Waraku Education

Ideas, experiments and observations as they occur [and I have time] relating to teaching and learning in a secondary school - special focus on ICT.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Yesterday I attended a meeting at Uni SA, Magill Campus. Members included delegates from Open Access College, Glenunga International School, Marden Senior Secondary, Aberfoyle Pk, Grant High, DECS Learning Technologies, Uni SA and PODMO

PODMO technology is scheduled for a release date of 20/2/2007. It is a South Australian innovation and it looks very cool for education. I am disappointed that Adelaide is so far away and will mean that I can't be at the launch :-(

PODMO works with bluetooth mobile phone devices. Access to the PODMO network and content is free provided you are within a ‘blue zone’ which effectively means you are within the bluetooth communication range of a PODMO server. A very small program must be downloaded to the users phone to access the PODMO network.

Setting up a PODMO server is also virtually free. You can download the server software, and as it is written in Java, can be run on Linux, Windows or Mac. The server needs to be a bluetooth device which can be achieved with a $20 USB dongle for want of a better word. This server needs to be plugged into the internet so that it can communicate with PODMO central. One of these dongles can support seven PODMO users simultaneously within that blue zone. Want to cater for more users then plug in more dongles. A blue zone is restricted by the properties of bluetooth and can be about 100m radius depending upon environmental conditions. Yesterday I saw this working where the connection to the internet was via a 3G mobile phone instead of an ADSL connection. It was just a bit slow. I wonder if I could have a PODMO blue zone for a field trip where there is no mobile phone access – eg down on the Glenelg River somewhere or in Antarctica?

Content can be uploaded to PODMO central or to a local PODMO server. Certain content can be restricted to certain ‘blue zones’. Content can include text, images, audio and video. Downloading of this content is free – the user is not paying the Telco for the download data as it is arriving to the users phone via the bluetooth PODMO network. NO data costs. [very big smile]

There is a slight exception to this with some phones. Basically, phones that do not have JSR82 have to use the Telco network to send the request for the data which is a cost of less than a cent. The data file, which could be large and cost mega bucks via the Telco, costs nothing via the PODMO network.

So basically PODMO establishes a network within the internet with free data to users.

Other things that can be done within a ‘blue zone’ (all free) include instant messaging, fill in online forms (data acquisition tasks), access maps, RSS feeds, and soon free VOIP calls. How cool is that – free phone calls from a mobile phone.

PODMO gets its money via advertising but the advertising model is absolutely non intrusive. The user chooses to access this material via menu items.

Grant High School will be part of a trial of this technology to see what educational outcomes might be able to be achieved using it. We would be in partnership with the PODMO developers, Uni SA and DECS Learning Technologies.

Not only can this be used for the delivery of learning materials and activities, it is a way for students to develop and publish materials in a contemporary way. Just when we had the idea that www and web2.0 publishing was a contemporary way, along this comes.

Youth are using mobiles and are more likely to make use of a mobile than a notebook. So the delivery of educational materials and activities via this technology seems worth experimenting with.

We could make treasure hunt activities where answers are entered via the mobile and with that the next clue is delivered.

Remember that this is free. No mobile phone costs, no sms costs. A student potentially could do this on a prepaid plan with NO credit left (provided the phone had that JSR82 thingy).

Other possibilities that we quickly thought of might be
Roll call (down the track)
Daily notices
Student news
School magazine (OK u still have the paper for the oldies)
Careers information
Photos and video for download

There will be PODMO blue zones at the following Adelaide events
Adelaide Film Festival
Adelaide Fringe Festival
2007 World Police & Fire Games
Fringe Benefits

I can see our local tourism industry getting a great deal of benefit from this.

I would like to see the facility developed where users within a blue zone are able to take photos, video and audio with their devices and upload them to a PODMO server for sharing. In an educational setting I would like that facility to be able to be moderated.

This to me is another Google startup. It is highly innovative and IMHO has a big future. It is South Australian and fits nicely with my motto of “Free and Open Education for all”. Very nice work PODMO.


  • At 10:20 am, Blogger michael hotrum said…

    This is excellent news, and coincides with what appears to be something we have in common - an interest in free and open learning. I'll be linking to this from my blog at http://choicelearning.blogspot.com/

  • At 4:13 pm, Blogger Michael said…

    Hi Peter,
    Great summary of the Friday PODMO meeting.
    Please include Aberfoyle Park HS as attending as well.
    The school URL is http://www.aphs.sa.edu.au/
    Michael Cowling


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home