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07 December 2008 @ 01:05 pm
Preparing to experience the joy of Inkscape  

Originally published at KatteKrab. Please leave any comments there.

Deep into preparations for the Inkscape tutorial I'm giving at linux.conf.au in Hobart in January, I've been practicing techniques and recording them using RecordMyDesktop. It is a Linux application that does exactly what it says, screencast and audio recording of what's happening on screen.  It works very well!

This was inspired by heathenx and rfguerin's fantastic screen casts. They've also followed these up by creating a group on flickr for people to post examples of the work they've done inspired by the screencasts. It's interesting to see how other people express their learning and apply their own creativity and perspective.

But the HeathenX screencasts and other online tutorials make me wonder about the value of a same-time, same-place tutorial in some random room, at some random conference, when one can learn so much from following step-by-step how-to's and watching videos on you tube.

Does the value lie in the quality of the learning environment? Is it the chance to collaborate with peers? We often learn just as much from the questions of fellow learners. During a recent interview Michael Wesch said something along these lines [1]. So I'm looking at resources such as Wikiversity's article on Instructional Design to see if there are tried and true methods I can build on.

I reckon there also has to be shortcuts - most people want to use a tool to accomplish a task, not spend hours scaling the rocky cliffs of the ugly end of the learning curve. So helping beginners get past that stage will be one of the major aims of this tutorial. But I also need to have something there for more experienced users of Inkscape. A couple of gurus and developers who could put my meagre knowledge to shame will be at the conference too, so if they come to heckle, I hope they'll get something out of this too, and perhaps learn something about learning inkscape they can take back to help build the world's best open source scalable vector editor.

Refs:

1. Interview with Michael Wesch

Note: This was posted at http://www.kattekrab.net/ and -fingers crossed- automatically posted back to LiveJournal