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Learning From a Cell Phone?

Techstination feature for Thursday, May 18, 2006

What can you learn from a cell phone? How about a new language. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Vocel…a wireless phone content company….made a splash a year and a half ago with an application that helped teenagers study for the SATs using their cell phones. The Princeton Review costs about 4 dollars a month. Vocel CEO Carl Washburn…

"The user experience is…the phone's in your pocket…it rings, just like you're getting a phone call. Open it up, there's an SAT practice question right on the screen. You answer it, it gives you feedback if you got it correct or incorrect and why. Close the lid and get back to what you're doing."

Now the company is using the same basic technology to turn cell phones into language tutors….

"Our financing partner is Random House and they have a program called Living Language, a leading language training program. And we've made that available on a mobile phone. So now you can learn a foreign language right on your phone. What's real interesting about that is if you have a casual interest in learning a foreign language, you can have vocabulary words sent to your phone during the day. Right now I'm brushing up on my Spanish. We have ESL for kids who want to learn English as a second language. We have French and Japanese."

And there's more on the way….including Thomas and Friends story books for children on mobile phones. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.