Jonathan Nalder @jnxyz Teacher, Slide2learn co-founder, SwipEd, jnxyztraining, mLearning Project Officer
Jonathan is a teacher who discovered how mobile devices can redefine learning with his own students who has gone on to become an awarded Mobile Learning Planner and Trainer for the Queensland Education Department, and Apple Distinguished Educator, a co-founder of the Slide2learn.net community, an in-demand speaker and presenter in Australia as well as overseas, and a passionate advocate for how technology can level the education playing field for everyone.
I’ve given this kind of a provocative title in a way, and I hope there is some people in the room going, ‘well no it actually is a PC’, or ‘a PC’s better’ or maybe you’re a user of windows surface tablets or android tablets and you’ve got a completely different perspective on what a tablet is, I hope there’s some of those people in the room?
You may be a fan of Starwars as well and you’ve got to think of it as a certain point of view in what I’m presenting today in terms of the iPad being the ideal tablet. For me, the iPad is not a PC, it’s very much a different device. I’ve seen a lot of confusion in schools and businesses etc who come to the iPad with a mindset of, and tablets in general with a mindset of ‘well I know how to use a PC, I’ve been using it for, you know, ten, twenty years or whatever. Oh, the iPad can’t do this and this tablet can’t do this and I sort of say wrong perspective. Like I said, you might have a different perspective. Things are different depending on your point of view, if you’re familiar with The Empire Strikes Back.
So, that’s sort of some of my premise. So, there’s two kind of points that I wanted to share with you today and there is actually a little ebook that I’ve put together on this. The first one is, how the iPad is different, and again, this is in my, my opinion and what I’ve seen in schools and businesses and then give you a bit of a taste for how you can do work with an iPad and that applies in some ways to other tablets as well and it revolves around this idea of work flows for apps.
Okay, so we’re really talking about this post PC kind of world and I’m certainly not talking about PCs being replaced by these devices at all. You may be familiar with Steve Jobs analogy of PCs being the trucks these days. In the early days of automobiles, pretty much everything was kind of like a truck and you know, obviously we got past that stage with automobiles and he related that very much to computing as well, with these (iPAD raised to audience) being much more personalized kind of things.
The interesting thing is that PCs, you know PC stands for personal computer and sometimes it’s hard for us, and you know, I’m certainly not old enough to have any kind of memory but I’ve read about it. Your room sized, kind of main frame computers at the time, maybe before the eighties, when that was a computer, certainly was not a personal computer. Once microchips got small enough that you personally could actually buy one of these boxes and do some spread sheeting or do some word processing, those were the killer apps of that day, hence the personal computer was born. So it’s kind of funny to talk about this (indicates iPad) being an even more personal personal computer, I think the post PC term kind of works fairly well in terms of that.
There’s just some distinguishing features I guess, of a PC…again, you may have a slightly different idea but I’ll show you a chart of mine
Yep, so there’s a couple of ways of sort of describing, and for me a continuum works much better in talking about this subject rather than a sort of split black and white it is or it isn’t. Obviously, I’ve got my very technical terms here, the ‘full computer-ness’, hopefully that’s not technical for this crowd. We’re really talking about the advantages of those trucks, devices that have a lot more storage, a lot more processing power, we’re still definitely going to need those around. At the other end of the scale, you have much tinier, kind of devices and one of the real, sort of differentiations I guess is, you know something like a digital voice recorder that, yes it’s a digital tool, it can really only do one thing, as opposed to multiple things. So that’s another thing that I haven’t put on the chart here in terms of that continuum. Obviously you can see where I’ve put the iPad and tablets and I really also feel that there’s been a bit of a journey there. Even a couple of years ago when I first made this chart, the iPad, just through software updates, etc, etc is probably moving up that scale a bit.
There’s a few little other things as well. Another way to simplify it is to say that these kind of PCs here, they’re very much, as far as location, you know they’re stuck in one spot and even if you have a laptop, after 3, 4, 5 whatever hours you’ve got to plug in and you’re kind of restricted by that in terms of mobility. The other thing is, when you’re using a PC or a laptop, again this is my observation, you might have something different, but you tend to use in my experience maybe 3 or 4 programs and that’s pretty much it. Those programs, you know, something like Word, or even if you’re using something like Photoshop for image editing, you can do a whole lot of things with that one piece of software, more you know, what we call power software, maybe.
