When my friends and I first launched iStanford, we never knew exactly where our project would go. It started with a simple question from a university official who asked us “how can we put our campus on the iPhone?” Fast forward a couple years and now we’re working with over 100 institutions worldwide on customized apps just like iStanford. And it’s cool to think that the ideas we came up with are now helping students find their way around campuses we’ll never see, check directories, and catch up on news and events.
The opportunity to take our app to a wider number of schools than we could reach on our own was part of the reason we joined Blackboard. But it wasn’t the only one. The evolution of mobile devices has created so many other opportunities, particularly for mobile learning. Now that we’ve brought the campus experience to mobile, why not the classroom/learning experience too?
Today, we’re taking some big steps in that direction, with the release of three new applications for mobile learning, covering Android, BlackBerry and iOS (iPhone OS) smartphones. They join an existing iPad version that was released in April. Like the iPad, the new apps are all native, and they really leverage the best that mobile has to offer on each of these platforms.
That changes with these apps.
It’s been a really interesting project from a development and design perspective, and I’m particularly interested in how it keeps students in touch with what’s happening in their courses. I know this kind of technology would have made me a better student (before I graduated this week), and I’m guessing the same for others. So, we hope that students and faculty enjoy the apps. Unlike Mobile Central, you have to be enrolled at an institution or teach at one to get them. But anyone can check them out through a set of demo videos we created along with other information so people can get a good feel for how they work.
One note in today’s announcement – we have committed to developing a mobile Web version of Bb Mobile Learn, which we hope to offer later this year. We did the same thing with Mobile Central, because even as smartphones become more commonplace, we want to make sure our apps are available to a wide range of users who have Web-enabled devices. And it gives my team a summer job now that school’s out.
We’re anxious to hear your feedback on these apps and all things mobile learning. Chime in here if you have thoughts or ideas on this or things you’re seeing or doing on the mobile learning front.
Disclaimer: Statements regarding our product development initiatives, including new products and future product upgrades, updates or enhancements represent our current intentions, but may be modified, delayed or abandoned without prior notice and there is no assurance that such offering, upgrades, updates or functionality will become available unless and until they have been made generally available to our customers.