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Camtasia, Jing & Snagit – Great tools for educators from TechSmith

In my last post “How to become a Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer” I mentioned using Camtasia, a TechSmith product. It made me reflect on their outstanding products and how I use them in my different roles in Education.

As an Educator, I find myself consistently using software from TechSmith. I have used Camtasia for the last two years at school and Jing for at least that long. In my experience, their software is simple to use with outstanding results.

As a teacher and Technology Coordinator for the Le Grand High School District, I use Jing to quickly take screen-shots and screen-captures to help my students and staff. If I need to easily show someone where the submit button is on the screen or how to reserve a room using Google Calendar, Jing is the software I open. With a few clicks I can quickly take a screen-shot or a screen-capture, save and upload it, and have a URL to email or post for students or teachers to view. I find myself also using Jing more and more for twitter to help answer questions or to ask my own questions.

As a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Certified Trainer I have had the opportunity to be a Lead Learner (presenter) for professional development sessions for educators from around the world.  I have found Snagit to have that professional polish for taking screen-shots to add to my presentations. Snagit is as simple to use as Jing but with some great added features, like drop shadows and transparency to name a couple.

As a blogger and an online teacher, I find Camtasia Studio to be a wonderful tool. Camtasia allows me to make great how-to videos and simply save them locally or send them to Youtube to be published to the world or my class. For on-line courses it’s a must have. I can show and explain the process the students need to perform simply, with no confusion. As a blogger some of my most viewed posts are ones with screen-captures demonstrating cool applications or software. Again, TechSmith makes things easy in Camtasia just like in Jing and Snagit, but still gives you the added features to take your screen-capture productions to the next level.

TechSmith has an Education Community and an Education Blog for more information on using their products in Education.  I would love to hear how others are using these products or similar ones in their classrooms.  Please use the comments below and be sure to leave a link to your How-to’s.

(Full discloser, I have been using Jing and Camtasia for two plus years and was recently given a copy of Jing Pro, Snagit, and Camtasia Studio for free from TechSmith through the Google Certified Teachers group.)

Update: Here are some tweets with links to great examples of TechSmith Products in Education;

DeputyMitchell David Mitchell – @iteachag I don’t have ‘How to’ but my 10 year olds do!http://bit.ly/cUfm4z and this is Thomas: A must watch http://bit.ly/fkoe1O

ianaddison Ian Addison  – @iteachag http://www.stjohnthebaptistprimary.co.uk under staff. @baggiepr‘s are on www.ictvideohelp.co.uk

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Teaching, Tech Tid Bit

 

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How to become a Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer

I have noticed a pattern over the last few weeks of people asking, how do you become a Google Trainer and what does that mean.

The process to become a Google Apps EDU Trainer is fairly straight forward.  I think of there being three stages to this process: Using the Training Center, becoming a Qualified Individual, and finally becoming aCertified Trainer.  The Training Center is always available and it’s your choice if you want to go through all the stages.

The Training Center

The Training Center is available to “teach yourself to become an Apps expert in the classroom.” The great part about the Training Center is that it is broken up into six training modules: Google Apps Education Edition, Apps Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and Other Tools.  What does this mean for you?  It means that if you are in the Training Center to find out more about Calendar, my favorite, you can.  Just go straight to the Calendar Module and become a Calendar expert or look for that one piece of information that you needed.  Don’t forget to use the “Search this site” button in the top right hand corner if you are looking for something specific.  As a teacher you could use the the training center to become more proficient in the use of Google Apps for your classroom.  So if you just want the information, it’s all there waiting for you in the Training Center.

Individual Qualification

If you are interested in testing your new knowledge acquired in the Training Center you can take all six exams.  Passing all six exams will give you the honor of being “Google Apps Education Qualified” and earn you a certificate. Google Apps Certificate The exams are $15 dollars each and you will need to pass each exam with a score of 80% or higher.  You could give your students the chance to become qualified.  I know there are Computer Application courses in high schools that allow students at the end of the course to take tests for certifications for various manufactures of software.  Why not let the student take the tests and at $15 dollars per test, it is very reasonable compared to other exams.

Certified Trainer

You’ve passed all six exams and have decided to go for the gusto and become a Certified Trainer.  Now what?  According to Google, Certified Trainers have extensive experience in teacher training and Apps deployment.  So, if this fits who you are and what you do, go for it.  Here are the requirements from Google’s Program Details web page.

“Certified Trainer” individual applicants must:

  • Have previously achieved ‘Qualified Individual’ status.
  • Demonstrate work history and experience in technology instruction and/or professional development. Strong references from school or business clients are required.
  • Create sample learning materials and provide a short video which demonstrates your ability to create and present instructional material.
  • View the complete application here.

