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Winter 2011

mCommunity NEWS this issue... What YOU Said... Jargon Busting

Smart Apps for 2012 The mCommunity Project is led by Pembrokeshire College in collaboration with Gower College Swansea and TSSG, is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Ireland Wales Cross Border Programme 2007-2013 (INTERREG 4A).

Hot Mobiles Spotlight on Business Why not volunteer?


mCommunity

putting opportunity in your hand... Who are we? We use the latest Android smartphones to trial our unique mCommunity application ‘app’. The ‘app’ enables learners to access their learning targets and course materials on their smartphone. The ‘app’ has an ‘instant messaging (IM)’ facility Zimbie - which means that learners can message their tutor to help them along with their studies. Learners can choose their preferred method of communication with their tutor, so they can communicate via Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, IM or SMS. The mCommunity Project is led by Pembrokeshire College along with Gower College Swansea and a software developer in Waterford - Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG). The two colleges are using the software to engage with learners who are over nineteen and not in employment, education or training. Each suitable learner receives a smartphone (some of which are featured on page 7) so they can access the mCommunity app and keep in contact with their tutor. Our bespoke mCommunity ‘app’ doesn’t only focus on learners; it is also being developed to help small businesses with staff training and development. Employees will be able to access their staff training on a smartphone or tablet. See our spotlight on small businesses on page 6 and look out for our next edition which will focus on the small business side of the project. In this newsletter we focus on learner success stories and review our favourite apps and devices. At the launch of mCommunity (January 2011), project partners from Waterford Institute of Technology and from Gower College Swansea were in attendance at Pembrokeshire College and Sean Lyons, Project Manager at TSSG said ‘This is a great opportunity to apply the latest social media and mobile technologies for the learningmarket to help create the positive engagement of learners and businesses’ Pembrokeshire College’s Project Director Dr Geoff Elliott said ‘mCommunity is an exciting, innovative project which aims to help the most vulnerable and hard to reach. The use of mobile technology is ever increasing and mCommunity is responding to this demand’.


‘We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic project’, said Alannah Simmons Project Manager. ‘mCommunity will reach out to individuals and small businesses alike, providing a tailored mobile learning platform and opportunities for intensive mentoring and guidance’.

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You said... Learner case study: The Job Hunt: Working Side-by-Side with mCommunity By Simone Johnson (mCommunity learner) After months of soul searching, CV editing and job scanning, you’ll finally receive that all important letter, stating you are now an employee at last. But how did it happen? This article describes just how I got to this point, why it is about who you know and how sometimes a little bit of faith is the key to success. The Life Line Project and why to get involved The mCommunity project is designed to help the local community in job searching and gaining the essential skills to be independent in that hunt, all through the use of clever technology. Every member is presented with a smartphone (you have to be committed though to get this little treat!), cleverly equipped with an interactive application that allows the member and their personal tutor to communicate with each other and support the ‘student’ with their job hunt. So instead of sitting at home battling through application after application on your own not even knowing if what you are doing is right, you have this little mini interactive god fairy to assist in your paperwork. Something that I know for sure is this, I wish my god fairy had popped up two years ago when I was marking course work… assistance would have been very much appreciated! My tutor is practically the most energetic, proactive and enthusiastic person I have ever met. She is always armed with advice, paperwork and a plan from A-Z of what action to take. Have you ever seen that programme The Fairy Job Mother…she is a blonde version of her! Only better! Lisa, every week gives that beaming smile of encouragement when you’d

done the littlest thing right. And sometimes that’s all it takes….that little bit of encouragement to make you feel amazing about yourself. Obviously the project is all about the technology which is fantastic. If you are one of those people who wouldn’t know the difference from a BlackBerry to a Blueberry then no fret, you would roughly be on the same lines as me. Yes I can do most things, and I’m lucky because I pick up technology quite easily. I think personally I now could show up any London business man with his snazzy new iPhone. The application forces you to face up to these fears of technology. Over 80% of jobs will now prefer you to have some experience of interactive technology, emails, blogging, researching etc and the project, by equipping its users with this amazing and unbelievably expensive technology, imposes upon you a positive route into the 21st century’s latest skills that you need to learn… and fast. But you can do it in fun ways. Even using the Sims3 game makes you meet deadlines and get to work on time… according to that game I’m deputy Mayor! I advise anyone who is offered the chance to work on this project to take it. You may not expect it to work out, and you may think you’re just being signed onto another group to say you’re doing something. But rather than question if it is worth it try asking this...why wouldn’t it be? Take a chance; you just don’t know where you may end up. If any of these stories inspire you or you would like to hear more, please contact Emma on 01437 753 202/ 07896 811 183 or e-mail info@mcommunity.org.uk


You said...

