As you know, I am and have been a huge fan of the progress made on the Mobile Moodle front. Engaging learning materials on cell phone and handhelds (including tablets) is an inevitability in my opinion. Since early 2010 (I think February) there’s been a lot of development in this arena specifically for Moodle and as you can see on our Mobile page, some great assets and resources to the community have started to shake out¹.
This week I dived into reviewing as many “ready to deploy” apps as I could, including the first and only Native App (MTouch), a few hybrids (mBook and mPage), and an older (but far ahead of it’s time) web service (MLE). Each has their positives and negatives and I encourage you to try them out to find the best fit as each might be useful to a certain organization or audience in it’s own way.
What’s clear is that the community only stands to benefit from these developments (and those to come) in Mobile learning via Moodle. But most importantly I think is that proliferation and back swing of the “app culture”. As the mobile market fractures, there will be no one winner in terms of Mobile OS, so to accommodate all students fairly I’m very much in favor of web services (rather than native apps) which can provide a more level playing field for adoption and usage. Fandroids and Fanboys alike will benefit (and so will the developers and community).
Unfortunately, what’s not clear yet is how a web-service developer can capitalize on creating a quality mobile skin for Moodle; I’m sure they’d be open to suggestions for business plans.
In any event, as more apps are released I’ll get them reviewed here as soon as possible.
¹It was once asked “why does Moodle need a Mobile app anyway?” (I think especially referring to the iPad app); for iPad, I tend to agree. Moodle sites can look beautiful and almost zero functionality is lost. But at least one app had a novel feature which was missed in transition from computer to iPad and that was the copy/paste buffer which was ultimately handy when moving between resources and web pages. For mobile in general though, simpler, faster loading pages and courses make for a better experience so I definitely think there’s a place/need for additional development.