From Sophisticated to Simple

What happens when you ask media communications students to abandon their mighty MacBooks and sophisticated software to try out a new mobile app?

Full Sail Media Communications Student Astha Shrestha

As it turns out… a lot.

I recently challenged my students to tell a story using the new Clips app from Apple. I asked them to reflect on their experience in the course and to demonstrate the various features of the app using a rich combination of images, video, and audio.

Sounds simple, right?

I knew my students would be challenged with this exercise. You see, as part of their tuition, Full Sail students are given a MacBook Pro and all the industry standard software they need to tote around a professional studio on their backs. They’re used to applications that perform infinite functions and allow a granular level of control over their creations.

With such robust functionality, what’s the benefit of going from sophisticated to simple?

The answer, we found, was speed.

Using a mobile app with limited presets forced my students into a rapid prototyping experience. Instead of debating typefaces and colors or auditioning endless soundtracks, the students could very quickly execute their ideas.

One of the major benefits of using a simplified app was the ability to focus on articulating and communicating a message without getting distracted by an overwhelming amount of bells and whistles. 

Another benefit of using the app was the intuitiveness of the interface. Editing programs like Final Cut Pro or Premiere can be intimidating and have a pretty steep learning curve. In contrast, my students were able to download Clips and create a relevant, reflective piece having no prior experience with the app.

We did face some challenges along the way. Not every student had a iPhone and many of the ones that did needed an IOS update to run the app. These minor hiccups added an unintended, but valuable layer of teamwork and problem solving to the activity.

Most students embraced challenge, but a few felt their creativity was handcuffed by the limited presets available in the mobile app. As we debriefed the experience, students shared they appreciated the ability to give life to an idea quickly and then allow that momentum to propel them to their next best step. For some that meant revising their first draft and for others it meant starting over completely, but with more intent. For all it was a valuable exercise in the simplification and distillation of a concept.