One of the things I’ve been looking into lately has been mobile content creation. With the rise of the tablet, I’m finding k12 and adult students are eager for opportunities to learn just-in-time with their device of choice. From an instructional design perspective, this means that to deliver to any & all devices, you’ve got to be looking towards HTML5.
My developer colleagues at the University of Akron’s Center for Literacy cringe every time we talk about HTML5 and designing apps for iOS and Android. To them, HTML5 is a giant step backwards in terms of the complexity and richness of web apps that could be developed with other tools (RIP Flash).
They feel that in the HTML5 arena, animations are stripped down and much less interactivity is available. They are mostly right here. HTML5 has limited the types of instructional interactions we can offer all ages of students in the online environment. As we begin to design web-based user experiences in HTML5, we are essentially creating a duel interface that can be run through a desktop or laptop browser AND a mobile browser. Until mobile devices have processors equal to their desktop/laptop brothers, we’ll never be able to offer as rich of a learning environment on any type of mobile device, yet we are still going to develop custom digital content for mobile…
So what can the average educator do?
Not being a real coder, I’ve been looking for a WYSIWYG type of UI to use to create my own custom “apps.” In my IDEAL scenario, students would be able to download and install the apps I create on their iOS or Android tablets & smartphones. The apps would be able to include text, images, audio, video and interactive games/puzzles. It would also be great if they could include some sort of assessment features so I could get student data back for review. Remember, I said IDEAL:)
Not surprisingly, I haven’t found that IDEAL digital author tool just yet.
However, I have come across a number of development tools that look promising. I’m still not decided on the end format that I want to use to deliver custom created digital content. Part of me is saying some type of ePub, while the other part is telling me stand alone apps are the way to go. In any event, I’m starting to explore what’s out there and see what I can come up with. The plan is to try out a number of applications, desktop, web-based and iPad apps, using the same “legacy” curriculum unit. I’ll build whatever type of digital content I can and see how they compare.
To get started, I have been using a second grade Rocks & Fossils unit that my wife and a colleague originally developed in 2005. It contains a collection of resources ranging from a section of a science textbook, videos, digital photos and a couple PPT presentations. I have all the various source files stored on my Dropbox account and in my iTunes/iPhoto albums so I can access them as needed across devices.
Here’s a list of some of the applications I hope to try to develop content with. Just a disclaimer, I haven’t had the opportunity to try them all myself, so I’m in no way recommending one over another. Check back on Raised Digital as I hope to add posts about each of the applications and share my digital content creations.
Book Creator for iPad – $7.49
The simple way to create beautiful books on your iPad. Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to Apple’s iBookstore.
eBook Creator – $3.99
‘eBook Creator’ is the simplest and easiest ebook creation application. Its interface is designed for all ages and skill levels so that young kids are able to make ebooks using the app.
You can make good quality ebooks using the functions such as image brightness and contrast adjustment, voice recording, background musics, etc.
Creative Book Builder – $3.99
Creative Book Builder enables everyone to create, edit and publish ebooks in minutes. Creative Book Builder can import document from Google Docs and parse HTML output into chapter. Create unlimited number of chapters add title, description, images, videos, audio recording, music, links, and lists. CBB lets you sort your content’s ordering within a chapter and customize your cover image.
Touch App Creator – $3.99
TouchAppCreator enables everyone to create touch-optimized, and content-centric mobile web apps for both iPhone and iPad in a few minutes on the go. No sign up is required. You can edit your app ONCE and generated app supports both iPhone and iPad automatically.
TouchAppCreator provides the easiest way to publish your apps to Dropbox (for public access). You can also host your apps in your own web hosting services and upload web apps via FTP. People can add your apps to their home screen easily by using Safari’s Add to Home Screen function.
Scribble Press – Free
Imagine. Create. Publish. Scribble Press for iPad is a book creation platform that allows kids to imagine, create and share their own stories with great drawing and writing tools.
Scribble Press for iPad makes it easy to create an ebook – either write your own or use one of over 50 story templates. How about “My Babysitter is a Zombie” or “The Dog Ate my Homework”? From serious to seriously fun, you can make a book about any topic and instantly publish to the gallery or share with friends anywhere in the world.
Once you’re done, you can upload your book to the Scribble Press server and share it via Facebook, Twitter or email, or add your story to the Scribble Press gallery of stories from around the world.
Tumult Hype – $29.99
Using Tumult Hype, you can create beautiful HTML5 web content. Animations and interactive content made with Tumult Hype works on desktops, smartphones and iPads. No coding required.
Ext Designer – $299.00
Ext Designer is a desktop application that helps you create interfaces faster than ever in an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop environment.
Adobe® Edge – In Development – Trial only
Edge is an intuitive tool for creating motion content that runs beautifully on mobile devices and desktop browsers. It features an easy to use interface, with a properties-based timeline for impeccable accuracy and control. Create new compositions, import and animate existing web graphics, or add motion to existing HTML files without compromising integrity.