There’s a lot of talk about mobile this week. Over at Inside Higher Ed, Josh Kim has a piece on the potential that mobile offers to change the education technology space. This week, we rolled out an important step in our mobile strategy, an effort to bring the best of Bb Learn to mobile devices in the coming months. And there’s also been talk of other efforts like Mobile Moodle, projects I get questions about from people who want to know how these things are alike, and how they’re different. Thought I’d share my take here on how we’re approaching Mobile.
For a couple of reasons. First, is our view on all this through the student lens. In addition to running Blackboard’s mobile group, I’m also a senior at Stanford (as are a lot of the engineers on my team). So in building Blackboard Mobile Learn, we’ve spent a lot of our time thinking about what would be most useful to us and our fellow students while supporting the institution’s goals.
Second, we saw the greatest possibilities for in-depth, immersive mobile solutions in developing applications using the SDK’s that were made for the iPhone OS, Android and BlackBerry platforms – SDK’s that offer the ability to leverage the unique capabilities available in smartphones to deliver a really engaging experience that is built through and through with the medium in mind. So the focus is on creating the best user interaction we could, that not only brings the LMS content to the device, but wraps that experience in an environment that is unique to the device.
It’s an ambitious task, but one we’re having a blast pursuing and that’s well worth the effort in our opinion given the possible student benefit. That’s also part of the reason we joined Blackboard last year and have since built out dedicated iPhone, Android and Blackberry teams. With Blackboard Mobile we think we have a chance to really impact the student experience in a very positive way. That’s what drives and motivates us.
Admittedly it’s a bit difficult to see exactly how it will all work in a preliminary announcement like Monday’s. We’re trying to spread the word now to offer an early view of where we’re headed and to give clients the time they need to plan and prepare, starting with enabling the Mobile API through a downloadable building block.
In any event, great to see all these conversations going on mobile and learning. I expect lots of good back and forth as we see more activity in this area of mobility and learning.