Tag Archives: iphone


A frog, an iPod, and misplaced skills

I love this video. It’s funny and unexpected, but it also can inspire some thought about the intersection between mobile learning, training and authentic tasks (no, really!).

Mastery Learning is Transferable

That frog is really good at that game. Is anyone surprised? That’s what frogs do.  The main knowledge transfer is from operating in 3D world to a 2D representation on a screen, but the game still exploits the frog’s rapid reflexes and tongue/eye coordination.

Platforms Change, Skills Remain the Same

The frog doesn’t care if that’s an iPhone or an HTC or a real-life fly. Its scanned the movement and the shape and wants to perform. Design for the task, not for the platform or the OS.

Without Satisfaction, Frustration Reigns

Finally the frog attacks the one 3D object that it can. It’s been denied a tasty treat multiple times when all of its experience tells it that that it should be eating a bug– not just a tidbit, but a critical part of its sustenance. As it fails to get its reward, its body language demonstrates greater urgency.

What are our lessons as designers here?

  1. Know what compels our learners — design activities that speak to their desires and strengths. 
  2. Design platform- and device-agnostically– Exploit what makes them unique– touch screens, for example, but make sure that activities are high quality.
  3. Reward with authentic returns. Virtual awards won’t satisfy everyone, or at least not frogs.

Our Gadgets Own Us

I’ve got too many gadgets. But I find that I need one more. I want a laptop again.

I miss laptops. While the iPhone and iPad provide mobility and the sexy design that makes want one (until we find out the human cost behind them and probably ALL of our gadgets), they’re awfully hard to write much beyond a tweet on.

The students in my school district all got tablets to use this year. They were so excited initially. At Computers4Kids we were concerned that the students wouldn’t come to us anymore because they had this gadget and wouldn’t need the computer access that we’d always provided them. But they still come. The promised keyboards haven’t materialized, and even if they had, would you want to write and edit a 3-4 page paper on a tablet screen?

Both me and the kids love to watch movies on the tablet– it’s great and portable, but I’d rather write an email on an iPhone and I’d rather write a paper on a desktop or laptop.