Entries in collaboration (3)

Get Involved: Dancing in the Digital Forest

Here is a chance for everyone to get creative, be part of an International Art Project, and possibly have your art featured in a new app. Whether you are aged 3 or 103 (note: there are no age limits), can't draw for toffee (like one of the iPC team) or can sculpt a digital masterpiece that makes everyone jealous, you are encouraged to submit your Tree to the Dancing in the Digital Forest project.

Organised by digital artist and educator Paul Kercal from Guildford College, Dancing in the Digital Forest is an art project that will encourage participating school-age and FE students to draw their own trees or colour in trees submitted by you and other contributors.

The resulting 'Forest' will be a collection of all the Trees submitted plus the students' creations, displayed in a 50m2 space at London's ExCel exhibition centre from 5 - 8 October 2011. By submitting your Tree picture you could also have it included a Digital Forest app!

Here's some details from the project's Facebook page:

...this is a doodle/art event for anyone. You can be a confident artist or a happy doodler, an unconfident scribbler or a first time picture maker. It's not about who's tree is best, it's about how amazing all of our trees look together...

All we need from you is a tree: can be colour, black and white, abstract, realistic, sketched on paper, painted on iPad, up to you. A tree which you are happy for the college to add to the app and the picture. 

Please check out the Facebook page for more details and get involved. There are already some great submissions, including the lovely tree below from 5 year old Mateo Guijarro using the Brushes app on iPod Touch: 

CourseNotes 2.0 - Share Notes via Facebook (and more)


The first version of the CourseNotes app launched at the same time as the iPad earlier this year, but the app's Developers, Dear Panda LLC, have just released a number of significant new features with their 2.0 version.

In addition to the previous functionality that included:

  • Creating and organising notes/sketches in various ways
  • Creating To-do or assignment reminders
  • Integrated research tools to add to notes
  • E-mail and network sharing
  • A very attractive UI

the new features are:

  • Online export of notes, for viewing, sharing or printing notes online
  • In-app viewing of friends' shared notes
  • Support for bullet list formatting in notes
  • Premium note content available for in-app purchase


Top Two

The two big features that stood out to us are 1) online sharing of notes and 2) the new premium content.

Online sharing takes the previous functionality a bit further and sits well with students who would no doubt already be avid users of Facebook. The app uses Facebook account verification to sync your notes online and make them available via a custom link that can be automatically shared via Facebook. There are three online sharing options:

  • Just Me - no sharing
  • My Friends - allowing existing Friends on Facebook to share your notes
  • Everybody - allowing any user of CourseNotes to see your notes

Additionally, you can login and see what notes your friends are sharing for all subjects they have made public. So if you were ill and missed that very important pre-test class, you can add your friend's notes to your iPad from their Facebook link, right inside the app.

This is in addition to the ad-hoc network and email sharing that was available before, so students really have a nice range of collaborative options with this new version. Facebook comments and feedback are starting to pick up with this release, so that should help spur on further development of these features.


Premium content comes to CourseNotes via in-app purchase and initially takes the form of just two study guides, 'French verb conjugations' and 'the Periodic Table of the Elements', with the Press Release stating: "Additional study-sheets on topics including Art History and U.S. History will follow shortly after the launch."

'Shows Potential'

We are not sure who is developing these guides, but at up to $2.99 per purchase we are hoping that the quality and authority of the study guides is being verified. In a way, they can only be very generalist without official textbook Publishers being involved, unlike Inkling's official textbook replacement offering we covered last week.

That being said, with the addition of a raft of useful and popular learning resources CourseNotes could become the full-blown study companion and central repository that students need on their iPads.

If Dear Panda can build up a decent range of study aids very quickly then they could establish themselves as the go-to resource for iPad wielding students who want to share and learn together using a device that is always with them and instantly available.

Without the hassle of waiting for the OS to start up or booking a slot to use the Library PCs, students can already share, collaborate and research topics wherever they happen to be with the iPad using an app like CourseNotes.

CourseNotes 2.0 is out now in the app store at $4.99 (£2.99), a brief overview can be seen in the video below.

If you have tried CourseNotes out on your iPad and have any thoughts about it at all we would love to hear from you in the comments.

Corkulous - Organise Creative Ideas visually

When you have a creative idea that you want to capture, it is usually essential (for us anyway) that you capture at least the essence of it there and then. In days gone by, writing it down with a traditional pen/pencil and paper was reassuringly tangible, if very analogue. But it was not long before that piece of paper was lost amongst the tens, maybe hundreds, of other scraps of paper we have in our 'filing' system, unless we pinned it onto our little office cork board that everyone had hanging on the wall.

We have fond memories of the Stickies desktop app on our Macs (in fact it is still included with the latest Apple OS). Stickies would let us quickly record all those little thoughts, ideas, and 'to-do' things on different coloured digital versions of the sticky notes, posted all over our computer desktop. Whether we actually did anything with those scraps of information or not is another matter, but it was great to be able to capture these thoughts and arrange them.

Enabling us to do this digitally on our 'take everywhere', larger screened portable device seems to be the goal of a number of developers, and there have been a few 'corkboard' apps released since the iPad launched, so the idea is not necessarily new to be honest, but Appigo seem to have created a lovely looking app in Corkulous, which is a little bit more than just a stickies creator.

Appigo call Corkulous 'an ideas board' app and say that they have 'many awesome features planned', but their first release is fairly impressive and looks like a nice way to capture creative ideas before they vanish. Cork boards can be added to group ideas together, and you can even embed one cork board into another. You can also add Labels, Photos, Contacts from the iPad address book and even Tasks, all from a gorgeous roll out filing cabinet drawer interface.

From their site:

Corkulous follows the metaphor of a cork board where users can arrange notes, labels, tasks, contacts, and photos to visualize ideas. Related ideas can be easily placed together and aligned using automatic guides which help to snap items into place. Also supported in the app are multiple boards. As ideas grow, users can create new boards and group related ideas in separate virtual spaces.

At the moment the app is focussed on individual use but Appigo are planning to introduce more collaborative features in the future for sharing ideas, which we think can benefit designers, artists, photographers and other creatives who are working with others.

The video below demonstrates these features very nicely so check it out. Corkulous has introductory pricing of $2.99 (£1.79) with free upgrades to the added functionality promised. It looks like a lot of thought and careful design has gone into this app and we think this may well find a place in our creative planning process in the future.