I was fortunate enough to be given a copy of Camtasia earlier this week. I am already a big fan of Jing, so I jumped right in to check out "big brother." There's nothing better than tormenting my sixth graders with my ability to follow them home! I link my videos to the homework calendar so that students can get help using software if they need it.
Also, this one's for Tara who commented that she couldn't get to the earlier videos because her school blocked them (more about that later). These are Flash videos hosted on our school server.
I used the two programs to make the two parts of a training series for new faculty on how to make a blog using First Class, our email system. Here's part one, which covers how to set up the blog, including assigning permissions for commenting (important for blogs by younger students). I made this one with Camtasia (expensive):
Part two shows how to view the blog online and post a comment. I made this one with Jing (free):
They don't seem that different to me. Judge for yourself. I feel incredibly self-conscious about my voice, so please don't make fun of me (for that, anyway). Now, I admit that there are about 500+ features of Camtasia that I haven't even touched. If I decide to go there, I'm sure I'll appreciate Camtasia more. Both are quick and easy though, which is important to me. I'm not a perfectionist, I think that getting the job done, and accepting a few flaws, means that I'll try more than if I insist everything I produce be perfect.
About Tara not being able to see the Jing videos I blogged about last month. I find it sad and infuriating that there are teachers who can't utilize the power of the web through the short-sightedness of their school policies. In my graduate school class this semester, I was the only one in my group who had the rights to download software onto the laptop my school provided for me. The rest (including an administrator!) had to ask someone in their technology department to do it. They told me that it got done when the tech people had time, and then the answer might be no. So much for spontaneity. So much for empowering teachers to be independent learners. One of the teachers told me that her tech people were just too busy to get people out of the messes they would get themselves into. I'm sure she was repeating what she'd been told. Honestly, how on earth are we going to inspire teachers to continue to learn new technologies if we block them from experimenting and making "social" connections with other educators?? No wonder folks sit around and wait for a workshop.
I am so grateful to be teaching at my school. First--faculty have a different level of filtering than students. It's minimal. Students are blocked from YouTube, but teachers aren't, so if there's a video a teacher wants to share, they just broadcast it using a projector. Last week I found out about Animoto's free for education program (which rocks, btw) on Classroom2.0. I emailed the network guy who manages our filter and in less than 30 minutes Animoto was unblocked. No forms, no justification, just "I need to check this out for our students." I can download anything I want and completely trash my system anytime I want and get it re-imaged back to the way it was when I got it without a lecture. Of course, I'm the tech integrationist, so everything I download is thoroughly checked out prior to yes, yes, okay, I accept. What's that sound? Oh, our help desk manager is laughing hysterically. Well, maybe I experiment, a little. I figure in order to teach adolescents about technology, I need to use it the way they do, right? In any case, I am truly grateful for the technology access that encourages me to teach myself, teach the kids, and trusts me to behave professionally because I am a professional and not because someone is making me. Will mistakes me made along the way? Sure. It's worth it.