Wikimania 2009

The  Wikimania 2009 is, again, an amazing gathering of Wikipedians and Wikimedians: editors, activists, researchers. I am presenting MobilED with the title “Audio Wiki for Mobile Communities: Information Systems for the Rest of Us”. My angle is to focus on how the audio wiki could be used to build up services providing “… classifieds and forums for jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, local community, and events.” (thank you Craigslist).

When Mobile audio wikis will take off?

We were happy to found out that we are no more alone with the mobile audio wiki idea.

We already knew that some people in IBM Indian Research Laboratory are developing several audio-based information systems relying on speech technologies and have also thought to integrate text messaging (SMS) in them. However, as far as we know, they are not thinking the “wiki”-way.

Now we found out (thank you Andrea for the link) that some people in the Nokia Research Center have also been working on mobile audio wiki idea for some time. They call the prototype Mosoko.

I think it is great to see that the idea we presented in early 2006 is taking off in many places same time. This is definitely a proof of the idea. Now we just wait that someone will catch the ball and make it real.

It’s about the time to have WELL, Wikipedia and Craigslist for the rest of us. And they will be mobile.

Demoing MobilED in GTF’08

Making ourselves comfortable in old harbor halls.

Making ourselves comfortable in old harbor halls.

So we have been presenting MobilED Community Wiki at Grasping The Future 08 – conference in Helsinki for two days. The reception has been surprisingly positive and interested, as both the Community Wiki and Audio Encyclopaedia -applications are primarily designed for cultures with stronger oral tradition and less internet than our Finnish culture.

We are sharing a stand with two more projects supported by Nokia: Mobiledu from China (with 3 000 000 users!) and Sanako’s Choose to Learn -initiative.

Mobile Community Wiki help sheet.

Mobile Community Wiki help sheet

We have met some very interesting people with exciting proposals for possible uses of MobilED platform and we will get into contact with them after the conference.

+358-9-4288 7140 – Taka-Töölö’s community wiki

Have you heard of Craig’s list? It’s pretty popular. Why? It’s a service with information that everyone needs once in a while. It’s local classifieds and forums, which are community moderated and free.

MobilED Community Wiki instruction sheet

MobilED Community Wiki instruction sheet

The MobilED Community Wiki brings the same services to mobile users. No need for Internet access or smart phones – MobilED works on any phone in the world. This is important for everybody – especially for people with strong oral tradition and limited Internet access.

We have a new prototype setup of the MobilED server to test and demonstrate what one can do with it. You may call the number: +358-9-4288 7140 to try it out. You may also check out the Wiki view, meant for editing and moderating the content.

Edit: the phone number mentioned is no longer available, as the pilot has ended.

Local community wiki with news and classifieds

This week we have been setting up a new MobilED server that works as a platform for local news and classifieds. The basic idea is still the same – MobilED is an audio wiki, you may reach with your phone – but this time it is designed for very specific purpose.

The local community service works so that anyone can set up a wiki-site on which you can make a call. Then you can navigate to different sections like (1) news, (2) jobs, (3) job seekers, (4) sell place, (5) rent place, (6) sell stuff, (7) buy stuff, (8) events and (9) my messages.

We are starting to test the new service internally next week.

New direction?

It has been quiet in the MobilED project.

In the Helsinki team we have been writing an article where we conclude that probably the best area where one could use MobilED technology, and the basic interaction provided with it, could actually be rather generic community information system than a service used in formal education, such as in schools. This direction is not taking MobilED out from the “learning landscape” but it may expand the research focus. It will maybe help us to consider MobilED more as a media service – from people to people – than an “educational service”.

Any concrete examples?
I think MobilED could be something like a mobile community newspaper or …well… in case of digital world it would be something like craigslist but all in mobile. The service could provide local classified and forums for community news, jobs, housing, for sale, personals, services, and events.

How it would work?
You send a text message with the word “news” to the number of your community and the service will call you back. During the call you can listen what kind of news people have dictate to the MobilED service, jump from one to another and if you wish add your own news to the server. Similar way you could send text message with the word “jobs” and get a call back with a list of open jobs in your area. As the service works with the Mediawiki platform it could be accessible also from the web, and the editorial community could maintain the service in very easy way also from the website.

Any comments about this?
We hope to get the manuscript of the research paper discussing this idea ready in a few coming weeks. Please, let us know what do you think about the idea, so we can include your comments to the paper.

Educación virtual móvil

Discussion and talk about MobilED in Bogota. More information of the even in here:


The UNICEF’s NY Headquarters’ Division of Communication has a great new initiative called UNIWiki. The big question in the UNICEF UniWiki projects is:

“How do we connect people who have no access to computers or the internet to people who do? How do we allow for some of the same faculties and functions that people in highly connected environments are used to when all that is available is a mobile phone or a radio?”

With their global network, UNICEF may have a real impact in the field. The list of the UNIWiki projects underway and plannned, as well as the technology they are planning to use in them, is very interesting. MobilED is in there, too.

Wikimania 2007 conference

The Wikimania 2007, the international Wikimedia conference is, talking place in Taipei on this weekend. Me (Teemu) and Kim from Meraka South Africa are presenting their projects, including MobilED.

Many participants are presenting ideas and proposals on how to use Wikis on mobile phones and how to distribute free content in the developing world. It looks that, sometimes people forget the “wiki way”(* and are more interested in to deliver existing wiki-content to the developing world (in English or in French). I hope we will not do the same mistake in MobilED.

*) Free content that is collaboratively authored. – mobile communications for social benefits is an online community and a wiki for sharing ideas on how to use mobile communications for social and environmental benefits.

The education section of the site is gathering case study stories explaining how mobile tools have been used in education. MobilED case is already reported in there (thank you Kobus, for fixing it!). I also wrote an small article to the site with the title: Mobile learning – what is it?

I think is very important channel for us to disseminate the results and the innovations made in the MobilED project. I also know that in the MobilED community there are people who know about other cases too that should be available online. So, please register to the site and share your ideas.