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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.
[Carl Jung]

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.

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