Sunday, December 12, 2010

Producing content for IOS devices

As promised, the stuff with PowerPoint was actually going somewhere and here it is. I really wanted to look at authoring content for IOS devices and how to get that content out to the devices. Now, of course I could just write an app or two however, there are a couple of caveats to this. (a) I can't actually code in Cocoa. (b) Even if I could code in Cocoa, I haven't really got the time to write apps (c) I wanted to use tools that either educators where familiar with or where similar to tools they may already use. I am equally useless at HTML so it kind of precluded me hand coding a site as well. I also wanted to try and avoid expensive software and solutions that would make content inaccessible to IOS device (Flash for example). I also wanted to look at ways of delivering content that was more in keeping with that way we use IOS devices (hence wanting to make presentations that where a little interactive).

I get increasingly frustrated with teachers who produce worksheets that are just instructions and put them onto the web/VLE/Intranet as Word Documents when a PDF would be better (opens up in a browser rather than a viewer that loses the formatting or worse, needs to be downloaded) or presentations that are linear, instructional and again need downloading. We need to really think about what we are producing documents for and how we interact with them! Anyway, rant over.

I have already looked at producing podcasts/sound recordings and how these could be delivered (using Soundcloud) and thought it would be a nice idea too look at using PowerPoint as this is a tool that most educators are familiar with. Now, I was less interested in doing this on an IOS device as being able to access the finished content on an IOS device so I make no apologies for using PowerPoint (2008, Mac version and 2010 Windows version) to produce my initial presentations.

So, here's what I did:

1. Produce basic layout of presentation in PowerPoint (Master slides and any text).

2. Produce any additional graphics (such as the ring binder graphic) as a PNG.

3. Test out PNG's to make sure it has a transparent background.

4. Load up PowerPoint and graphics to Zoho Show.

5. Sort out and formatting errors, add graphics and finish of presentation in Zoho.

6. Add hyperlinks to slides in Zoho (where possible on Master Slide).

7. Check links are set to open in same frame!

8. Test presentation in Zoho to make sure it works as expected.

9. Remember to publish presentation in Zoho.

10. Generate embed code.

11. Copy and past embed code into blog post.

12. Recheck that everything works as expected.

13. Sit back with smug look on face and await criticism!

I like the idea that students could go to a web page (or page on a VLE), view a PDF (that opens in a new window?), interact with a presentation (without having to download it, maybe view an embedded video, contribute to a forum, fill in an assessment (via a Google form?) all from a single page. You could even e-mail the link to them prior to the lesson if you don't use a VLE. As I said earlier, we need to think about the purpose of the content and how we want students to access it and interact with it. I feel we are still stuck in a previous age when it comes to using ICT in schools.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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