Mobile Phones for Art and Education, EDTECH 597 Week 4

Since beginning EDTECH 597, I have been more aware of the opportunities that smart phones and mobile apps present to the user, and I’m now trying to read the information that comes across my desk with a mind that asks questions like, “What is the logical progression of outcomes that can happen from this?” or “Where will this path logically lead and how can I apply what this information is telling me to the apps that I’m developing?” Along those lines, I saw two very cool, but very different stories on CNN about mobile technology, and in my mind by extension, possible mobile apps.

The first story was about how mobile technology was changing life in Africa in some pretty profound ways. According to the story, the mobile phone has replaced the PC in some countries, because the phone is cheaper than the computer, but does a lot of the same things that a computer does. Farmers check weather reports, water conditions, and other farm necessities as well as plug into mobile apps like iCow, a cow calendar, which tracks the life and fertility cycle of the cows.

People in Africa also use it to help in areas like entertainment, banking, and education—in the latter case, mobile phones can deliver school messages via social networking. This allows students who don’t have access to schools to get an education—at least in theory.

The second CNN story that caught my attention was a story about how mobile phones are being used as artists’ tools. The story specifically cited photographers who use mobile phones to take pictures and then go on to add collage items or print the photos off, stick them on canvas, and then add elements like paint, found objects and other items to create new works of art.

I must confess that while both stories could have long-term ramifications for my studies, I must confess that I’m most excited about the artistic potential of mobile phones and by extension, mobile apps. Considering that this week’s app, the Paint Pott assignment introduced me to the drawing tools on Android, I got pretty excited.

While I don’t exactly know the exact answer to the “What is the logical progression of outcomes that can happen from this?” or “Where will this path logically lead and how can I apply what this information is telling me to the apps that I’m developing?” questions, I do know that I need to learn more about the app builder tool so that I can learn its limitations, its capabilities, and possible work arounds for design problems that I encounter as I create my apps. With every art media I’ve tried so far in my life, this has been so.

Once you work with the tools long enough, you come to understand what they can and can’t do for you. It teaches you to spawn creations with a particular tool in mind. For example, I might want to create a realistic drawing of a leather handbag using charcoal pencil and graphite, because I know that these tools can create both the rough-looking texture of leather plus the metallic rivets in the leather bag. I would create these pieces of art based largely on what I know about each tool. So, too, do I hope that I can learn what mobile apps can do and therefore learn to create new pieces of art based on this new tool.

Here’s a picture of this week’s app that I created. It was the Paint Pot assignment.

Paint Pot Doodle Tool