“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” —Bill Gates

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Creating Tutorials with Jing

What’s the next best thing to explaining something in person? The answer is…a video! You’ve heard the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well, imagine how much a video can be worth.

There’s a really easy and powerful tool you can use to create video tutorials. You can record what’s going-on on your screen and add your voice along the way. Easily!

I’ve created some step-by-step tutorials with the help of screenshots, text, arrows, and shapes. This is great if your user wants to print them out, take notes, or if you have a limited amount of storage space. However, they take sometimes longer to prepare and put together than recording and explaining through a quick video.

The tool I’m talking about is Jing, a product from TechSmith that's so easy to use and to share. That’s not all, you will also find a number of helpful tutorials on how to use it. 
View of the Jing tools that show on your desktop.

You can download the application for free and record videos that are up to 5 minutes long. Hey, who wants to see a longer video anyway? I think it’s best to have short videos, showing small chunks of information.

The best thing I just found out, is that the videos can be shared via mail, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr and you can even embed the html code anywhere. Just what I wanted! I am so excited because today I was creating a tutorial and I learned about this, so I decided to share with you.

You can still share via a URL, after the video has been uploaded to Screencast. A content hosting site, that offers 2 Gb of free storage space or download as a swf file.

The teachers love it when I send them a Jing tutorial on how to do something. But what they like the most is having the option to watch it again and again, as needed. They say it’s like having me there whenever they need me. How about that? Try it yourself you’ll like it too.


P.S. Here's a sample Jing tutorial as a URL and as an embedded video.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How it all started

Here's my story.

I started working as a technology teacher back in 1996. I was assigned to the PK and Kinder groups. After a couple of years, I moved on to working with the first, second and third graders. A few years later, I moved again, now I was with fourth and fifth graders. I felt so right at home that I continued in the same position for 12 more years!

I’m still working at the same school, ASF of Monterrey, however my role has changed. I am currently the technology training specialist for the elementary grades. This means I help teachers learn how to use the technology. I haven’t forgotten about the kids, don't worry, as I still participate in the technology integration classes and team-teach with the homeroom teacher.

Two years ago, thanks to the vision of our tech integration specialist (a brand new position at the time) this new position opened up. Of course, I didn’t think twice and I applied for the job. Actually, training teachers was nothing new to me. Since my early years at ASFM I’ve been involved with training teachers. Well, who else? Oh yes, the other tech teachers too. There were three of us. We had it all worked out, we divided all the teachers and each of us chose which teams to work with. I was always in charge of the Spanish and Specialist teachers for sure.
This is me many years ago, in a session I think was called "The One Computer Classroom". Check out the TV I was using to project my presention and the LC575's. We've come a long way!

We were really into training. We thought we were heading in the right direction. At some point in time, I surveyed the teachers, developed a training program according to their replies, and then we’d meet with them certain days after school. That was fine at that time. The tech expectations were not that demanding. But now, with so much technology deployed at school, with the school’s updated technology vision, and very importantly, in trying to support the development of the 21st century skills through the use of technology, tech training has become a vital component in our school for all staff members and students alike.

I love my job! mostly because I keep learning and learning and learning and discovering new things. I continue my search for best practices in teacher training and will share through this blog what I have found, what resources we've used, and bits and pieces of my daily experience, that I hope you will find useful.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hello World!

Hello World!

This is how I started my first tweet some years ago and this is how I start my first public blog. I am trying to reach anyone out there that shares the same interests I have.

The purpose of this blog is to share my experience as a technology trainer at an elementary school. I will be posting what has worked for me, any resources I recommend, and in general, the day to day experiences I go through in my daily life.

Check back frequently and feel free to comment and share your experiences too.

Let the learning begin!