Vision Systems’ Report on E-learning and M-learning Preliminary considerations based on education using mobile devices and infrastructure Because there is a wide variety of GSM terminals, it will be necessary to design an adaptive content formatting system for the teaching materials, depending on the audio- video capabilities of the device. The importance of using these elements is vital to achieve a system usable on a large scale, by the most mobile phone owners. Another concern within the project will be the fundamental research in the existing standards as well as the new standardization trends in electronic learning and communications. This aproach is conceived to be useful in education and scientific research, lining up to the recent trends of the educational systems of the evolved countries. - The reference scenario of the training and e-learning market - The dimension of e-learning/m-learning The duty of education and formation based on new technologies of information and communication is not to demonstrate that it have forthwith results in a competition with other educational systems types, but substitute a part of actual structures with a new, probably superior, performance spectrum, in reception of inherent changes that take place in culture and civilization. Recently, within some international projects with European financing, there were created in our country, in universities, electronic learning platforms. In Transilvania University of Brasov it exists VirtualElectroLab and it is building COMPLETE. E-learning initiative of European Commission was getting out in 2000 for accelerate the effective integration of ITC in education and formation/training institutes from Europe. Romania is not eligible for this program, but it can touch the subject in others programs: Leonardo da Vinci, Minerva, aso. In our country it doesn’t exist an initiative in this sense at the resort ministry level. The accomplishments that can be identified at the 2005 level has been obtained by the universities proper efforts or by participating at UE financed programs. A number of IT companies have getting out on market products that tend e-learning subject. In some of the European projects, it has been accomplished an electronic learning system which can be accessed via internet and it make available for students interactive electronic course materials and virtual laboratories or at distance. Mobile learning, m-learning, is an e-learning component in which are used mobile calculus equipments: Palm, Pocket PC and mobile phones. Mobile learning (“m- learning”) represents a new step in long tradition of learning intermediate by the new technologies in ODL (open and distance learning), with computer based training (CBT) and web-based-training (WBT), etc. M-learning involves new strategies and practices, utilitarian, applications and resources for implementing the ubiquitous, persuasive, personalized and interconnected. The vision takes ambit and we can say that m-Learning is the intersection between e-learning and mobile calculus equipments: accessible resources wherever the customer is, powerful searching capacities, pronounced interactivity, powerful learning support and accumulation based on performance. M-learning is independent by space and time. Most authors that make reference to m-learning give as example the PDA as instrument electronic tool with his aid it is accessing didactical materials, but mentioning mobile phone just as possible tool in the future. In the context of Romanian economy and life standard, lower than EU states, we confront with a situation in some way contrarious: PDA is viewed as a luxury accessory, being very few disseminated, but we are among the first countries in the world considering the number of mobile phones reported to the number of inhabitants. Owing to this situation, m-learning systems what direct aiming customers of PDA don’t have practical applicability in our country. The technological advance recorder on PDA market is reflected even in mobile phone market. These tend to have performances and functionalities similar with PDA, but at small scale, and offer in plus the support for mobile communication via different protocols (WAP, GPRS, CDMA, WCDMA). The equipments become much more common, and their quality and capacity are raising in time while the price are decreasing. It is detecting the existence of some limitation both in PDA cases and mobile phones cases, in ratio with PC: not all allow permanently connect at Internet/Intranet, but they have the dial-up possibility for intermittent connection; The screen has small dimensions; Processing power is small; Storage capacities are limited (is imposed the contents processing from a place dedicated for storage, that is LMS – Learning Management System). On these lines, in Romania as on international level, it exists the preoccupation in standards implementation. They have been completed mobile configurations al Client level, using PC notebook with mobile phone in role of modem wireless of big speed, connected via serial cable (the connection can be also USB or infrared), for growth complexity equipments. An assumption for the future developments the new utilitarian for J2ME (Java2 for Mobile Equipment – which will be included at firmware level in mobile phones of the new generation CDMA and WCDMA UMTS). The advantage of mobile phone, that it is permanently connected at a communication network is leading to technological development in the sense of transforming this device, from simple tool of voice communication in a mobile computer. Nowadays, mobile phones have already screen with resolutions big enough for assure a good utilization of a material for m-learning. During the last 5 years, the research team from Transilvania University of Brasov, together with there partners (we mention Laboratorio delle Idee as a consistent one) has contributed to the achievement of two Leonardo da Vinco projects related to thematic areas converging towards the project’s subject: Virtual-Electro-Lab RO/01/B/F/PP141024 http://vlab.unitbv.ro/velab/, Softlab RO/2002/ PL89223/EX, both ended successfuly, by this bringing a signifiant contribution to the e-learning domain evolution in Romania. Supporting this statement, we mention the existence of four centres for automatic measurement locally connected to IEEE488.2 GPIB network under PC Pentium III (Windows NT) control and integrated with LabView 5.1 (through incorporated web server) in a virtaul system with Internet access. Each testing