Two seemingly disconnected projects are on my mind this week. In the first project, Dr. Patrick Dickson and soon-to-be 3rd year EPET student Chris Shaltry are busy organizing CEP 416 Teaching and Learning with Technology into a cartridge course suitable for Angel, our resident course management system. The second project involves exploring the possibility of converting the EPET Handbook into an iBook. Now, I began thinking about the iBook project first and how a great deal of effort went into making the animation required to simulate a turning page.
Some might say it’s wasted effort, that the animation is a misguided attempt to inject into the digital realm a certain nostalgia for a bygone medium. I don’t agree – the page turn on the digital screen of my iPad is both quirky and graceful. I don’t see it as a throw back as much as an embrace of the tangible aspects of digital artistry. I scroll along the surface of the screen and my reading becomes a part of the motions of my hands as much as my eyes and my brain.
So what does that have to do with the making of 416? Not much… except that as I began fielding posts and emails from my students (I’m also an instructor for the course), I was using my Mac trackpad, skimming from page to post to tab as my fingers controlled the action with pinches, swipes, and taps. It was more than just the opening of a new course – it was a rowdy online rumble to access the tools and resources we had made available. It was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. And it just seems to me that our digital interactions have become a lot more tangible in terms of bodily motions and what we can physically maneuver in digital spaces. Whether we’re turning digital pages or managing a massive amount of data in real time, our bodies seem to be more and more a part of the digital action.