Grant Outcome: The iPad2 As A Tool For Instruction In Painting Classes

Monday, October 31, 2011 7:03 pm
Provost’s Summer Grants for Exploration of Educational Technology – Final Report 

  • Page Laughlin, Department of Art
  • H David “Giz” Womack, Z. Smith Reynolds Library

Goals of the Grant Project
To determine if one of the newest tablet technologies, the iPad 2, could be used as a dynamic “working sketch pads” in the artist studio of today, and if so, to investigate the potential of existing image capture, image editing and drawing programs for the iPad to facilitate instruction in painting classes.

Enhancing Teaching and Learning
This project met both the goals stated in the grant application. Professor Page Laughlin determined that both the iPad2 and the drawing applications tested hold promise for enhancing teaching and learning. This project was so successful that professor Laughlin purchased her own iPad2 to allow her to continue painting with the tablet after the period of the grant.

The iPad 2 proved useful as both a capture and create tool. The built-in camera allows the artist to take photos (of works of art or other objets) and the drawing applications allow those images to be inserting into those applications and then serve as the starting point for a new work of art. Applications like “Brushes” and “ArtRage” allowed for powerful Photoshop style layers as well as drawing/painting features. Tools like the Nomad Brush, and Targus Stylus allowed for the artist to effectively interact with the iPad2, while some tool like the POGO stylus proved less than ideal. Additionally, Paul Marley, Instructional Technologist for Art, created a digital grid that could be incorporated into the drawing applications. This proved very useful to Professor Laughlin. The issue of printing the final product was also addressed and solved by Paul Marley.

Painting on the iPad2 requires artists to learn a completely new method of painting. Professor Laughlin spent the Summer of 2011 mastering painting with the iPad and considering how it could be used in the classroom. The next step is to implement the use of the iPad in the classroom. This will require all the students in the class to have an iPad if not for the entire semester, at least for some portion of the semester and it will require them mastering some basic iPad painting skills.

Outline of Expected Educational Applications
Professor Laughlin will continue to use the iPad2 as a painting tool during the 2011-2012 academic year, with the goal of implementing an iPad2 assignment into a painting class. It is anticipated that entry level painting students will use the ipad in a two tiered process. For the midterm studio project ipads will be distributed and students will capture painting in progress, work with digital grid and value conversion layers in the Brushes and ArtRage apps. The subsequent studio project will reinforce use of these applications through more sophisticated color-to-value conversions in painting. Upper level students will be involved in exploring further creative applications of the Ipad, in partnership with Professsor Laughlin. The learning curve for the undergraduates use of Brushes and ARtrage should be minimal, but it is an issue to be resolve in the classroom trials.

Based on Professor Laughlin’s ongoing use of the Ipad as an evaluative aid and design tool for painting, it is anticipated that the Ipad will be used as an ongoing “digital studio assistant,” enhancing capacity to review and edit paintings in progress.

Artworks Resulting from the Grant Project

Interiors-iPad enhanced painting



Drawing Applications (App Store)
-Brushes $7.99
-Sketchbook Pro $7.99
-ArtRage $6.99
(Tutorials at
-Adobe Ideas $Free, $1.99 for layers feature
-Artist’s Touch $4.99
-Layers Pro $5.99

Drawing Tools
-Nomad Brush
-Targus Stylus
-Pogo Stylus

Grant Outcome: Presentation at LITA National Forum 2011 in St. Louis

Monday, October 3, 2011 3:48 pm

As Erik and I began our exploration of data visualization tools used in digital humanities research, we had in the back of our minds that this would make a timely topic for a presentation at one of our national conferences. LITA stands for Library & Information Technology Association and it is a division of the American Library Association. Each fall a 3 day educational conference is held where librarians and library technologists share information about the projects they have been working on over the previous year (or years!). This year’s conference Rivers of Data, Currents of Change was held over the past weekend in St. Louis. Our proposal, Data Visualization and Digital Humanities: A Survey of of Available Data Sets and Tools was accepted as a concurrent session and we spent an hour showing the audience the results of our summer of exploration. It was evident that this is a very hot topic right now, many of the other presentations over the weekend tapped into the growing importance of being able find data, manipulate it, analyze it and publish it. And we found agreement that libraries and librarians can play an important role in the process.

During the presentation we talked about the main categories of tools (discovery, visualization, analysis/publishing), demonstrated several to show the range of what is available, and then discussed potential roles for librarians. Our presentation is shared below for your viewing pleasure!

CurateCamp: A Different Look at Data

Saturday, August 20, 2011 2:13 pm

As part of Erik’s and my grant to explore the subject of data and data sets, we also wanted to explore what is being done to preserve the data that is being generated. So, we both attended CurateCamp, an “Unconference” that is held periodically to discuss issues pertaining to data curation. Data curation is defined as (in Wikipedia): “the active and on-going management of data through its life cycle of interest and usefulness to scholarship, science, and education. Data curation activities enable data discovery and retrieval, maintain its quality, add value, and provide for re-use over time, and this new field includes authentication, archiving, management, preservation, retrieval, and representation.”

As more researchers generate data sets in their work, and as funding agencies start to require that these data sets be preserved and made available, this has become a hot topic in library circles. This year’s two day unconference was held at Stanford University and attracted over 100 attendees from mostly academic libraries. The attendees ranged from administrators to programmers to user experience professionals. The unconference format is becoming popular for technology focused conferences because sessions are not determined until you arrive. This allows potential for new topics and ideas that have come on the horizon recently rather than having sessions whose topics were set in stone 6-12 months before the conference happens. However, this also means that it is (in my opinion) sort of a crap shoot. You don’t really know what you are going to be able to learn or whether it will cover subjects of interest at all.


CurateCamp Unconference Session Schedule

The first half day was spent with introductions to discovers folks’ areas of interest (relating to data curation!) and then people pitched their ideas for sessions to be held. As a consensus was reached on each topic, it went into the schedule on a post-it-note (as the picture above shows). The variety of topics was wide and, since the sessions were all discussion formats, the conversations started with the main topic but veered off at will as new ideas were introduced. Some of the broad data curation themes that I was introduced to were: provenance of digital objects, institutional storage capacities, versioning control methods, the Hydra Project, digital forensics, and faculty outreach.

During the two days of the conference, I found myself focusing on topics that would perhaps have current or future applicability at Wake Forest. The idea of instituting a data curation program is one that has been brought forth by a few different people on campus, but it really hasn’t taken off as something that is a priority at the University level. What I heard at the conference confirmed my thoughts that this is currently more of a priority at very large institutions that are generating a great deal of research and/or have sophisticated record management/archival programs (how much of the University business is born digital these days?). However, Wake still has the same issues, just on a smaller scale. The libraries at the conference agreed that establishing policies, workflows and compliance is a much large issue than can be handled by the library. It should be an institutional initiative that includes the resources to do curation correctly.

One other main topic that was discussed that aligned with what is happening at WFU concerned how institutions are handling born digital video. There were all sorts of issues discussed, from problems with transfer rates (slow network) to the lack of standards for video capture, to difficulties in conversion to long term storage capacity. Nobody seemed to have agreed upon “best standards.” All are dealing with trying to figure out how to get the videos that professors are putting out on such sites as UTube and Vimeo, so that they can be archived properly. At least, it made me feel better about the status of video capture and archiving at Wake. We recognize a need to come up with a long term solution and different parties on campus are working toward that as video gains a more prominent role in teaching and learning.

Overall, the two days of being introduced to the field of data curation was quite valuable. It generated plenty of ideas for what might be feasible for us to do at ZSR Library and in partnership with other units in the University.

ArtRage for the iPad

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 4:55 pm

Recently Page has explored painting applications other than “Brushes”. One example of another painting application is “ArtRage” for the iPad. While Page has described it as more complicated to use than “Brushes”, there are more effects available to the artist. So there is a steeper learning curve, but it can be worth it. Paul Marley has created a grid template for Page to use that is proving very helpful and would be an excellent feature to have available in most all these drawing applications. If you are interested in “ArtRage” check out the tutorials at

Progress for Constitutional Law Simulation Online

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:36 am

This summer, Katy Harriger and I have been working to create a web site to serve as a companion site to the American Constitutional Law textbook that she writes with co-author Louis Fisher. The focus of our summer and fall work will be to get the site up and the section on class simulations ready for her students to use when she teaches her Constitutional Law class in spring 2012. I have been working with Jing Wei who has developed a really nice interface for us and has used our content to begin to flesh out the site. We are currently trying to decide the best place for the site to live, but it is being developed in WordPress so we have some flexibility with where to host it.

Katy has been working while out of town on beginning to get the video that was taken of her students the last time she taught this class edited for use as examples on the site. We hope to have a prototype of the site ready by late August that we can continue to tweak and improve upon during the fall semester so it is ready for Katy’s students, and even students in some other classes elsewhere that use the textbook by spring semester.

Katy can report back on her adventures with MovieMaker and audio and video editing when she returns!

International Interactions

Monday, August 1, 2011 9:41 pm

For the second summer, we at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows (BFTF) Summer Institute incorporated technology as part of our curriculum. We worked with Documentary Film Program MFA Jon Bougher and second-year MA student Chris Zaluski to add to what we had done last year with Flip Cameras. This year, we added a multi-media dimension to the documentary component and encouraged our Fellows to use their cameras to produce videos and other media, as part of a larger project. The students worked in groups, all in conjunction with four thematic workshops (Childcare & Education; Time to Get Artsy; Economics & Poverty; Too Much on Your Plate?) and they cooperated to create four websites where content, interactive media and videos addressed the specific topics.

Please visit our blog and click on each documentary-journalism projects to see what our multi-media minds created:

Two particularly interactive and innovative ideas:

-An interactive map where you can click on the icons and speakers for facts and interviews about poverty in the Fellows’ countries.

-An interactive ‘recipe book’ from our International Dinner, with interviews and recipes from all our cooks.

More traditionally, Jon and Chris also produced powerful profiles of four of our Fellows, all available, along with many other short student-produced videos, here:

I am sorry I missed the last meeting. I look forward to our next one!


Information Literacy eTextbook

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 12:27 pm

I posted this on my blog, but thought the content might be relevant over here, too.

The primary goal [of the library textbook project] is to create a framework for open access electronic textbooks. We’re exploring WordPress with various themes and plugins, and we’re determining what new plugins need to be developed to make it really work as a place to house textbooks. Some of the dreams (though we’re not sure we’ll hit them all this summer):

  • Completely modular: librarians and faculty can rearrange content based on their teaching, and maybe add their own if it’s not already an option
  • Read anywhere: read in the browser, get an epub or kindle file, print to paper
  • Multimedia all over the place: if you get an e-ink or printed version, there would be a QR Code in place of video or audio to redirect you to that content on a mobile device
  • Ability to take notes on the browser, and maybe choose whether to share them or not (for example, the prof/librarian might want to share their notes with the class)

The secondary goal is to create a working textbook. This book would actually be useful for our information literacy program. Hopefully it’d be useful to students studying information literacy/how to research at other institutions. Faculty might find specific units relevant and assign single chapters (for example, citations or paraphrasing). We want people to take this seriously, so we’re setting up a blind peer-review process for the contributed chapters.

So far, we’ve only opened the call up to LIB100 instructors at our library. We’re going to see how much work the peer review process is and then determine if we should open it up to other contributors outside of our institution.

We have a blog to track progress as the summer progresses, if you’re interested. We also made this video for our call for chapters. You’ll see the whole team and why we think this is an important project if you watch!

CALL FOR CHAPTER PROPOSALS: Accessing Information in the 21st Century, An Information Literacy Textbook from ZSR Library on Vimeo.

Applications and Tools

Monday, July 25, 2011 4:17 pm

Based on the excellent discussion of various applications and tools in our meeting today, I thought it might be helpful to create a blog post with some lists and links to the applications and tools Page, Paul and I are using. (and a few others I remembered from the meeting)

If anyone wants to reply to this post with links to their apps and tools that would be most helpful!

Drawing Applications (App Store)

-Brushes $7.99
-Sketchbook Pro $7.99
-ArtRage $6.99
-Adobe Ideas $Free, $1.99 for layers feature
-Artist’s Touch $4.99
-Layers Pro $5.99

Drawing Tools

Nomad Brush


Pogo Stylus

Targus Stylus|%20Targus%20USA&productCategoryId=5&bucketTypeId=0&searchedTerms=stylus&navlevel1=&cp=&bannertxt=Search%20Results%20stylus

Other Software

Mover (for moving files between ipod/iphone/ipad)


iAnnotate PDF


I know I’ve missed a few apps we discussed, so please comment on the post and add them to our list!

Google SketchUp

Monday, July 18, 2011 12:52 pm

My summer technology grant allowed me to take a class on Google SketchUp 8, a computer program used to design three dimensional buildings. The goal of my project is for students to translate literary descriptions of medieval cathedrals into three dimensional models in Google SketchUp and then to write about their experiences as digital master builders.

I’ve encountered a few surprises along the way. The first is that the program is much easier to use with a mouse than it is with a laptop keyboard. It is possible to use SketchUp with the keypad, but I will likely look for a way for students to have access to a mouse. Originally I had planned to put students into groups to design buildings to give them a chance to work together. Now I realize that it will be difficult, if not impossible, for all of the members of the group to access the building and to work on it at the same time. As a result, each student will likely design a building rather than designing the edifice as a group. This is a bit disappointing.

Currently I am putting together the syllabus and am trying to decide how to structure the course. I’m not sure whether I want to teach Google SketchUp at the beginning of the course to give students the full semester to work on the project or whether I want to emphasize the congruence between the building process and the writing process by adding complexity each week.


‘Digital’ research, data and Humanities – Part II

Monday, July 18, 2011 11:33 am

When Susan and I started our summer technology project we anticipated working with databases, writing how-to guides and thinking through the issues surrounding the creation, use and research on data. We found in a somewhat happenstance conversation with Jerid Francom that we could make greatprogresstowards this by talking with faculty from across the University. Based on this we decided to reach out to David Phillips, the chair of the Digital Humanities planning committee at Wake Forest University.

Our conversation with David focused on some broader issues in ‘digital’ research. It was interesting to get his view on issues outside of the focus of our summer project (e.g. digital media, geospatial data) . In fact, the library had had a number of opportunities to collaborate with faculty on these type of projects in the past. As we discussed a growth in interest in public engagement through coursework we connected on some of the work that has been done recently in Oral Histories with Michele Gillespie, and a 2009 project with another faculty member that gathered oral histories from Holocuast survivors.

It became clear as we talked that there are a number of key challenges that make work in this area of research (and for libraries support of this type of research) difficult. We seemed to agree that specialized skills needed to be developed and housed somewhere, that pedagogical guidance important in helping incorporate these research methods to the classroom and that a wider understanding of the interdisciplinary connections between fields of interest, universitydepartments and even institutions is required. Clearly, none of these things are particularly easy. We speculated briefly about the work at other institutions to help create institutes and centers that bring technical skill, research platforms and instructional design together in an environment that fosters collaboration across disciplines, departments and institutions. It turns out that WFU has already taken some important steps down this road, particularly in sponsoring some inter-institutional grants and in creating centers and institutes focused on interdisciplinary collaboration.

I am not sure which faculty Susan and I will visit next. In our conversation with David we talked about some potential collaborative projects like the Biblical Recorder, a 19th and 20th century newspaper that we recently had digitized and our collaboration with the DigitalHumanitiesInstitute on the Humanities Institute Faculty Database. It seems that a side outcome of this work will be a laundry list of projects for re-shaping our digital collections at ZSR.

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