Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thinking Ahead

There's no denying that everything ages.  Some philosophers would exempt God but not computers and people, two items with which I am very intimate.  People are much more durable than computers whose life expectance is around five years.  I'm already in my seventieth year far beyond that five-year mark.  Recently I claimed to feel like 35 but more recently I will claim 39 and that claim getting harder and harder to support.

The spring term at Western is a week away from completion, the same day of graduation.  I have only two more meetings with students.  Currently I am scheduled to teach only one course next fall and I'm planning to not teach the winter term.  Spring term a year from now is completely up in the air.  I'm gradually moving into not teaching or as some call it, retirement.  There's an implication with that transition that I'm getting old and I'm not ready yet, so I need to redirect to a youthful exciting activity for the future.

One activity during these upcoming free days will be to plow through the piles that accumulated waiting for the day when there was time to tackle them.  Another is to continue volunteering as we have in the past and add new volunteer opportunities.  Certainly I need to keep in the agenda routine and regular contact with the world of technology so as to not get left behind.

Thursday evening was the last class of the CSE610 Computers in Education class.  Everyone was there which is a positive stroke in itself, but again they behaved as if they were interested and eager to learn.  The topic were Google Apps, what's available, how they interact and their advantages and limitations; navigation using hyperlinking by reviewing several website authoring sites and creating a website modeled after the portfolios that were presented the evening before.  Several actually created websites as if they could be the beginning of their portfolios. A long week of trying to design this evening of class culminated  in a meaningful and exciting evening which included the traditional end-of-term brownies.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Remember the future with iMovie on an iPad

I still remember the day we introduced the iPod Touch to our classes at WOU.  During a brief faculty preview straining to see the tiny screen and get my "what seemed like oversized" fingers to find the letters of the keypad, I remarked, "When will they make one of these so that older folks can see them?"  That was just a little over year before the iPad.

The iPad was good but Apple and the tablet world decided that an iPad was a little too big so there came the Mini iPad.  Now there's rumors of the Maxi iPad.  I'll bet it's bigger.

Last week I did a "command performance" teaching iMovie, not on the desktops in the classroom like I've done for years, but on the iPad, which I have never done.  It was a delight despite the fact my first reaction was that it was very watered down; no green screen, no fine tuning of color.  After working with iMovie on iPad and having 20 students do the same, my reaction is much more in favor especially for younger students such as those in K-12.

A convenience is that you can take the video and stills directly with the iPad.  An inconvenience is that it's more challenging and sometimes inconsistent gathering videos and pictures from other sources.  It's a typical Apple philosophy: make it friendly, make it compact and don't sweat the small stuff like interfacing with other complex devices.

Most actions are intuitive, well, that is after you get the hang of it.  Click on the handful of standard icons, click and drag clips and images from one place to another, touch and hold in some cases like when rearranging clips in the project.  Touch clips and drag corners to shorten or lengthen chips, swipe your finger through a clip to split it or free a portion.

The younger I pretended to be, the more fun I had, especially with the trailers, which essentially give one a story board where one only need to personalize a little text and add my clips or stills which I can quickly gather with the same iPad.  Saving is automatic but getting it to a more universal format annoyed me as I'm not a fan of youtube, facebook or iTunes.  They work and with a bit more energy I can get them to be useful in a PowerPoint or webpage.

Now if only I had an iPad with iMovie.  And the open mind of a third-grader.