Monday, November 7, 2011

Instructional Technology

I wasn't always an instructional designer. I used to be, for something like 16 years, an electronics technician (ET). After maintaining some fairly sophisticated Navy communications and semiconductor manufacturing equipment for so long I think I know a thing or two about problem solving methods and tools. The main take-away, that is the primary transferable skill, from my ET days is knowing how to identify and solve technology related problems quickly using an appropriate set of tools and processes. Back in the day I used electronic test equipment and hand-tools to identify and solve problems. Today my tools are quite a bit smarter: computers and software.

The other day I got to thinking about commonalities between then and now: ways of knowing and doing. What I came up with was story and pencils. A story usually started a problem solving effort: Someone describing some thing. The pencil helped me record facts and impressions. That was then. Today story still kicks off my instructional design efforts. The pencil's a bit different now. I guess you could say it grew up; it's an iPad.

I use my iPad mostly for recording, ideation, prototyping and communicating, all things you can do with a good pencil. Where the iPad stands-out is in communicating. When I meet with a customer or subject matter expert (SME) my iPad (and stylus) are my primary tool. I use it for note-taking and doodling. It's simple to pass it around to others so they an see where we're at. It's intuitive to use, too, so others can manipulate the information it contains.

Over the next several days I'm going to describe how I use iPad in instructional design.

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