Probably the third thing that is a bit of a differentiation there is the way that files are stored. So you’re using a PC or laptop, you’ve got your folder structures, you have to navigate through, you have to remember where you saved that file in that folder. Certainly search on, you know laptop and desktop operating systems has got a lot better to help us find those files. But you know, even if you’re anything like me it still can be a bit crazy sometimes to think where did I, and did I save that file in time even, or have I lost my work but that’s another feature of more, your sort of PC sort of stuff.
Comparing that to the iPAD, now starting to talk a little bit about how is the iPad not a PC, how is it different and after that we’ll talk about the work flows idea. But for me, the iPad is very much different, it’s not tied to that desk. It’s got, you know, this kind of mobility. Later on, I might even test it and see if I can go outside and take a picture, ‘cause of that, the wireless connectivity here we’re using here for the display. But even just to be able to carry, uh carry it round in your arm when you’re lecturing, educating etc, the battery life being ten hours, suddenly a whole lot of possibilities open up compared to the PC or even the laptop. Okay, it’s also much more simple in terms of the interface, so rather than those 3 or 4 apps that can do heaps of stuff, you tend to be using apps that can do maybe one or two things really well. And that’s an important difference to note. As I said, some people where you come to the tablets or the iPad and you expect it to be able to do what a PC could do, you load even a really good app, like Pages, or keynote etc which can do increasingly more things, but still, more in that bracket of two or three things really well. ‘Cuz the other thing that differentiates the iPad a bit is in the file system, and again this is one of the things that can be the biggest frustrations when you first make a move to tablets and especially the iPad, is ‘where’s my files?’ There is no central file system where you can go and look into the files etc and you could kind of see that as a disadvantage. The way it’s been designed though is that everything autosaves for you, so instantly you’re not even having to remember, oh did I save it or not, have I lost some work etc. And instead of it being saved separately from the program into folders, they’re saved on a program by program basis, and that again is sort of a change we have to get our heads around. Anyway, so that’s a little bit of a comparison about how they differ.
So, now I want to talk to you guys a little more about actual work flows. So, this is my solution for work flows. I should say, it’s not really my solution, there’s a bunch of educators, as I said, some of them in the slide to learn community and elsewhere around the world who have cottoned on to this idea. And I think workflows is a nice word for it, there are some terms that people use. This idea of, basically, chaining together a series of apps, so rather than using one piece of software on your laptop or PC, that, like I said can do a whole bunch of stuff, sort of more power software. On the iPad, you really need to think about I’ll be doing one thing in this app, then I’ll open in the next app, open in the next one, and do a little series there, until you actually end up with your finished product. It may sound like it’s a long process, but I’ve actually found that a lot of the time and it’s partly just the simplicity of the interface, being able to use your finger, and there’s one I want to show you guys in a minute which is based around photo editing, and you can actually do this process probably far faster than if you could if you were using, you know a program like Photoshop that can cost hundreds of dollars. Instead once you’ve got, got an iPad you can spend only just a few dollars and get the apps that you need.
There was a time for when probably most of us for our general work, educating or business or wherever; we didn’t touch images very much. There might have been some more specialist photographers, or graphics people on the team, etc, who are involved in touching up or making images for flyers and newsletters, that sort of thing.
But I would argue that today it’s probably a pretty common skill that most of us need to use. Whether it’s for doing presentations or whether it’s for preparing blog images, doing a header for a blog post, that kind of thing. So the ability to just quickly use the iPad and step through and creating some sort of standout images is probably a much more common skill than it once was.
So obviously you’ve got to start with some kind of interesting image, and of course we always suggest maybe using the grid lines on the camera app, turning those on so you can actually line up some of the things in your frame. This one is actually, I don’t know how you guys feel, but probably is a boring image at the moment. Yeah there’s a little bit of a sunset there and some clouds. You can see the workflow down the side here that I’m actually suggesting.
