Slide2Learn

iBook about how we 'do work' in an post-PC, iPad world

Hi everyone - there comes a time when every iPad using educator needs to contribute back to the communities that have fostered them. I've certainly had a great time doing that with Slide2learn - and for me that time has also come in the form an iBook. Its the culmination of a few years of plugging away with mobile devices and thinking that gee, not only do these look and feel different to a traditional computer, they can also do much of what a PC can, and lots more beside.

I've also always struggled with just how does when do 'work' on a smaller screen with simpler interfaces and skill requirements? The answer that many similar educators (and Kate Maccoll was the first I heard talk about) have come up with is the idea of workflows that chain a series of apps together to produce the end product.

Here's some of what I've written - see if this makes sense from your experiences:

"So if the iPad is not a PC in the 1980-2010 vein, what is it? There’s a good reason why Steve Jobs chose to first demo the iPad while sitting on a lounge chair (see image at right). I myself am sitting on my couch re-watching Star Wars at 11:54pm on a device that still has 32% battery left despite being in use throughout the day by myself and my 5 year old.

This extra long battery then is one of the key factors that effect how work can be completed with an iPad, and set it apart from the need of PC’s to be tied to a more fixed location. 

Another is the simpler user interface that allows one to focus fully on each piece of work in turn. This means that instead of using a small number of powerful desktop programs that each do almost too many things as on a PC, a user employs a series of simpler apps that each do one thing well in a productive sequence. 

A third factor is the way files are managed. While a PC requires the user to firstly remember when to save files as well as where the files where stored and in what folder, iPad apps automatically save ones work within the app itself. 

Finally, the other key factor is the way touch and features like auto-sensing screen orientation create a unique experience while using the iPad (“it fits me”), something that makes it feel like the most personal of computers yet.

In listing what sets the iPad apart, I'm not suggesting that it is a replacement for all PCs, not yet. We still very much need those 'trucks' to deliver the computing backbone that the new era of mobile computers relies on. 

The iPad may evolve into a modular device with add-ons and docks once mobile chips catch desktop ones that can become both, but that idea also misses the point. It's different, not wrong. And to get the most out of it when completing work, we need to ‘think different’ about how we use it." 

 

Coming to grips with this is one thing - but adapting to it can be something else. That's where the idea of workflows comes in:

"Instead of thinking about doing 'work' as we do on a PC, lets instead take advantage of the unique characteristics of the iPad to do something different.

We’ve seen that these characteristics are the iPads long battery life, ‘fits to me’ personal nature, simpler interface, and ability to have users focus on one task at a time. When taken together, and matched with the experience of more than three years of iPad use, a new model of computing is emerging.

Across the web, and in the terminology of iPad users, this model is becoming known as 'workflows' - where a chain of apps is employed to link tasks together to create the required final piece of work."

One such example of a workflow is photography where on a PC users might use 1 or 2 programs. On an iPad one could use 5-6 apps in a seamless flow that is often faster and more powerful. So using a chain of apps like Camera - Snapseed - WowFX - Afterlight - Over - you can go from this:

to this:

Anyway, here is the official description and link - you'll see its $1.99 - thats only really to cover the time thats gone into it - but its free if you're ever in my corner of the world and come visit OR you can make it to Slide2learn.net 2014 in Sydney :) Hope it may prove useful.

Book Description:

“The iPad is not a PC. As obvious as that sounds, if the only computer you’ve ever used was mainly a box on a desk, or ran a desktop operating system with a physical keyboard attached, its only natural that the ways you attempt to use a new device will be dictated by the old paradigm. Instead of just sticking with such an approach, this book looks at the different ways that the PC and iPad have been designed to work, and then detail new ways that the iPad can be used for workflows, not just work“.

Download for iPad via the iBookstore or through iTunes on the desktop HERE.

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