(this is a good blog to read- check it out!)
We lose a bit of perspective when we try and equate iOS devices to laptops and netbooks. iOS devices have taken novel technologies and have opened up one of the first genuinely new ways of interacting with a computer.
After reading various GUI Experts* critiques for years, I have been intrigued with the notion that people were tired of the Desktop/File System/Mouse/Icon ways of interacting with computers. REALLY? So what would this look like? What could be better? The iOS has answered that question for me (sometimes). Maybe not 'better' but at least "good different".
Although iOS doesn't completely change the way everything works (we still have icons and clipboard, etc.), it is a pretty radical departure that makes computing much lighter weight, generally lighter wait, and simpler. Furthermore, accelerometers, gyros, geolocation, multitouch surface, these are integrated and being integrated in ways that are refreshing, novel, and inspiring! Most of us would not have imagined the crazy things that could be done with these technologies if we were limited to a laptop or netbook form factor.
So I believe our students and educators deserve to have access to both experiences and I think that true technology literacy is developed by being aware of the strengths and appropriateness of a variety of tools.
*such as the late Jef Raskin, one of the creators of the original MacOS GUI says "shuttling between a keyboard and a mouse wastes too much time." http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jan2003/tc20030122_7027.htm
In fact, ROW #11 has been selected to be the subject of a documentary by Cameron & David Barrett and their production company, RIcom Creative. Their Executive Producer, Terry Sanders, a two-time Academy Award winning director/producer, will make "Harmony: The Story of Rock Our World."
So amongst the requests of the documentary makers, is the request for a more open/public view of the process- and Carol Anne has established a Ning community for planning and exchanging ideas. Within a few days of open registrations, she had a spammer join the Ning and begin to offer some Google™ - based marketing opportunity. Distracting at worse and harmless in the view of most – it did cause us to pause and rethink the open community model. What if it had been someone more offensive or harmful?
Mutual friend and digital education diva, Lucy Gray made the observation this summer at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute that personal learning community memberships should (usually) be managed. Lucy has established a number of Nings that are quite popular including the Global Education Collaborative, and she also had a problem with enterprising posers dropping in to the community for commercial interests outside of the Ning’s mission.
So if membership is closed, who is it closed to?
Now we have to pass judgement, set policy, and review each applicant to our community?
Although it may sound contrary to our desire for open dialog, it is one of those time-honored policies that are being reinterpreted in a new context. Not everyone one and every message is permitted access to our physical school’s campus.
Especially where students are concerned, we need to define our mission and regulate our participants based on that mission.
Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics - a global network of diverse communities, which is comprised of artists, scientists, developers and educators devoted to the advancement of the art and science of computer graphics and interactive techniques.
I had really enjoyed the last couple of meetings of SIGRAPH, a good friend is the chairman of the chapter, and he is also a Computer Science Lead at Kennedy Space Center. He manages the dozens of high speed, high resolution cameras that capture shuttle launches from every angle and helps analyze visual data at the Cape.
So he has a special treat for visiting Graphics Professionals that keynote at our meetings. They all get a behind the scenes tour of the Space Center. And we get a special treat of hearing from some pretty big names in the motion picture industry. And the some of the meetings are held at a very nice location at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's center.
Last year we heard from John Knoll, one of the original developers of Photoshop and currently at Lucas Films as a special effects director. He began his presentation with a video of an Apollo launch that was nothing short of phenomenal. Lots of detail, spectacular camera angles, nothing short of amazing...
Suddenly, I realized, according to the time frame of this historical event, this was all wrong. High definition video was not being shot... as the lunar landing module began it's descent to the moon's surface- THERE WERE NO CAMERAS shooting from all these strange angles!!!
Yep, the boy who was the son of an early space engineer, born beneath the shadow of rockets, had been duped!
Turns out that all of the footage was CGI (computer generated images). With a chapter straight out of the book When Geeks Play, Knoll explained that he was often frustrated with the lack of adherence to the laws of physics when creating films for Industrial Light and Magic. So his spare-time hobby was to use all accessible the historical telemetry, images, video, and other anecdotal information to create a high definition 3d rendered model of the remarkable event. From the mangrove trees surrounding the Merritt Island Wildlife refuge to the view of earth from space to the rocky terrain on the lunar landscape, it was all accurate to the available information and true to the history of the mission. Pretty amazing...
Another meeting last year gave us a chance to hear from Pixar's Rob Cook, Vice President of Research and Development. Cook's preso was quite interesting as well as it featured the creative process from idea conception to release using Finding Nemo as the example project. As a computer applications and video productions educator, this was a valuable example of developing an involved project.
Quite honestly, the most recent Focus on Technology was not quite as interesting as the previous ones I have attended. The first speaker was Florian Kainz, Computer Graphics Principal Engineer- Industrial Light & Magic who spoke about a wide spectrum graphics file format that he helped develop. This did provoke some consideration of the enormous amount of process that is done with captured images in the movie industry. Having as much raw information as possible to work with after the shoot was the key, but it did seem to go beyond most of the folks cared to know about the subject as he discussed the file format's details for over a forty minutes. The decision to make that file format open source was one of the memorable parts of the presentation.
Following Kainz, Kevin Tureski, Director of Engineering, Maya Alias Systems gave us a history of his company and the software development cycle of it's flagship product Maya (one of the premier 3d modeling programs used by the entertainment industry. Again this was quite interesting, but not quite as applicable to my career as an Educational Technologist.
In summary, I would certainly encourage my readers to look into the local chapter of user groups - they are great sources of inspiration and resources.