Merging the analog and the digital

Anthony Caruana
9 May, 2018
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A couple of weeks ago, asked you all whether an iPad and Apple pencil could replace the humble pen and paper. I received many messages, making suggestions to try Notability, Apple’s Notes app and a few others. One reader, Paul, noted that as a teacher handwriting was still important as it’s the primary assessment method used in school. As a former teacher and the parent of children still in the education system I can understand that point of view – although I still don’t understand why electronic assessment hasn’t moved ahead over the last five decades since I was a kid.

Several readers told me they really liked Notability so I device to give it a try. You can read my full review below but the short version is “I like it”.

But what I’m finding is that my workflow is starting the spread across multiple apps. Even Apple’s iBooks app is part of my workflow as its the easiest place to store PDFs I receive for later reading. From there, I can use the Apple Pencil to annotate and scribble my own notes. For example, I finished writing a story for a client the other day. I sent the story as a PDF to iBooks on my Mac which since to my iPad via iCloud.

I then opened the PDF on the iPad while i was sitting on the couch that evening an edited my document and made notes – just like the old days when I’d use the red pen on a student’s homework.

When I got back to my desk the next morning, i had the annotated copy on my iPad next to me on the desk, and I edited the document on my Mac.

In effect, I took and old analog process and gave it a 21st century digital spin.

I guess some of that is a reflection of my age. I’ve started my sixth decade so my life has spanned the transition from a largely analog world through to the digital. And while I love the way technology has changed many things for the better I still find comfort in doing some things “the old way”.

What I discovered over the last couple of weeks is that i can gave my cake and eat it too. I can use a pen and paper – albeit electronic versions – to read and edit documents without the environmental cost of printing onto actual paper. The home office printer used to be on all the time “just in case’ but it’s now powered off.

I’m curious – how have you used digital technology to bridge the gap between familiar analog processes and the new world.

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