Without the playing with fantasy
no creative work has ever yet come to birth.
The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.
I’ve been waiting for this since 1961. Back then I had a summer job through an Indiana University research grant. In the study, one group of children sat in a traditional classroom to learn reading skills. The members of the other group received individual instruction using a mechanical device. The device used scrolled paper to lead the student through practice cycles. I was a machine facilitator. On the bus ride home after each session, I dreamed of a science-fiction device that would replace the clunky machine.
I was a nursing instructor in the early 70s when I took a course about developing self-instructional packages. I even wrote a package that focused upon learning how to compose and evaluate a plan in a variety of settings. Since it was non-linear, I realized I needed to have control over the book design process so I went back to school. I studied graphic design and have focused upon publication design ever since.
When I bought my first personal computer in 1982 (4k and no hard drive or software), I taught myself basic programming so I could compose small learning packages. I recall that my first program had something to do with multiplication tables. When it worked, I thought about the twenty years of baby steps I’d taken toward the kind of learning tool I dreamed about in 1961.
Having spent hours formatting eBooks in the past couple of years, and searching for ways to create interactive, enhanced books without having to learn programming, I told myself that we are getting close. Then I read the news on my iPad last night and saw an article about iBooks Author. I fell asleep and dreamed of the science-fiction device I used to think about riding the bus. In the middle of the night, I awoke and knew I’d not go back to sleep until I fired up my computer and installed iBooks Author.
When I opened this software, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I am familiar with the interface because it is similar to other Apple applications so I only have to learn some details. Then I’ll kick start my imagination, and I am on my way to doing what I dreamed about 50 years ago.