Okay so obviously you want to take it with your camera app. There’s a range of camera apps. I tend to just use the standard camera app, this is on your iPhone or iPad or whatever device you’re using. I tend to just take it with the standard camera app and then start to move through a workflow like this. So, here’s our simple one. We’ve taken the image, what can we do with this one now?.. So just by using a free app called Snap Seed we can start to see just by applying what’s called a Drama Filter. And as I say Snap Seed is fantastic because it’s free. And all you have to do is just swipe your finger to make these kinds of adjustments and changes. So already we’re getting a bit more contrast and colour. That took all of 20 seconds to load the photo into Snap Seed, apply a filter and save it. Starting to look a bit more interesting now.
If we move onto an effects app like Wow Effects, as an example, you can probably spot what’s changed there. A little bit more of a filter. We’ve kind of brought out some of the colour a bit more, but just added that little bird there. And Wow Effects is an app which lets you add all kinds of things. We could have added a light, we could have added clouds, all kinds of things, but I just chose to add that one little bird. Just for a bit of added drama I guess, as we of bring out the storm as contrasted with the setting sun. Starting to get a bit of narrative for our image now. And that’s just something you can play around with with Wow Effects all the range of little add-ins that you can do. Just to start to support what you’re wanting your image to tell to your audience.
Just a little bit more of a dramatic filter there. And sometimes you might wanna just go straight to Instagram, if you’re an Instagram user and you use some of those stock filters. They’re become a quite boring now, because they’ve been over used so much by people. So I recommend another app called Afterlight which gives you a lot more control filter options and various borders etc, just to pull out the bits and pieces that you would really like.
And then finally and especially if you wanting this to be as a I said a title image for a blog post etc, you might want to pop it into an app like Over which lets you use a whole range of different fonts and texts and you can easily apply that over the top of your image. This idea of freedom and hope in the wings of the storm, all that kind of stuff.
So we’ve kind built up like I said a bit of a Narrative. Brought the colour and the contrast out a lot more. And this is a process that really would only take you a couple of minutes possibly, once you were used to using those apps. I think Over is a couple of dollars. Afterlight, Wow Effects, they’re all a couple of dollars. And Snap Seed as I said is free. And for a full photo editing suite that’s not a bad price. As I said, compare it to doing the same kind of process on a PC, and traditionally the kind of expense and software that you’d had to have, is quite different.
And with images and photography, moving from one App to the other is very simple. If you’ve used an iPad, iPhone, or even Android has a gallery. On the iPhone/iPad you have the Camera Roll. It’s inside the photos App. And every one of these, obviously the camera saves to the Camera Roll. When I open that image in Snap Seed, I save it back to the camera roll. In Wow Effects, I open that image from the camera roll, save it back there. So each time you just open it from the camera roll and saving it back there. And part of the beauty of that is that every stage is also preserved- every stage of my edits. And then if I get to right down the end here and decide actually no I don’t like what I did in Snap Seed, I can go back to the original one because all the different versions will be saved in the camera roll. So that’s actually an advantage of doing things this way.
With other files it’s a little bit different. And Apple has a thing called Open In. So if you’re working with work like Text files, and various other files. Video is saved in camera roll as well, but other files you’ll need to use what’s called the Open In.
I’ll quickly show you a couple of what I call single workflows. So if you’re working with audio, I’d recommend Audiobus as an app for you to use. It actually has a built-in workflow process where you can chain a few apps together. You could be working in one app, have a beat going, switch to another app, keep that beat going, but play some piano over the top, and Audiobus will keep all those going in the background. You can then feed it down through some other apps and into Garageband, which is probably the most capable I guess, in terms of bringing all those different sounds together. So that’s definitely a workflow for audio. You can use other apps as well and put them together in Twitsted Wave which is an audio editor and push it to Garageband that way as well. So you can do some stuff in Audiobus and then in other apps outside that and pull them together there.