stand has a digital oscilloscope, digital multimetre, triple programmable power source, generator of arbitrary functions and patterns, RF generator with frequency synthesis up to 1GHz for telecommunication signals, multifunctional plaque for the acquisition and distribution of analogue and digital signals, programmable commutation matrix with relays. - The state of the art of the use of mobile devices in m-learning e-Learning and m-Learning, the differences Wired Virtual Learning Environment of Today Wireless Virtual Learning Environment of Tomorrow The Compaq iPAQ The wireless palmtop The WAP telephone PDA R 250 R 380 M-Learning is the intersection of mobile computing and E-learning: accessible resources wherever you are, strong search capabilities, rich interaction, powerful support for effective learning, and performance-based assessment. E-learning is independent of location in time or space. Another example from the same project „Virtual Electro Lab” is an experimental setup for distance control of humidity. The user part of this application was developed using web/wap protocols and use for the introduction and transmission of parameters. The server part contains: web/wap implementation for parameter transmission and workbench part (implemented with the package LabView produced by National Instruments) for the access to the equipment. A diagram (visual, intuitive, representative) of (a) (b) the tested system; for wap the image format is .wbmp (maximum dimension is 94 x 48 points – mobile phones, or 96 x 96 for PDAs). The access could be done also by Internet – for example with OPERA browser compatible web and wap – figure 1. Fig. 1. ( a ) Control from PDA Palm Pilot M100 connected via IrDA to the mobile phone GPRS Nokia ( b ) Control from SMARTPHONE Mitsubishi Trium Mondo, running Windows CE The didactical applications created by the research team from the VirtualElectroLab project consist of e-learning courses and virtual / distance laboratories in the following domains: Electrical Drives, Automated measurements, System Theory and Automatic Control, Domotics, Databases with Applications in the Electrical Domain, Electronic Circuits, Electric Circuits, Electrotehnic Materials, Electrical Machines. Fig.2. The database laboratory web interface - Which training disciplines are delivered via e-learning/m-learning? - In response to what users’ needs? (type of users/corresponding needs) In Romania there exist courses in e-learning system (any time) for all types of education systems as: for elementary school and high school, for university, for VET and for labor market. The most known courses for elementary school are: foreign languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian), Informatics (Windows, Word, Internet, ECDL), Career (formations and advices career). For the high school there is a large variety of courses. Among the most known we mention: Informatics (Web design, Windows, Word, Excel, Internet, ECDL), Foreign languages, Financial accountant (accounting, financial management), Commerce (marketing, commercial agent), Career (booking advising, formations and advices career) etc. VET In what concerns VET for the labor market, in Romania there are a lot of education and perfecting courses, in all domains of activities. Every man can choose, having in view his needs or his aims the courses that he wants to follow: - Business - Commerce - Personal development - Information and Communication Technology (e.g. tolls and programming languages: Flash, HTML, Word, C++) - Foreign languages - Education - Media arts and Sciences - Political science There are not approached in m-learning manner. - The state of the art of the use of mobile devices in m-learning (architectures, technologies, protocols for communication devices) In Romania there has been developed many e-learning platforms, the most known is the platform AEL developed by SIVECO Romania, other platforms are: eLearnTS, INTRAts and eTestTS developed by Timesoft, etc. The first version of on-line environment training is eLearnTS, this was developed by Timesoft firm from Timisoara 3 years ago. The environment can be used and configured for on-line courses – individuals or in virtual universities, eTraining in the enterprises, on-line workshops, as virtual space of collaboration, having variants in Romanian and English languages. It is based on technologies Perl, mySQL, Java, XML, SOAP, the lodging on server Linux, being very flexible, rapid, and secure. INTRAts. The intranet in a private space which offers to employers from a company the possibility to organize information, rapid access to information already existence, made a management of the documents and realize an efficient collaboration based on the use of web browsers. The facilities offered by eTestTS are following: -Creation of modules for training -Creation of modules for testing -Test completion -Administration AEL Advanced eLearning – developed by SIVECO Romania - is an complete integrated platform for computer based learning and management of the content, equally dedicated to preuniversitary, university and organized learning. AEL platform assures the optimization of the instruction process by: unitary instruction a better monitoring of the process and of the obtained results by the students and the instructors E-learning is an Internet application allowing you to send information to the users on the Web. E-learning proposes a new approach of the reader-book relationship, i.e. the interactivity between the user and the material presented. E-earning integrated systems eLIS eLIS is a integrated informatics system what timber the educational process in academic environment. E-learning platform EDUCATIA.NET E-learning platform EDUCATIA.NET allows courses distribution in text, graphic and multimedia format, it contain elements of synchronous communication and asynchronous and advanced testing systems. Virtual Campus (University of Bucharest) The Virtual Campus was designed to provide a complete, scalable, Web-based, eLearning platform with focus on curriculum delivery, learner assessment and personalized feedback. The Virtual Campus was open in July 2002 and was tested by the staff of the Department for Open Distance e Learning, Continuing Education and Professional Conversion, CREDIS. Now, it is currently used by our students, academic and administrative staff, and guests from other universities in Romania and abroad. Direct Learning Systems Direct Learning System offers and develops a series of applications