Thursday, 24 September 2009

CloudBank in Florida

Yes, we've had a paper on CloudBank accepted for the prestigious mLearn 2009 conference in Orlando. The reviewers liked the idea behind CloudBank and unanimously waved the paper through. There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss the concept with a focused and knowledgeable audience. Looking forward to sunny Florida :-)

First prototype

Based on the user interface described in the previous post, our first prototype has four primary screens for start-up, browsing, viewing and editing content.

The Android client runs on the emulator, communicating with a REST server on localhost.

Users' calls for a quick application start-up and a personal dictionary led us to maintain a local cache of items that were added or edited by the respective user. Content in the first screen is retrieved from a local SQLite database on the handset for quick start-up. Content in the Browse and Detail screens is retrieved from a MySQL database on the server. A database abstraction layer keeps the code clean and takes care of all caching, synchronisation and server communication issues.

User Interface

As Lyn described in a previous post, our users' ideas about CloudBank are in many ways different from our original idea. While the initial design focused primarily on collecting and sharing content, users emphasised browsing and filtering content already in the system. Other high priority requirements were a quick application start-up, support for links to online content and a personal dictionary mode.

The Balsamiq mockups below show how we translated these requirements into four application screens in the CloudBank app:

Clockwise from top left: 1) Welcome screen with 'personal' list of content items contributed or edited by this user. 2) Edit screen to enter and edit content, with sub-activities to take a picture, record audio, add link to online content. 3) Detail screen for list items selected in (1) or (4), with direct option to edit the content. 4) Browse screen with all content items and options for full-text search and tag based filtering.

Catching up...

The blogging paradox: meant to keep others informed, blogs usually go quiet in busy times. So here's a burst of blog entries trying to catch up on recent developments, starting with our latest user interface design.

Friday, 11 September 2009

CloudBank off to Handheld Learning conference

Good news - we've had our short paper on CloudBank accepted for the Handheld Learning exhibition/conference at the Barbican, London on Oct 5-7. This will be a good chance to get a wider perspective than we usually find at academic conferences. Many top speakers are expected, e.g. visionary thinker James Kurzweil, James Paul Gee, whose work on games we've admired for a long time and, er, Malcolm McClaren, wearing his artist's hat, so that's all right then.

The reviewers seemed to like the CloudBank concept, but pointed to the potential problem of what to do with inappropriate content. We have some ideas on that for the revised version.