thompson's ISI Web of Science.  A side objective of my research is to identify specific developments in Africa and South America, so don't be surprised to find references to this region.


Results of the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week Published

A few weeks ago the mobile learning week was held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. A couple of days ago the report of the results of the weeks have been published online. The report emphasizes the "access to education for all" theme of mobile learning. Certainly, this is one of the key challenges that mobile technologies can help. It is interesting that as a response to this focus, the main criticism and concerns mentioned in the report were of the types "technological limitations" or "organisational limitations" (from a teachers perspective). 

It would be really interesting to have a concept mapping study on the statements collected from this event and compare the results to our previous expert study

When did mobile learning start?

Today I came across an interesting posting in a mobile learning forum on XING. The thread started with the question "When did mobile learning really start?". There was already a posting that claimed that Nokia started the mobile learning idea in 2001. I thought, "wait! 2001 is too late" and started some digging in my references. What I found there was interesting and enlightening. 

Geo URI: location as a resource

Just a bit than one year ago the Internet Engineering Task Force has released the RFC5870 that specifies how references to locations have to be written in the URI scheme. This basically provides a technical standard for sharing locations in a human and machine readable way. This is extremely cool because now you  can embed references to locations in space just like you would link normal HTML documents.

This standard is an important step to move location-based services from prototypes to the mainstream. In this article I outline a few ideas how existing web-solutions can lead to new usages using this standard.  

Limitations of Awareness Support in Education and Learning

Last week the SURF Academy organised a seminar on learning analytics. Hendrik nicely twittered from the event, so I was able to follow it. After he posted a comment about measuring the performance of teachers I needed to respond. My prime criticism is that the type of analytics that he describes is not learning analytics, but pretty boring performance benchmarking and that this if done by the wrong people might has legal implications that are beyond what Hendrik and Wolfgang outlined in their presentation

I worked on the topic for several years, although I do not use the currently popular term "learning analytics" because it emphasizes the statistical procedures over the actual or potential use and usefulness of the resulting data. Instead, I prefer the term "awareness support" because it includes the purpose of how the data should be used and helps to focus on appropriate solutions. The entire topic is very new and needs some clarification. In this article I try to focus on my understanding of what "learning analytics" is about. 

Mobile Learning Challenge: Looking for Visions of Mobile Learning


The International Association for Mobile Learning (IAmLearn) has announced the Mobile Learning Challenge some time ago.

The Mobile Learning Challenge looks for innovative, smart, cool, or crazy solutions of mobile learning for real world learning and/or educational challenge. The best thing is that IAMLearn sets out a price of £1000 for the best submission. 

The competition is open to students, teachers, educational practitioners, technical developers, young researchers, and designers. So this is a smart opportunity for thinking out of the box and put down your ideas how mobile learning could offer new ways of supporting learning and education. 

The role of the teacher in mobile learning

Today we have a retreat meeting with the mobile learning research group.  One topic that we ran into today is the role of the teachers in mobile learning. In this discussion school television came up as an example as a driver for technological change in schools. The problem with this metaphor is that it is perfectly inline with the content delivery approaches that we find all over the mobile learning world. However, mobile learning is more complex that it looks on the first sight and that the role of the teachers in mobile learning is not comparable with the role of teachers in school television. 

The following graphic provides a very reduced overview of the content of the rest of this article that covers my view on the topic.


Mobile Application Development

Recently, I had a lot of discussions about mobile application development. As there is a big hype around App-stores for the different platforms, it seems that everybody and everything needs a native app for a mobile device. Slightly hidden from this hype are the advances the mobile web. I covered some aspects briefly in a previous post and probably the most important ones are code portability and cost efficiency for reaching a large target audience. Yesterday, I stumbled upon a nice article on mobile application development in ACM's CACM that focuses on the pros and cons of native vs. web-based mobile applications. To spoil the reading: the authors are very much pro mobile web.

HTML5 for Mobile Applications

Yesterday afternoon (12 February 2011) a group of managers, designers and developers of Bluetea visited us in the CELSTEC Lab. They were interested in our work on mobile learning - and we did a lot during the last two years. I presented an overview of our work on mobile web applications and spiced it a bit up with a few screenshots of the projects and prototypes I have been working on over the last 2 years. 

Mobile Tools for Experience Sampling

Together with our Faculty of Psychology we are currently preparing a lab study on experience sampling. Experience sampling is an method for collecting contextual data and has been heavily used for motivation research, health research, as well as in usability research for the past 30 years. This method is a way to get information about situated experiences and behaviour. For a method that is frequently used we expected to find tools that can be used with mobile devices. In this posting I briefly review a selection of ESM tools for mobile devices. 

From web-applications to Mobile Widgets

Almost one year ago Dirk and I have released the first version of team.sPod. team.sPod is a prototype of a mobile web-based information sharing platform. The first version allowed us to develop a better understanding about translating personalisation and contextualisation of information management to the interfaces of mobile handheld devices. This has lead to a complete re-conceptualised and redesigned of the prototype. The process reflected also the recent developments in the field of web-technologies of the W3C. Consequently, the new version of team.sPod is entirely based on widgets.

Mobile Learning Workshop

In just under two weeks our workshop on mobile learning will be held at the ICDE in Maastricht. Currently I prepare the different concepts I want to present and discuss in the workshop. The main focus will be how mobile learning will shape distance education in the future or as the abstract for the workshop states: