Choosing Tools to Make Your Stories Interactive

Great interactive stories use tools that complement their content, enhance reader understanding, and not solely tools that shine or flash or sparkle. You can create such interactive stories. To do so, form your story first, then add meaningful interactivity with tools.
Gather all your contentBefore deciding on a tool, gather all your content into one place. Images, text, tweets -- paste them all into a Google Doc, or pin them to a tackboard. Then, ask questions like: What sticks out? What is similar? Do I have relevant photographs? Put those things next to each other. This helps uncover the ideas, forms, and possibility inherent in your content that will inform your tool choice later.

Note meaningful dimensionsYour beautiful new mix of images and text likely tells a story. Before adding interactivity to that story, note the dimensions over which it progresses. These are a few you might consider: TimeSpace/GeographySoundVisualDimensions such as these are often difficult, or dull, to expre…

One-Button Studio for Easy Recording

NOTE: There is a newer 1:Button Studio article here.

Recently the University of Minnesota built a "1:Button Studio" on West Bank Campus for use by anyone who needs a quick and easy space for recording. But how quick and easy is it? I had to see for myself!
So the Quick Bytes crew went for a little field trip. Oh Yeah!
Enjoy this video and then I'll get into the details below!

I didn't know Jack McTigue very well before this, and I'm pretty sure he thinks I'm completely nuts after this.

Regardless. The facility is there for nuts and non-nuts alike. Equal nut-protunity. Here's how it works.

Step 1.

Reserve the Studio space. For now while the studio is new, you email to get on the calendar and get a quick orientation. Going forward, you should just be able to request it via Google Calendar. Pick up a studio key at a Tech Stop on campus, or follow the instructions that you have been given for access. Show up looking gorgeous at the Studio.

Step 2. 

In the studio, turn on the light switch to power it all up. Plug in your laptop. Then enter your email and press the giant green "Start Recording" button on the studio's iPad.


Step 3.

Press button again to stop recording.
The recording of the CAMERA, COMPUTER SCREEN, and a COMPOSITE OF THE TWO (3 separate video files) will be emailed to you within about a day. (examples of these are in the video above). They are available for you to download for about 2 weeks so save them down to your computer or Google Drive.

Step 5.

IF you need to edit your video (optional!), you will need to convert it to work in Windows (since it came from an iPad....). Luckily for us, this is ridiculously easy with the U's Media Hub. Like 2 clicks easy. After it's converted (conversion is no longer necessary as of 11/2016), you can edit in Windows Movie Maker (Quick Byte on Movie Maker here) or whatever software you like.

Step 6.

Upload to the video site of your choice (I recommend YouTube).

They are building two more of these 1:Button Studios on East Bank, opening next semester: Diehl Hall and Walter Library. They are also experimenting with adding (optional) platforms for short people, and the Diehl Hall one will be a seated/accessible configuration.

The space is open to anyone at the U and is getting used by students especially frequently, and they are loving it. They record presentations and TED style talks for their classes.

What could you imagine using it for? 

Would one in St. Paul get used by Extension? I'd love to hear your ideas!


  1. WOW! Quick, easy and looks like FUN! Count me in if you get it in St. Paul. Or can we in Extension book at the site it's located at now? Way-to-go Tech Team!

  2. Anyone at the U can book any of the existing 1:buttons! Plus one in St. Paul will likely be in the near future!!

    1. I would love to see one on the St. Paul campus!!! I think we'd be much more likely to use it if a drive wasn't involved.


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