Technology startup PocketLearn Inc (www.pocketlearn.com) has introduced a suite of software products that enable many cellular telephones and personal digital assistants or “PDA's” to become mobile tools for learning.
Among the products are special “Viewers” that are installed on the devices, as well as Windows based content creation tools. PocketLearn has initially targeted Windows Mobile devices such as the Pocket PC and Smartphone, as well as Java phones. Almost all mobile phones today will run Java software. This means that if your device is a true “smart” device that meets the minimum requirements, you can run the software. There is also a Windows version of the PocketLearn Viewer, which means it will run on Microsoft's newly announced “Oregami” device. A version for Palm devices is in the works.
PocketLearn has sought to establish a standard for educational software on these smart devices by building products on top of industry-standard technologies such as HTML and XML, and by making most of their software available for free. Their strategy is to standardize the format of the content and provide viewer software for a variety of devices. Content creators can really focus on content, with the assurance that their creations will be viewable on a very wide range of devices. PocketLearn content can include not only HTML-formatted text, but also images and audio.
Key to the PocketLearn strategy is their online content repository (also at www.pocketlearn.com), which serves as a searchable and categorized collection of content that can be downloaded, rated and reviewed by the user community. In fact, the web site is also “small device friendly” and provides a good browsing experience for the limited browsers found on these devices.