Since the beginning of SIF, I’ve been on the Tobacco Ebook project. I have learned iBooks Author layout and design techniques, which has completely reoriented my thinking about how design works, and increased my attention to detail by… a lot.
This week, I got moved from layout and table building within iBooks Author to recreating charts in a program called Tableau. Tableau can create really clean-looking, beautiful line graphs, bar graphs, and many other types of graphs and charts, like pie charts :). But it’s not easy. First, the data in the spreadsheets the book writers provided us with must be formatted in a way that Tableau ‘likes,’ which is a feat all on its own. If the data isn’t formatted properly, nothing works. Then, the chart has so many formatting options, its enough to make any beginner’s head spin.
Here are two screen shots of graphs I’ve been working with that I can’t seem to get to combine – one line graph and one bar graph:
The good news is that once I figure out how to make the graphs function the way I like, they are actually pretty easy to make and turn out well. Thankfully, Will knows how to do most of it and is helping me figure out the trickier aspects. Phew!
In case you didn’t hear, this past Tuesday was the National Day on Writing. And thanks to a bunch of people in the English Department, the Linguistics department, and some other organizations (I think there was a sorority involved somewhere), it went off really well.
I’ve talked before about the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives, and the project I’ve been working on to find an easy, low amount of hardware way to record using iPad. I blogged a little about it a few weeks ago, and it turns out that the simplest result was the best result.
Here is a picture of the ultimate set up we decided to go with:
As you can see, it is very minimal in its hardware involvement.
We ended up investing in the adapter I mentioned in an earlier entry, which I linked above. The adapter is called the iPad Camera Connector and runs about $30. The snowball you can see in the picture plugs right into the adapter and then it just works. It took me a while to figure out that it needs no other software or authorization on the part of the iPad user – it simply plugs in and works with all the already installed iPad software.
We were at our National Day on Writing table from 10AM until just before 2PM and managed to collect 20 narratives ranging from ‘the first books I read’ to ‘When I learned to read music’ – each one was interesting and wonderful.
Here is a picture of Michael Harker explaining the paperwork to a student who gave a narrative:
In all, the day was a big success – we even found we could upload the videos into the DALN system right from the iPad.
I’m pretty happy with how this project is turning out. I learned a lot about iPad interface and hardware (adapters) and a lot about the first things to try. Ooh – and that simplicity is pretty much the best thing ever.
So – in the interest of being as hip as my fellow SIF bloggers, I leave you with a bit of inspiration – not a music video – but drawing I did on a tablecloth and a restaurant. Enjoy:
In the last 7 or so weeks as a SIF, I have learned more than I ever imagined I would.
A few weeks ago, I decided to write an article featuring the SIF program. In a stroke of benevolence, Brennan gave me permission to spend some of my hours developing the article. So I set to work – basing the article on a footnote I harvested from Emile Durkheim’s sociologically ground breaking book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life written in 1912:
“A tool is material accumulated capital.”
When I read that note, I knew I was going to use it for something – but I wasn’t sure what – until I began to read Writing Teachers Writing Software by rhetoric and composition scholar Paul LeBlanc.
The article I wrote went live this morning at 3am on Hybrid Pedagogy. Here is the link:
This morning the Tools Wiki team had a meeting with Brennan Collins to discuss our design research for the project. I must say, we came up with some pretty great stuff. Mostly, I’m impressed with the amazing ideas my team has – Go Team!
Ultimately, we decided to use edublogs because of the features the different themes afford us. We each chose a different theme and 3 tools to feature and we set to work playing with the sites. Below are links to the 3 pages we built – all experimenting with things that edublogs can do:
As you can see, each has a distinct look and feel and even the menus act differently, which is our biggest struggle. We have decided to go with Roxanne’s theme, which is called ‘fifteen’ and she is going to play with the menu functionality to see what she can get the theme to do.
Please check back for updates on the tools wiki progress.
Over the last few weeks, I have been playing with the iPad 2 for my Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives project I’m involved with through the English department. The goal is to find an innovative way to record video using the iPad. My focus has mostly been on sound, as I attempt to get to know the iPad and its foreign (to me) software.
Last week, I played with a microphone called a snowball, which looks like this:
taken from amazon.com
The snowball is a pretty high quality microphone, which I have used to record videos in a booth for the American Literature Videos Project. The Snowball plugs right into a computer through a USB port, which is super cool because it doesn’t even need a separate power source. The unfortunate part is that the iPad does not have a USB port. So I need this adapter:
taken from http://bluemic.com/blog/2011/03/snowballonipad/
And we don’t have any at the Exchange. And the Digital Aquarium doesn’t have any either. And no one I know with an iPad has one, with the exception of a friend I have who works a LOT with macs – in Flagstaff, Arizona.
And so I went back to the drawing board and decided to start from the beginning. I realized I really don’t know what a direct video using only the iPad sounds/looks like. I also discovered, during this journey, that the iPad has an app that allows the user to upload right to youtube, and even to edit right in the application.
Tuesday, I went to the Atlanta Collaborative Learning community Digital Pedagogy meetup, and I recorded some interviews with the presenters: one of those is Brennan Collins – so for your viewing pleasure, I give you the video I recorded with what I am referring to as “the naked iPad” (no external hardware helping out) – and with the youtube editing software/uploader: