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Posted by on Feb 19, 2013

Tools I use for Mobile Composition: Mobile Toolkit


Utilitarian Posts (How Novel)

This is a utilitarian post, which might be refreshing for some of you out there. I was putting together some information and last-minute details ahead of a presentation I am doing in Second Life on Wednesday (7:30PM GMT) on multimodal composition via mobile tech. What multimodal compositions might look like when produced in higher education via mobile technology, mlearning, that sort of thing. It is a good chance to learn more about this topic and the wonderful MSc programme on Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, if interested.

I was putting together some of the tools I use to compose in mobile technology and I thought some of these are worth sharing. Before we begin, I should mention that I am working right now exclusively in IOS so many of these choices reflect that. Some have Android or PC desktop versions although I imagine equivalents for all of these could easily be found with a search or two on CNET or via the Android App store. Many of these are fairly common and my uses for them are not all that revolutionary or anything, but this represents my current toolkit and I always found these types of posts helpful as a reader. I generally try to choose applications with legs, ie they will survive at least a few iterations and rounds of updates. But that isn’t altogether necessary. I am still looking for that elusive all in one mobile authoring tool, which allows me to construct/compose or at least assemble any number of modes, media, text, etc. I have seen some attempts, but nothing that dazzles me.

If you have any feedback, or perhaps alternatives to these tools, I would love to hear about it. I generally find that people keep this information fairly close to the vest perhaps in fear of seeming out of touch with the current trends, etc. and perhaps I suffered from this as well. But here they are. I used many of these for the examples I post here often and which can be found throughout the presentation. I also included some brief introductions to the theories I am using for the PhD. Enjoy.

Gallagher’s Mobile Toolkit

Theories I use

Note: These are theories I am using to make sense of the activity in these spaces for the PhD. These are provided so I sound more academic and intelligent. Just kidding. I am actually using them.

Tools I use for images and mosaics

Note: These are the mainstays of much of my activity as mobile technology really seems to make image-based representation a preferred mode of representation. As such, I use these quite a bit. Please note that the MacOSaiX is desktop-based, but a powerful tool. Worth a look.

Tools I use for audio collection and composition

Note: these tools I use quite often. Audioboo for recording and mapping ambient audio (along w/imagery). These recordings are essentially multimodal compositions and aggregated together could represent a significant academic project mapping the aural environment of a particular space. Garage Band is for those wanting to soundtrack their mobile compositions. You can literally compose and record your own music (one of my favorite pastimes on the Tube) or podcast as needed.

Tools I use for for video

Note: I use video a lot less than other modes as I think it distracts me a bit and the creator has unlimited power in this mode. We are sort of forced to watch video unfold as it was intended to. Perhaps that is a bit of my resistance. Not sure, but these tools are perfectly good for working in video for this sort of composition.

Tools I use for blogging

Note: text might seem a bit disconnected from this discussion, but the point was never to remove text, merely allow for other modes of meaning to be used. These are both for WordPress as I hesitate to invest in blogging platforms that have little chance of success. I forayed into Posterous a while back and was saddened to see them go. So, I have doubled down on WordPress. Tumblr is excellent for short-form multimodal composition, but I am more of a long-form kind of guy so I gravitate towards WordPress. But Tumblr is excellent for short, stoccato types of blogging and dialogue.

Tools I use for mapping

Note: providing some geolocated information for this type of composition is almost expected (and indeed, it is a significant portion of the utilitarian advantage) so it would be silly not to provide some idea of how I use it. I am very basic in this respect, using Flickit as an uploading tool, tagging carefully (in batches), and then using the GeoRSS from the tagged items to display in Google Earth or Google Maps. This is explained a bit below in the first link. HistoryPin I adore as a noble and significant effort to create community around what is essentially an academic approach. Crowdsourcing, social media, all the elements of a standard project are there but deep down inside this is an academic project posing as a completely social one. Those lines are blurred the further we extend away from the physical locale of the university (as mlearning certainly does).

I hope that was useful. Enjoy!

Thesis Images

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    • You are more than welcome, Maurice. Would love to hear any of the tools you use as well. Always informative to learn how people use these things.


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