So that’s kind of another single workflow. Another one we might talk about is sharing files. This is where you can see us talking about this idea of using the ‘Open In Dialogue’. For this we’re talking about something pretty simple you’ve created something already you’ve typed something up, you’ve taken an image, you’ve made some audio. From those apps you can actually store them on your iPad and there’s one that I recommend called ‘Documents’. It’s a free app which is always nice, and Documents will plug into, let you store your files locally on your iPad. It’ll also plug into Dropbox, Google Drive, Sky Drive and the various other cloud services as well. So, if you’re like me and you use several of those services, Documents is a great one for bringing all that together. And I might of created one of those files like I said I can then open it into Documents and store it there. So Documents is in a way bridges that gap back to the PC a little bit by giving you a central kind of storage kind of place. And from there of course you can open it into share it through other places. Once you’ve got it in Documents or wherever you want to store it, you can then share it. So that’s sort of a single workflow in terms of storing and then sharing your files.
But let’s move over to talking about Multitask Workflow now. Instead of those Single Workflows, once you’ve mastered that idea of ok for our photos we’re going to chain these few things together and end up with our final product, it might be that there’s actually a higher project that you want to work on. Maybe you want a series of images and text and video packaged together for publishing. And that’s what I tend to call this multi-workflow idea. So for text there’s a workflow you might move through. You might have your notes program or whatever you’re typing in open, you might then switch to safari do some research copy some texts etc. from there. Once you’re kind of happy with your rough draft you might put it in something like Pages where you can type set it a lot better and set it up the way that you want it and then you might export it as a PDF which can then go into something like the Adobe Reader App. So that’s sort of a workflow so you’ve built up some text in whatever form that you want. You might then also want to do up the image workflow, some images to go with your project that you’re making. So you could use that image workflow that we talked about. There’s the audio that we talked about.
Another one we didn’t go through was video. Very much in the same way as you can go through with images, you can do a very similar thing with video. Take your video with your camera. Video Grade is a great app for the video. You may want to tone down some of the colours or brighten some areas and it’s quite a professional level app for doing that kind of stuff. If you then decide you’re wanting a bit more of a narrative or a feel to it ‘8mm’ or other apps like it will put filters. You know, if you decide you want it to be like a 1920’s old time black and white you can do that. Or kind of a 70’s faded colour. You’ve got all these choices with how you want your film to look. You might be happy with it there or you might even go into an App like Explain Everything which then lets you talk over the top, write and draw on the screen while all the stuff that’s in there is playing and then export it all as a video.
And once you’ve done those single workflows, then it’s time to package it all together and this is where it gets really interesting – “how can I package all those bits together purely on my iPad using this workflow idea?” Well a presentation is a great way to fit all those things together and Keynote, which has recently been updated with some new tools, is one I’d recommend for that presentation but there are other apps as well.
You might want to create an eBook so your photos, your video, your text are all in an eBook which you can then export to iBooks or somewhere else so you’ve got that nice page turning and people still being able to experience all your videos together in that eBook form.
Also you can open-in these files or use the + button which is a universal button in iOS for adding your photos or your other things in and embed them in Book Creator. You might want your final package purely as a video so you might use an app like iMovie where you can add titles over the top and you can add music. You can add extra narration that sort of thing as well. So there’s a few different ways you can think about once you’ve mastered these single workflows, you can think about now packaging them all together at the end there.
There’s also some totally new ways almost of putting this stuff together so presentations yeah we’re pretty used to that. Video files, yeah we’re kind of used to that, but as I said the iPad is becoming a platform that can do things that the PC could never really do in that zone and Flow Board is an app which is kind of part webpage, part presentation, part slide show gallery in the way that it combines all this different stuff. And all of it can be done again on the iPad, fairly simply and easily just dragging with your finger all these different elements that you’ve created with the other workflows so it’s definitely one that I’d recommend.
Ok so really it’s getting the idea for your project or your work, “oh ok I’ve got this series of apps and how I could put them together to be more productive with the iPad”. Get more out of it in that turn and just take advantage of how it is different from the PC, I guess changing that mindset, was really the message that I wanted to share with you guys today.
Thank you for that, cheers.