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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Connecting the Dots - finally!

As you already know from past entries (sorry, Kelly - I know I have not written enough), I am a slow learner.  However, I've learned a new patience from my collaboration with my iPad, and hope I can clearly describe the consequent learning outcomes this slow diligent pursuit has rendered...

As you also know, I have struggled with the idea of a digital medium 'replacing' the tactile ones that I naturally use and teach my students to employ as well.  The iPad alone, in retrospect, cannot be a soloist for me in that pursuit.  But, since the iPad in Education's offer to me two semesters ago of this tool, I have also acquired a large Sony digital monitor in my classroom studio (along with an Apple TV to allow for iPad/monitor interaction) and a Jot Pro stylus (yes, Lydia, I just sprang for one in hopes that I'd find it more precise than my less spendy Targus model).  After a time-consuming exploration of many apps already mentioned in earlier postings, I was finally able to employ SketchBook Pro to do what I envisioned when I first made my iPad proposal:

In 'real time', I was able to demonstrate a simple drawing process a 'layered' approach to sketching ( the first part of a project in my THEATRE GRAPHICS course) to 'break the ice' of their fears over drawing.  See the results below:
"Crumpled Dollar Bill"
I was as nervous about this digital demo as they were about putting pencil to paper, so we all broke that ice together!  I also got them to understand - without huddling around my sketchpad (or in this case, my iPad - that making 'marks on the page' is not as permanent or perfect an endeavor as they had always feared...

I am also proud to say that the journey to this simple demo, however arduous and complex, was worth it.  Along the way, I've learned SO much unrelated or collateral technique and technology that I could not have initiated independently.  For me, the iPad has been my motivator into a whole new potential for 'collaborative' technologies in both my field and my classroom.

On a side note, I am empathetic with Lydia's frustration over the iPad's sensitivity to propping a hand on the surface in order to draw.  Some apps (I regret I can't find them to mention at this writing) anticipate this and allow for a partially sensitive screen, but I - like her - have to 'be careful' when using GoodReader for markups.  I still prefer the precision of the Jot Pro stylus - for me, the investment was worth it.

Like Stepan, I have also found this portable tool an amazing convenience!  Visual research is so much more compelling on a back-lit screen.  With the aid of Dropbox, I was able recently to attend a design meeting at Portland Center Stage and could in moments access not just my collection, but also that of other collaborators as we discussed final choices.  The reduction of color prints alone validates the 'replacement of paper' (and color cartridges!) in my design process.  Thanks to this app AND this tool, I can now invite students to collect, share - and now present in a large format - all the research they'll depend on in future projects.

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