Langwitches readers know that I LOVE my iPad! What I like most about it, that it constantly changes. It is never the same iPad than the day before… a new app was added… an old app was updated… something I could not do yesterday is suddenly possible today… my iPad is constantly growing and evolving.
When you google the term “iPad fluency”, the top search results return nothing but links to apps that promote fluency in reading. I am talking about the different kind of fluency though.
One of my favorite metaphors is the one comparing being able to speak multiple languages to the ability of communicating in the 21st century. Read an older post of mine Skilled? Literate? Fluent? which expresses my thoughts on the differences between these three terms, the connection and process to move easily between these stages with the goal of becoming fluent.
I have similar feelings when working with the iPad.
Let’s look at the definitions of
- possessing or demonstrating accomplishment, skill, or special training (from Free Dictionary)
- To be literate means to have knowledge or competence (from 21st Century Fluency Project)
- To have to think about what you are going to do next (from Ian Jukes)
- To be fluent is to demonstrate mastery and to do so unconsciously and smoothly (from 21st Century Fluency Project)
- Are unconscious skills, you just know what to do next (from Ian Jukes)
As I first held the iPad in my hands and started “playing”, I was out to become SKILLED at using it. I wanted to:
- know how to take screenshots
- be able to write on it in my handwriting so it was somewhat legible
- find and download appropriate apps to substitute tasks I was used to doing on my laptop
- upload and synch images and documents
- organize apps into folders
- search for, open, close, multi-task
- type, copy/paste, edit text, etc.
Then as the usage of “how” to do certain tasks on the iPad became automated ( I guess I was/am in the literate stage now), my goals were to find and use specific apps that allowed me to:
- manipulate and edit images and video
- read books and documents, allow annotations, share highlights
- aggregate and read my RSS feeds
- organize and access files
- brainstorm and mindmap
- tweet, blog and facebook
- take notes
- create presentations, graphs, flyers, etc.
I am at the point where I am looking for FLUENCY now, not just individual apps that allow me to accomplish individual tasks. By fluency I mean the ability to:
- connect tasks effortless together (ex.creating and editing a video, then uploading, embedding and disseminating on several platforms)
- CREATE and then being able to COMMUNICATE- the ability to create and communicate your creation is one of the main characteristics of fluency
- read in my RSS Reader and seamlessly disseminate links to Twitter, Facebook and to my social bookmarking service
- record, edit and then publish a movie that automatically posts to my blog
- take an image…edit…then automatically post to my photo stream as well as embed into a blog post
- work within several apps, then remix content from each one by being able to import them from one app to another.
- not having to rely on my laptop as a “translator” to convert a file, remix files, upload files, having to email files in order to send them on to a specific depository or grab an embed code, etc.
- seamlessly switch between different accounts to disseminate as a different user of the platform (ex. Twitter, Email, Facebook)
As I look to add apps to help my iPad evolve and to contribute to the fluency I am seeking, I look specifically for the abilities mentioned above.
I don’t feel fluent yet…there are too many hurdles in connecting individual tasks to “express myself” and share with the iPad alone. I get stuck… I have to find other ways around the “hurdle” to communicate… that is what hinders fluency. As long as I have to:
- …e-mail an image to myself to embed it easily into my blog…
- …have to upload a video to a specific site the app dictates to then record the screen in order to import into iMovie to remix it…
- …email a link to myself to then be able to bookmark or aggregate it to a curation site…
I want to create, connect, re-mix, import, export, share, collaborate, design… all without a “translator”…within the iPad…
I am not fluent YET… but it’s coming…
What are some apps that help you in your fluency? What are some tasks the iPad could/should support in order to make it a better fluency tool?
Great post! I’ve been trying to get people to think about workflows for a couple of years (going back to early iPod Touches). Using the idea of Fluency is much better.
When you start using an iPad seriously, you start developing different workflows that let you do exactly what you want. I was trying to explain to someone the other day the process of taking a photo of a page from a printed book, converting it to PDF with Eurosmartz’s Print ‘n Share, pulling it into GoodReader for annotation, and then filing it with other notes from that book. Either GoodReader or Print ‘n Share would do a good job exporting it. Together, they are my “Swiss Army Knife” for the iPad (since I don’t have much need to work with video).
I think one of the perceptions we have yet to overcome is that the iPad is just a toy. When people tell me that, I point out that it has as much processing power as an early-90s supercomputer.
So much to learn when it comes to iPads and just technology in general! It is exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. Thank you for this post Silvia.