I wrote quite a while back about a little tool my friend Bart Pursel showed me, iStory. We’ve actually built an “interactive case study” with it to go along with our Online IST 302 course we’ve recently finished up. Bart had a very linear case study about scope management built that was just going to be a series of pages (html) in the course … I guess I should say that Bart’s the lead in our Office of Learning Solutions here at the Institute and his primary focus is a concept he calls gaming for non-entertainment purposes. Lots of people are looking at that space, but Bart is a gamer, he understands games, and as a bonus he understands how to drop the game concept on top of learning needs. Good stuff.At any rate, when Bart started talking about this thing it was right around the time we bought a bunch of iPods for research purposes … it was well before Universities (Duke, Drexel, and Georgia State come to mind) really started looking how to deploy them on a large scale to support teaching and learning. We came across the iStory Creator software from iPodSoft and started playing with it. Long story short … Bart took his linear case study and developed a first beta of it as an interactive game that teaches people the concepts of scope management — all on the iPod. Its actually pretty cool … loads into the notes section of the iPod and allows you to make decision ala the old “choose your own adventure books” us geeks loved when we were kids.
I’ve been talking with one of the developers at iPodSoft — the guy in charge of the OSX version of iStory and he gave me a heads up on some of their next steps with the Mac version of the product … I just thought I’d share them with you here because there are tons of things you can do with this software (and the notes section of the iPod in general). First of all, take these with a grain of salt as with any software roadmap, its in flux (scope management anyone?) … here are some of the highlights from my friend:
- Export as webpage (use one of 3 included themes or create your own)
- Greater control over the HTML output of the websites
- New iTunes like partner app that lets you manage all your notes, sync them with iPod and also download new ones via an iTunes Music Store like interface for the iStories on the iPodSoft site
- This next thing is unconfirmed as I have just come up with it but I think it would be really cool to have in. I’ll try and confirm it in the next few days. The ability to set up your own server for downloading notes, where you can download via the partner app and upload via iStory itself. For example, a teacher could put notes up on the server for students to download. We would also like to add the ability to add images to notes, but we would need apple to add an image tag to the iPod Photo’s notes for that to work. If you could find out anything about this that would be great.
Notice that little request in there at the end? At any rate, you hear that iPod people … open this puppy up a little and great things can happen! By the way, this isn’t a commercial for the tool, its merely me pointing out a tool that let’s you do some interesting things with the iPod. I’d love it if any of you have used this tool before and have any general comments … or what the heck you are doing with the iPod in and outside your classroom in general.