designed for human resources management o Direct Learning is an e-learning application which allow training programs management. It is developed on Microsoft Active Server Pages technology and can be used in any computer network based on a Windows server. The application is implemented on the web site : www.Cursurionline.ro o OnlineExaminer is a testing application developed on Microsoft Active Server Pages technology and can be used in any computer network based on a Windows server. It allows the online management of tests. The application is implemented on the web site : www.TestariOnline.ro o OnlineRecruiter is a recruitment application that can be added to the company web site by simply copying the folder and adding a link to this application. It is developed on Microsoft Active Server Pages technology and can be used in any computer network based on a Windows server. The application is implemented on the web site : www.RecrutariOnline.ro InsideMedia http://www.xprim.ro, http://www.hostx.ro, http://www.academiaonline.ro Gives personalized e-learning solutions for formation demands of the company/university E-learning solution “ready to use “, in Romanian - Live&Learn, used for www.AcademiaOnline.ro click2learn solutions Macromedia products for eLearning Some Virtual Laboratories solutions Virtual Electro Lab (Transilvania University of Brasov) It has as main objective perfecting the learning system in the electrical domain by using long distance experiments via Internet. For accomplishing this objective the project realised: creating a virtual laboratory, that means a software simulated laboratory which allows making experiments via Internet. creating teaching software (a set of 9 programs) dedicated to some subjects from the electrical, electronic and automatics domains. The project's activities have the purpose to realize: the necessary software tools to implement the original teaching approach proposed by this project; demonstrative kit for each achieved software product; a guide book referring to the realized software products; dissemination materials. Virtual Labs: Basic FIA (Flow Injection Analysis) LAB (Bucharest University 2004) The exercise introduces the FIA (Flow Injection Analysis) technique, in the way that the participant can familiarize themselves with all essential operations details corresponding to FIA system. Understand the "mechanism" of FIA technique and the most important conditions of the FIA experiment can have a dramatic impact on the FIA experimental results. Virtual Labs: Detection of nitries and nitrate Virtual laboratory (University of Craiova) The virtual laboratory for network management offers education for students who are registered at the ViReC (http://virec.ucp.ro) (virtual laboratory University of Craiova) The virtual laboratory offers practical exercises on real network equipment as well as textbooks and tutorials. The usage of the virtual lab is for free but not anonym. You have also to register here before you can enter the lab. Virtual Robot Center This center presents a virtual laboratory accessible through the Internet. The objective of Virtual Laboratory is to provide remote access to a robots infrastructure and programming. Virtual Laboratory has been implemented as a new generation communication service, not us a common World Wide Web (WWW) application. So, it employs a sophisticated access framework, a communication infrastructure able to support multimedia flows, and a component-based software construction. The architecture of a Virtual Laboratory relies on open standards, such as WWW and its related technologies (HTTP, HTML, Java, Macromedia Flash, PHP, MySql). - Technical requirements to create a portal (or most common platforms used e.g. MOODLE, uPortal, etc.) in order to move applications on mobile devices uPortal is an open-standard effort using Java, XML, JSP and J2EE. It is a collaborative development project with the effort shared among several JA-SIG member institutions. Customization allows each user to define a unique and personal view of the campus. Portal technology adds "customization" and "community" to the campus Web presence. uPortal support Portlets (JSR-168) and WSRP(Web Services for Remote Portlets). Simply put, uPortal is a framework for producing a campus portal. It is not the intention to be an out-of-the-box or "turn key" portal "solution". Instead, uPortal is a set of Java classes and XML/XSL documents that can be used to produce a portal for use on a campus. Community tools, such as chat, forums, survey, and so on, build relationships among campus constituencies. One strong community tool is Moodle. Moodle is a course management system (CMS) – a free, Open Source software package designed to help educators who want to create quality and effective online courses. The software is used all over the world by universities, schools, companies and independent teachers. Moodle can be integrated with uPortal and so, offer uPortal the power of a course management system. It is posible to create channels in uPortal, and put in each channel the Moodle module it is intended, nedded to be used (forum, chat, course management module). It is possible to bypass the Moodle login, creating an autologin mechanism, thus the uPortal user login only once (SSO - Single Sign On principle) The system of learning management together with the module of course and lab applications access could constitute an application distributed on 3 levels, interconected into an architecture of 3-tier type. The development of the distributed applications system involves the integrated implementation of the modules specific to each level of application: Driver level - programs that collect data from the laboratory and/or send commands to the laboratory on one hand; they communicate by a local network or Internet to Server level on the other hand; Server level – contains applications responsible with data centralisation, users management and access rights, courses and laboratory management, learning management, connections betrween Driver and Client modules. The Server will also include a system of relational data; Client level – represents the applications composing the user interface and are in principle the applications that will run on mobile phones, accomplished with Java Midlet technology or other characteristic technologies). - which LO for IT/networking do already exist? - with which standards? We don’t know/find in Romania anything about existing LO for IT/networking used for m-learning.