Educational Aspects

Math4Mobile is a project of the Institute for Alternatives in Education that operates within the Faculty of Education at the University of Haifa, Israel.

The Development of Math4Mobile is based on the following observations:

  • Technology plays an important role in learning and teaching because it promotes active learning.
  • Learning is a socio-cultural as well as an individual-cognitive process. Teachers and peers are part of both.” The voice function of mobile phone is no longer the only dominant one. Textual and visual communication as well as the use of web resources and applications (online and local) are fast becoming central functions of mobile communication. When combined with mobile learning, mobile phones allow students to learn anytime, anywhere, with any media. Mobility, availability, and flexibility are the key terms in this project.

The Math4Mobile environment attempts to make a scenario such as the following one part of your daily teaching and learning activities:

You are a 16-year old student, waiting at a bus stop for your school bus, trying to prepare for the PreCalc exam. You take out your cellular phone, open the Math4Mobile m-Book and start learning. You can explore concepts and test your understanding by doing some quizzes that your teacher stored on the class site. You are already on the bus when your friend calls and asks for help with an exercise. You exchange messages, attaching the diagrams you worked on and compare your attempts at solving the problem. When you feel ready, you send the exercises to your teacher to check them. In the meantime you have arrived home. You check your teacher’s comments on your PC and continue working from your PC.

The Math4Mobile project takes advantage of the opportunities offered by ubiquitous personal technologies for educational purposes, specifically using cellular phones for teaching and learning mathematics. It applies the attributes, abilities, and functionality of cellular phones to educational settings, taking into account their usage and spread, cultural attitudes and needs, current functions, and technological aspects. The cellular phone opens up fascinating opportunities for education. It is an easily available tool that is already part of the culture and daily life of every teacher and student, and it is likely to become highly useful for both teachers and students if adequate applications are developed. The education community jump on this bandwagon early and explore how best to turn it into an integral component of the learning environment (see the celular report.pdf for a broader overview of the issue of cellular phones and learning).

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Software Development

The midlets were developed using the Java Mobile Edition language (J2ME) and the free NetBeans environment. The midlets were tested on Nokia 6680, courtesy of Eurocom Israel.

Designing an educational application for the ever changing world of mobile phones is a considerable challenge. Because we attempt to reach users of every type of cellular phone, our design must fit the small screens and the regular cellular keyboard. Mobile phones differ from one another in their Graphic User Interface (GUI), built-in fonts, screen resolutions, and special phone buttons (volume buttons, pencil button, etc.). To overcome differences in fonts and GUI looks, we used the TinyLine 2D SDK, a toolkit for java devices that enabled us to use our device-independent fonts (J2ME lacks this ability). The menus are drawn by our application, and we tried avoiding using the built-in menus of the device. For the sake of enhanced portability, we relied only on conventional phone buttons: 0-9, *, and #. Our main problem was screen resolution. We tried to support the128×128, 176×208, and 352×416 screens, as well as other resolutions, by identifying the screen resolution and producing a larger/smaller GUI with less/more on-screen information.

The midlets are still facing technical limitations, but they provide a firm ground for the future development of Math4Mobile and other projects that share our vision. All the midlets can be downloaded free from the downloads page. Phone requirements are also listed on that page.

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Team & Credits

Michal Yerushalmy,

Prof. of Mathematics Education
University of Haifa.
Tel: +972-4-8240832

Arik Weizman (M.Sc),

Software & Site Developer
The Computer Science Department. Undergraduate Studies Program
University of Haifa

Zohar Shavit,

Software Developer
The Computer Science Department. Undergraduate Studies Program
University of Haifa


Eurocom Israel

Development is based on

Yerushalmy, M., Katriel, H. & Shternberg, B. (2002/4) VisualMath: The Functions’ Web Book Interactive Mathematics Text. (in Hebrew (2002) and English (2004)). Published by CET, The Centre of Educational Technology, Ramat-Aviv.

Website development

Arik Weizman

Spanish Translation

Liliana Saidon Dir. Centro de Investigación Babbage

Mr. Nando Potel

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