There is something uniquely powerful about everyday people having access to the Internet from tiny devices in their pocket. That ubiquitous access to each other creates possibilities that are worth fighting for and saving. The mobile and wireless accessed Internet, combined with emerging open web and open data applications, has the potential to usher in a new era of connectedness, and with it dramatic changes to social practices and institutions. If we get digital public policy right, Canada could become a leader in mobile communications, leading to empowerment, job creation and new forms of entrepreneurialism, expression and social change.
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Ever since I started exploring online journalism in the late '70s, an odd strawman has reared its head. It's the one that suggests that newspapers and other traditional media have to make a choice between paper and screen.
But what if your screen was your paper? What if the very best experience you could have with your print content was under glass? What if silicon were the new cellulose?
That's where we are now with the iPad.
Can books built for iPads be used for rich media journalism?
That's the question my online journalism students in the MAJ program at the University of Western Ontario are tackling.
Starting a couple of weeks ago, two student teams in the class partnered with rabble and The Tyee to take a sizeable chunk of their content and convert it into a book on the iPad using Apple's new iBooks Author software.
I gave up on newspapers years ago. I haven't given up reading them, but I've packed in talking to them about the future.
I remember sitting in the boardroom of the Toronto Star in 2007 doing a presentation about social media, the lost opportunities of classifieds and the paper's unique position to create an open, electronic community hub. The people that could have made a difference in that room, the publisher included, weren't listening.
The brand new Academy of the Impossible nestles (huddles, coils?) in a low-rise strip of commercial real estate in Toronto's west end among other small, well-meaning enterprises. The space is bare, the acoustics are problematic, but it's already well-wired for Internet activity: social media, gaming etc. It plans to take a step beyond hacktivism toward the integration of online agitation with direct action in the streets, that the Occupy movements have embodied.
It's natural, given over 50 years of experience, to imagine our computers as devices that have screens and some sort of keyboard input, real or virtual.
Those two design elements constrain the device's form factor since the screens need to be big enough for us to see and the keyboards must make room for our fingers or thumbs.
But a number of technological hurdles are being overcome that will, in the coming year, dramatically alter the shape of our computing and communication devices. We are about to enter the world of wearable computing. Before the end of 2012 many of will be sporting bracelets, watches, fobs and other fashion doodads that will send us messages or convey data to our phones, computers and the Internet. These devices already exist.
OCAD University is launching two new graduate programs in September, 2011: Digital Futures (master's & graduate diploma)* and Inclusive Design (master's)*. The graduate program in Digital Futures features a unique partnership with the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) Media Lab, and builds on OCAD U's demonstrated strengths in practice and research in the fields of digital art, design and media.
Join us on Wednesday April 13 at 5:30 for an information session with program directors, students, faculty and staff who will share their insights and information. If you are thinking of applying for the May 2, 2011 deadline, this is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the program or application process to the Digital Futures (master's & graduate diploma)*