CIT News Story about Digital Sea Monsters

[image title=”Andrea Novicki, our CIT Mentor!” size=”small” align=”left” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image]Andrea Novicki recently posted a story about our project on the CIT website – see here.

Andrea points out the great synergism between the Nicholas School and the Computer Science Department – it’s a great relationship for developing the application, a true win-win for both academic units, and for students. Of course she was the matchmaker in this case.

Thanks Andrea!

Megafauna App Progress

Hello, Digital Sea Monsters enthusiasts! My name is Tony, and I’m one of the programmers working on the Marine Megafauna iPad app. I’m writing to this blog to give anyone who’s interested an insight into where the app currently stands and into the development process in general. Last week, my fellow team members (Adam, James, and Sophia) demoed an early prototype of the application for Dave and Nicole.

The app is meant to have a public “Megafauna of the Day” feature that anyone can access; this feature was the main focus of our prototype. Here are some screenshots of the Megafauna of the Day feature running on an actual iPad, these are not just mockups:

[image title=”Interface 1″ size=”medium” align=”left” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image] [image title=”Interface 2″ size=”medium” align=”right” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image]

The users can choose from the photos (and eventually videos and audio clips) in the media browser at the bottom left. Whichever thumbnail is tapped is loaded into the main image space just above the media browser. If the users can tear their eyes away from the pretty pictures, they can read all about the featured megafauna in the scrollable body of text on the right. In the second screenshot you can see the popover menu that appears when the user pressed the button at the top right. Megafauna from the past few days are accessible from this menu.

The other side of the app is the private, course-centered side. Protected by netID authentication, students enrolled in the course can browse and view the readings and lectures from the week.

Here are some screenshots of the Readings feature, also actually running on an iPad:

[image title=”Readings Interface 1″ size=”medium” align=”left” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image] [image title=”Readings Interface 2″ size=”medium” align=”right” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image]

The user can pick any of the PDF readings from the browser shown in the first screenshot. After selecting a particular reading, the user can type notes, highlight, or even scribble on the page. These annotations are saved for whenever the user loads the reading again.

None of the images, text, or PDFs shown above were pre-stored on the iPad. All of them were fetched over the network from a test database we set up!

Here are a few of the things we are currently working on:

  • setting up a database for all the content on a server Dave has provided for us
  • user interface improvements that Dave and Nicole both suggested
  • various performance and memory-usage optizimations
  • and of course, the lectures!

Here are some mockups of how we want the lectures to look. The lecture viewing features have not been implemented yet, these are simply concept images:

[image title=”Lesson Interface 1″ size=”medium” align=”right” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image] [image title=”Lesson Interface 2″ size=”medium” align=”left” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true”][/image]

We should have an updated prototype with freshly implemented features to demo for Dave and Nicole in a week or two!



[image title=”Lesson Interface 3″ align=”center” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” size=”large”¬†autoHeight=”true”][/image]

Chronicle covers Digital Sea Monsters

[image title=”The Chronicle” size=”small” align=”right” icon=”link” link=”” autoHeight=”true”][/image]Last week the Chronicle published an article addressing the use of iPads in Duke classrooms. While we are not quite there yet, they did cover our project briefly, highlighting one reason why we are moving in this direction – namely the fact that the use of iOS devices in classrooms is on the rise, and represents a target audience ready to use their iDevice in Marine Megafauna.

Here is a link to the story:

Progress – the beginning of the course app

[image title=”Penguin Mock-up” size=”medium” align=”right” icon=”zoom” lightbox=”true” autoHeight=”true” quality=”100″][/image]On Friday (Feb 4) our great programming team presented their first ideas about the look and feel of the Marine Megafauna iOS app, and even showcased some of the functionality to be included. Their presentation set out some basic ideas about the interface, and Adam provided a hands-on demonstration of his code that will allow students using the app to annotate lessons and other material right on their iOS device – and these annotations (in the form of notes, highlights and free-form drawings) are persistent – allowing students to keep their notes after turning off the device.

Below is the short Keynote that accompanied their presentation – it was great.

Looking forward to future updates!