Jargon Buster...

Learner case study

App - Short for mobile application, these are software applications, usually designed to run on smartphones and tablet computers. Mobile apps were originally intended for emails and calendars, but the public demand for apps caused rapid expansion into other areas such as mobile games and location-based services.

Trish had been at home for 8 years claiming Incapacity Benefit and more recently Job Seekers Allowance. Trish was at a point in her life when she felt ready to get back into the workforce; she heard about how the mCommunity Project could help her and arranged an appointment to meet up with the mTutor. Trish was the first mCommunity participant to be given a smartphone device and she was integral to the development of the app through her feedback to her mTutor. Trish’s working background had been in retail and administration but Trish was happy to expand on this and work in any type of role. After sending off many job applications and CVs Trish was still unsuccessful in gaining employment. This was obviously a knock to her confidence and made her realise that getting back into work was difficult, even for someone who is working hard at it. The smartphone device gave Trish a focus and goals and targets set by her tutor helped her gain employability skills and confidence. The benefit of having a tutor available to mentor and encourage her proved highly beneficial to her at this time; the IM system meant that Trish had instant access to the mTutor. To keep her options open Trish decided to focus on other avenues such as self-employment. This was discussed with the mTutor who encouraged Trish to attend local taster courses on setting up your own business; consequently Trish’s idea of setting up her own cleaning business was borne. With renewed enthusiasm she was flying high, the phone was still being used for contact between her and the mTutor for encouragement and resources. Her targets were now being ‘ticked off’ - she became successful in gaining part time employment which would complement her venture into self employment.

IM - Instant Messaging is a form of real-time text-based chatting communication between two or more people using personal computers or other devices. It is free over a WiFi connection. SMS - Short Message Service is also referred to as ‘texting’. The service allows for short text messages to be sent from one mobile phone to another or from the web to a mobile phone.

Twitter - Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as “tweets”. Usually within the text is a website link to additional information. Facebook - Facebook is a social networking

service and website. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile.

Android - Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. It is developed by Google. Smartphone - A smartphone is a high-end mobile phone that combines the functions of a personal digital assistant (PDA) and a mobile phone. Todays models typically serve as media player and cameras with high-resolution touchscreens, WiFi and mobile broadband access. WiFi - Is short for wireless fidelity and is a

mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices.

3G - 3G is technology that includes wide-area

wireless connectivity for mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV, that works on similar technology as the mobile phone network.

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Spotlight on Business Spotlight on small businesses

The mCommunity app has allowed for bespoke training to be given to the first four SME businesses on the mCommunity project in Pembrokeshire. The Fourcroft Hotel, Tenby, The Cleddau Bridge Hotel, Pembroke Dock, Dragons Breath Renewables, Sardis and Whitehall Lodge Guest House, East Williamston will benefit from the use of the latest smartphones and tablet devices loaded with the mCommunity app. Employees at the Fourcroft Hotel and Cleddau Bridge Hotel will be using a Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab (10.1 inch) respectively to create and research resources to meet agreed development needs. Staff will be empowered to create their own resources by using both audio and video functions on the devices to support existing standard operating procedures; these resources are then packaged into a course for staff development and delivered via the mCommunity app on the tablets. Employees will also be creating their own specific library of resources to develop and improve their product knowledge which will in turn support and improve customer service. Some mandatory training will also be accessed via the mCommunity app, depending on the businesses need, which will draw on the knowledge and expertise available at Pembrokeshire College and the existing resources already used by the SME. A different need was identified for the mCommunity app that will benefit both Whitehall Lodge and Dragons Breath. They will be accessing the mCommunity App via the latest smartphones where they will be completing a course introducing them to Facebook, Twitter and Google +, supporting them to become active users of these social media platforms and to widen their business profile. The phones will also give them an opportunity to tap into the numerous productivity applications that are available and give them the ability to access emails and websites when away from their desks.

