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Digital Learning

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:43 pm
by rickj
Here is a summary of tonight's Digital Learning presentation.

I was originally just going to cover online software training, but I decided to broaden the scope to cover some of the other digital learning opportunities that have recently emerged.

There is no way I could cover every company in depth, so if anybody has had any experience with any of these companies, knows of others I didn't cover or finds inaccuracies in my data, please feel free to post here.

Re: Digital Learning

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:57 pm
by Stephen Hart
At Rick's suggestion in another thread, I tried one form of digital learning. Here's my interim report.

My situation is that I bought a new camera recently, a Panasonic Lumix FZ150. It's capable of real video recording, full high definition at 60 frames per second and (because I have a 64 GB card in it) for a long time. It has an external microphone jack and many bells and whistles. I've had a couple of cameras in the past that could do short video clips, but never many minutes, never at high resolution or large image size, never with decent sound recording, etc. For those video clips, QuickTime Player sufficed. I could cut and paste, and even crop (a bit of a laborious process in QuickTime Player).
With the new camera, I've decided I need to learn iMovie. I've used it a few times, but don't seem to remember how I did a task the next time I use it. So I need to get systematic.

I tried MPV's iMovie '11 101 - Core iMovie '11, from macProVideo. My version is an iPhone app, which cost $10.00.

Like many digital learning entities, this one is pretty broad. I will need some more targeted study in the long run. But for what it attempts to do, this is a useful app. I found that I could follow the many, many short videos even if I wasn't at my Mac trying to replicate the tasks in iMovie itself. The pace is slow, but not soporific. The audio is clear. Even the small screen works fine.

If I were dealing with something more complex, I might well want a larger screen to view it on. This app, and other MPV apps, are also available for iPad (perfect) and Mac (less perfect). The ideal situation for online learning, I think, is to be able to watch some of the video material, then pause and try the same thing on your Mac. I think an iPad would be perfect for that task. A Mac app would be fine too, if you have a spare MacBook to use.

Re: Digital Learning

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:06 pm
by Stephen Hart
Another form of digital study I've been accessing recently is from YouTube.
This is not Mac specific, but it's an indication that if you want to learn about some specific subject, a careful, skeptical search on YouTube might work.

Graham Houghton, a retired (put out to grass, in his terms) IT manager has made dozens of videos related to photography. Some are how to make your own stereo microphone, how to modify a tripod, etc. But--lucky me--he also has started a series of videos on how to use the Panasonic Lumix FZ150, the camera I just bought.

As I noted above, such videos tend to be a bit too broad, and Houghton covers each setting in order. That can be pretty boring if you know the basics of camera operation.

But overall, I've found the videos an excellent resource. I have already watched some more than once, and expect to revisit some of them in the future.

One example of information he gives is his own experiments with external microphones. The manual for the FZ150 has a scary-sounding admonition never to use any external microphone except Panasonic's own. Houghton tried several and found no problem at all.

Re: Digital Learning

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:17 pm
by Stephen Hart
Finally, I want to mention iTunes U and podcasts.

iTunes U has many Mac-related resources, ranging from, for example, "Let Lion Roar! Mac OS X Lion: Tips & new Features," from the University of Wisconson-Whitewater, to Stanford's full college course called "iPad and iPhone App Development.".

Many iTunes U items consist of short segments.

There are also many podcasts with Macintosh themes. Just type "Macintosh" into the iTunes search field and then select Podcasts in the Filter by Media Type box. As with all podcasts, you'll have to sample a couple of episodes to see if you like them.

In both cases, some are video, some are audio, and some are available as either.