Creativity in the Field: Exploring the iPad2 for Creation, Learning & Teaching

Today is a new day. This is the second day that I’ve had the iPad2. I’ve had the iPad for sometime and I’ve enjoyed its display and many of its functions. However, the iPad2 takes it to a whole new level. Within a few hours, I was able to get my e-mail set up, get oriented to the basic features of the iPad2, to download and install apps for iMovie and Garage Band and to be able to actually do video production in the field; literally in the field. Using GarageBand in this tactile pad environment has truly changed my perception of what computing can be. Being able to bend pitch by using a mouse on the laptop or desktop computer is not the same as being able to click a virtual string and then bend the note as you would on a real guitar. I’m only beginning to envision what other capabilities this tactile environment they afford. Just think of being able to move shapes and may afford, such as interacting with the computing surface by applying pressure. The capabilities of the iPad is only limited to the apps which have or will be developed to allow it to perform in many many ways. My interest is in educational use. I am truly blown away by the fact that I can be anywhere and have such capability to actually produce work (noting that internet connectivity is a crucial part of truly being mobile). I still am bothered by Apple’s lack of ability to play flash content. Flash has been a long staple in the arena of multimedia production and delivery of educational content & I think it’s ridiculous to ignore that large body of existing contact. However, given what it is, my challenge is to experiment and see what I can actually do to provide quality examples of the creation and use of educational content via the iPad2. I’m going to challenge myself to work only with the iPad in the iPhone as much as possible. I realize that I will need to actually use a laptop to engage in some of the software activities and so forth that I normally use, but the time has come to take this journey and truly explore what it means to be mobile and how mobility can impact teaching and learning.

Exploring the iPad for use in Higher Education

Exploring the iPad for use in Higher EducationThe iPad is often touted as a revolutionary new means of computing, but what exactly does that mean?

How does one explore the capabilities of a device which changes with the apps which may be loaded?

Should we be exploring the iPad as a device? Or, should we explore the educational experiences which might be possible though the Apps which are available?

How can we explore the device, if we do not have the funding to explore promising applications? This is like learning to use a microwave/convection oven without having funding to by the elements required to cook a meal or develop a new recipe. Exploring free resources can be beneficial and lead to rewarding results, but all too often, quality apps require time and funding to develop and may not be able to be shared freely.

Further, should we rely on the applications which are available or should we in fact be developing our own, and in the process, defining what the iPad or the “iPad experience” might be (possibly for our own or our students’ needs). Perhaps this is not a unique idea. The history of modern education has relied upon the use of textbooks, but when scholars and researchers who teach cannot find the textbooks or resources to convey ideas, they write or create their own. So it might be with resources for the iPad or other digital devices. The lamentation for resources which are applicable for higher education might just be the canary in the coal mine which identifies not only the need for resources, but the need for educators to develop new “literary skills” to create the learning opportunities which these new devices just might afford.

Consider an interview and behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the his ebook, The Elements: A Visual Exploration. Consider how he has developed a resource which uses the iPad’s multiple touch feature, 3D imagery, and the ability to incorporate real-time information, such as his example of linking to the current price of gold.

So, should the iPad be seen as a consumption device? Or, are their unique opportunities to use this as a tool for the creation of knowledge? Should the iPad (of 2010) be explored with the knowledge that it is the first generation of a device of its type? Should we acknowledge the iPad as a learning experience in its’ own right and identify means to improve functionality and learning opportunities?

What do you think? What can you contribute? Let’s learn together.

Exploring the iPad for use in Higher Education

Haiku and Digital Storytelling

Haiku and Digital Storytelling

Image by Frida Eyjolfs

Yesterday, Narrative Magazine invited submissions to the second annual Haiku contest for a poem incorporating the theme of the fall season. ( This 5-7-5-syllable form of writing once again tugged at me to visualize

Waterfowl swimming

through gray rocks and rising fog

rise in autumn flight.

Today, the muse continues to dance and I wrote “Autumn Morning”:

Clear blue autumn sky:
Light shining through golden trees
Illuminates me.

The form of Haiku causes me to visualize what I’m trying to convey and takes me to a place of deep reflection; familiar and hallowed ground to one who is engaged in the power digital storytelling. Like Haiku poetry, my digital stories (example) are an attempt to explore my own personal narrative, ask myself truthful and sometimes painful questions in hope that the process will reveal deeper meaning to my own experiences. Both Haiku and digital storytelling require deep reflection and both transform everyday writing into new forms; one might even argue, new languages.

Like Haiku poetry, digital storytelling is a distillation process. Both can use words to create mental pictures and convey story. However, digital storytelling is empowered by the language of images, sounds, transitions, timing and metaphor to convey meaning. It may in fact be approaching story from a 180 degree direction.

If there is a parallel in the reflective process of these two mediums, how can one inform the other? Can the 5-7-5 structure of Haiku be used to more elegantly distill digital stories? I know it is true that the selection, order and delivery of images can convey different meaning. I know that the practice of telling a story with the limitation of 5 images has been widely explored. I am however unfamiliar with any exploration of limiting stories to the use and delivery of images in the 5-7-5 format. This begs me to explore the notion. I am wise enough at this point in my life to realize that new ideas are very rare and I’m sure that others have already journeyed down this path.

I’m taking my first steps.

How to Embed a Screencast into a Blog

Today, I am preparing to participate as a guest lecturer in a class which is considering the use of screencasting in higher education. I will be reviewing examples of several screencasts and challenging the students to consider various uses of screencasting, advantages and disadvantages of screencasting and introducing them to Jing as a free tool which will enable them to create and distribute their own short screencasts. One of the demonstrations I will be providing is how to embed a screencast into a blog or other online location. Below is an example of the use of a screencast to talk about one why in which I use a Wiki.

Note: the original size of video below video was 1278 x 948. I simply edited the code to cut the size to 421 x 312, so it will display inside my blog. However, the contents of the screencast are not ledgible at this size, so the reader should click on the screencast and use the player tool at the bottom of the video to enlarge it to full screen size. Use the excape key to reduce back to the original posted size.