The mCommunity app allows the mTutor to monitor the progress towards targets and offer additional resources and support via the instant messaging facility. Each business will be contributing to a weekly diary of activity with the technology that will help inform future versions of the app as well as develop project courses. Additional Pembrokeshire businesses, which have different training needs to those above, are poised to become involved in the mCommunity Project in the new year, when further enhancements to the app will be introduced. If you are interested in learning more about the SME side of the project please contact: Jason on 01437 753202 / 07896 811 371 or email info@mcommunity.org.uk.


Recommended Apps Dropbox

Dropbox is a web-based file hosting service that uses ‘cloud’ storage to enable users to store and share files and folders with others across the Internet.

Evernote

Evernote works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device. Evernote makes it easy to remember things from life using your computer, phone and the web. You can take notes anywhere and send them to your Evernote account, having them available on every device and computer you use.

Skitch

Skitch is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you capture, edit and mark-up your screen captures and images with shapes and comments.

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader developed by Amazon.com. It uses wireless connectivity to enable users to shop and browse for books, magazines, newspapers, blogs and other digital media and download them onto a device. They can then be stored and read with ease, with no turning of pages.

Recommended Mobiles Samsung Galaxy S

The Samsung Galaxy S was launched well over a year ago and is still going strong. The 4-inch screen is vibrant and crisp providing a userfriendly display due to its high resolution. The battery life is typical of this type of device so expect to recharge a few times a week. The device has a 1Ghz processor which is fast but this is most effective when using WiFi. This is still an excellent device even one year on.

Samsung Galaxy S II

The successor to the Samsung Galaxy S, the GSII is sleeker, thinner and lighter. Running on a 1.2Ghz processor obviously improves its performance but has its negative effect on battery life which needs a recharge every day. The screen is larger – 4.3-inches which means that the device is bigger to hold. The additional screen size does not impact on the quality of the display which is even more vibrant, crisp and bold than the GS. I thought that it would be hard to surpass the GS – but the GSII sets the standard.

Google Nexus S

The Google Nexus S has rounded corners which make the screen look bigger than it is. On this device there are no manufacturers’ modifications so this is ‘pure Android’ which makes it easier to customise and means that it receives Android updates more quickly than other devices. The device is fast due it its 1Ghz processor but it feels faster than both the Samsung phones. The screen is sharp, vibrant and user friendly.

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Volunteers needed for mCommunity project mCommunity is looking to recruit volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to mentor learners who will be over 19 and out of employment, education and training. Our commitment to you... You will be supported by Pembrokeshire College with regular meetings and information. You will not be out of pocket as a result of being a volunteer, so you may claim agreed expenses incurred due to the role. Your commitment to us... As a volunteer you will need to be able to commit between one and five hours a week to your role. You will visit learners in convenient community venues and will mentor them to achieve their personal learning goal. If you can listen with understanding, maintain confidentiality and be committed to the scheme we want to hear from you.

Contact Alannah on 01437 753 203 for more information or e-mail info@mcommunity.org.uk

The website is access to the latest mCommunity news and events, information and links.

www.mcommunity.org.uk Follow us on Twitter @mCommunityPro Facebook - MCommunity mCommunity Project Ireland: mCommunity Project Wales:

Pembrokeshire College Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire SA61 1SZ 01437 753203 Gower College Swansea Sketty Hall Sketty Lane Swansea SA2 8QF

Waterford Institute of Technology Waterford Institute of Technology Telecommunications Software and Systems Telecommunications Software and Systems GroupGroup ArcLabs Research and Innovation Building ArcLabs Research and Innovation Building West Campus West Campus Carriganore Carriganore Waterford Co.Waterford

mCommunity Newsletter  

The first issue of the mCommunity Newsletter, including learner stories and information on mobile learning. Welsh version avaiable

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