The application is not too difficult, but where most people get hung up is the short video.  If you have given tutorials before in person then you are not that far away from creating a video.  One of the video hang ups is what do I put in the video?  My advice: pick a topic from the training center that you like, something you know how to do, that was new to you, or something that you know colleagues have had problems or questions about in the past.  This will make the video have a personal connection.  Use the Training Center to help you with your script.  The other hang up on the video is how do I create it?  There are numerous versions of screen recording software out there on the web for sale.  There are also a few websites that will let you do the same thing.  I would recommend  Camtasia. It has lots of great tools to cleanup and put the professional touches on your video. Best part is that TechSmith gives you a 30 day trial with no limits.  Here is the video from my application:

And what will you get out of this Certification:

What’s in it for you? As a Google Apps Certified Trainer, you will receive:

  • Early access to technical training and support materials.
  • A Google ‘badge’ for your online marketing, and other marketing collateral.
  • Additional visibility in the Apps Marketplace as a Solutions Provider.
  • Shared training resources from the community of fellow Certified Trainers.

I hope this helps to answer the question.  How do you become a Google Trainer?  Please feel free to ask more questions in the comments.  Now get out there and do some training.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in How To, Teaching

 

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Google Certified Trainer Program and a Google Calendar Labs How-to

I am very excited, I found out today that my application was accepted to become a Google Certified Trainer.

To become a Google Certified Trainer, check out the “Become an Apps Certified Trainer.”  There is a great Training Center and then you will take six exams.  After passing all six exams, you become a Qualified Individual.  The last step to become a Certified Trainer is to fill out an application and produce a two minute video “which demonstrates your ability to create and present instructional material.” (Program Details)  Even if you are not interested in taking the tests, I would recommend using the training center to learn a great deal of information about Google Apps.

Here is the video that I produced as part of the application process. It is on Google Calendar Labs.

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2010 in How To, Teaching, Tech Tid Bit

 

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Google Teacher Academy Video Application Washington D.C. 09

Update: I’ve made it. I have been accepeted to go to the Google Teacher Academy in Washington D.C.

Here is a link to another site that has all of the GTADC videos that have been tweeted. GTADC09

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2009 in Teaching

 

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What would Google do if they ran a school?

I have been reading a book written by Jeff Jarvis, “What Would Google Do?“” The book is very good and it has inspired me to write this blog post and ask the question, what would Google do if it ran a school. I hope Mr. Jarvis is ok with me expanding on his thoughts and topic of his book.

The first idea that I think Google would implement in a school would of course be the twenty percent rule. Just like how Google encourages their employees to work on a project of their own design during 20% of their work schedule. Students would be allowed to use 20% of the week, one day, to work a product of their choosing. Now of course they would need to have the project based on the topic they are studying, but we would be encouraging creativity, self instruction, and self work habits, not to mention teaching the idea of being a life-long learner. The students would not be the only with 20% of their time available. Teachers would also be encouraged to be creative during this time. Imagine the outcome and possibilities that could come out of this time.

The next thing that would be encouraged on campus would be networks. Now education has encouraged networking before. This not a new thing and teachers have been collaborating to improve student learning. This is networking to the next level. Networks between not just teachers but students, parents, staff, and administration.  Remember it is not just the teachers job to teach a student, but the whole village. Google Apps would be the tool of choice in the case of this network. A way to build collaboration on a grand scale, not just on the school site, but in the community as well. I can only imagine what the next Wave will bring (pun intended). Google Wave will allow even more interactivity and hopefully make it easier for this network to excel. It was introduced as the future of email but it is also the future of collaborative document building and networking.

Distributed learning would also be key to a Google run school. Google does not wait for its costumers to come to them; they go to their costumers. They have their information everywhere and allow others to put the information on their own websites. Google also allows individuals to use their services to make their websites better. Just think of the possibilities when schools and teachers start sending the information to the students. Students would not have to go to a teacher’s website; the information the students need to complete an assignment would come to them. This could be many forms: subscriptions to RSS feeds, a YouTube video feed, or even as simple as emails. The students would have it there where they need it, in front of them.

Great companies do a great job of listening to their costumers.  They find out what their costumers need and want out of products.  They monitor the web for information about their products, good or bad.  They take the criticism and accolades of the product and monitor and adjust.  What if we took this practice into education.  Google would implement this process.  Allow students, parents, teachers and administrators to give their opinion on the process.  This could be very scary to the average teacher or administrator.  What if we get crushed with criticism or negative feedback?  Then Google would monitor and adjust.  Of course a company could not fix every tiny glitch, but they could try, and a school should too. Of course we should instruct our students on how to be responsible citizens and criticize in a constructive manner and not just rant.  This is simply building a community that can only build a stronger school.

I know some of these things are happening already by early adopters, forward thinking, and tech savy educators.  Some or all of these things could help change education for the positve.  It cannot just be done by one or two individuals at a school.  The entire school or district needs to make these changes.

Please tell me what you think in the comments.  I would like to hear the positives and negatives.  I am only half way through the book so I hope to have a second post with more ideas and thoughts later.

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2009 in Teaching

 

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