Kudos to the eLearning Guild for last week's exceptional inaugural mobile learning conference in San Diego. Having been actively following mobile learning developments during the past 6 years or so (and wondering what it would take to tip this obvious, self-evident next step of connecting people to information when and where they want it into general practice) it was enormously satisfying to see, feel and hear the energy and enthusiasm. Thank you Brent, Mary, Juli, Steve, Luis, Heidi, David and Bill for a great event.
Aaron Silver (@mrch0mp3rs) was a most excellent host and facilitator of the mLearning Future Zone, while Neil Lasher (@neillasher) was "Cage-master extraordinare" in the MOSH Pit (and thanks to both for including me among their cast of characters :-) Both Aaron and Neil convened a great group of people who have been innovators on the edge (both leading and bleeding) of mlearning. As with any new technology applications, there are lots of little things that practitioners can't anticipate until they get into the middle of rolling out a new program. So many great conversation, discussions and debates....I know I came home a lot smarter.
Highlights of the conference for me included a great panel discussion about future directions for mLearning with Kris Rockwell (@hybridkris) from Hybrid Learning Systems, and Judy Brown (@judyb) from the ADL. It was super excellent to spend time with Silke Fleisher and Eric Converse from ATIV (This is the company that developed the great mLearnCon conference program app. I like it so much I am getting one like this for the WCET conference in November.) Silke is a friend and co-conspirator from my Adobe eLearning days, and it is very exciting to see the success that ATIV is having as a mobile app development shop. It is always a treat to see Michelle Lentz (@writetechnology), Jeff Tillet (@mojotillet) and Mark Chrisman (@badsquare). Watching Allison Rossett (@allisonrossett) falling in love with the new iPad that she bought on her way to the conference was particularly amusing.
One of the best parts of my conference experience was having the opportunity to go toe-to-toe, "mano-a-mano" with Clark Quinn, (@quinnovator) in The Great Debate: HTML5 or Flash? Not surprisingly, I took the pro-Flash position. It's not so much that I love Flash, per se - It's just that I have been really irritated at the lack of accurate information about the current state of Flash and HTML5 as it affects elearning designers and developers. Having spent several years inside Adobe, I know the Flash platform story fairly well. Perhaps more importantly, I know how much elearning people currently depend on Flash. For the past 13 years Flash has been the gold standard for creating interactive online content. Our industry has been and will continue to be highly dependent upon .SWFs, at least in the short run and probably for longer than that. While we are all certainly moving away from our dependence on SWF animations toward more rich internet applications (RIAs), apps and richer video and audio experiences, there is going to be a period of time where we will need to be aware of what our customers and stakeholders need for dealing with the needs of their customers and stakeholders. If they can't play their content and launch rich web experiences we produce when and where they need it it really doesn't matter how we feel about the tools that we think we should use, does it??
My friends from the Adobe Platform group shared a number of slides with me to help tell the Flash side of the HTML v. Flash story. I've included some of their info and a number of other slides (including a few funny screen shots of how Apple and Adobe to continue to poke at each other as they position around these issues) that you can download here. Download Final mLearn Con Flash and HTML5. for distrib