Teach a little, learn a loT
Keywords: Camtasia, tutorials, multimedia, photo-editing
After four years slowly working towards my Masters in Journalism while also teaching full time, this blog marks a milestone: my last assignment for my last grad class. (Well, except for the big research paper and professional project I'm finishing this summer, but that's Future!Kristin's problem.)
For this final project, I developed a tutorial using Camtasia, a screen-capturing video program on steroids. I'd often wondered how people made dynamic tutorials with fun animations — arrows pointing at content, speech bubbles clarifying context, screens zooming in to help the viewer focus — but I figured whatever program they were using was too complex for a full-time teacher to tackle.
Camtasia may be a bit pricey for a longterm solution, but I was really impressed with how quickly I was able to pick it up during the free trial. You can see my first attempt at an animated tutorial later in this post. I see enormous potential for this as a teaching tool.
`Camtasia creators TechSmith have done an outstanding job putting together their own tutorials (created, of course, with Camtasia) to walk a beginner like me through the process of creating a new video. These five tutorials start simple and grow increasingly more complex as they review the process of recording and editing the initial video, adding transitions and animations, playing with effects, editing audio and finally producing and sharing the final product.
I appreciate the fact that a new user can choose a level of challenge rather than have to learn to do it all at once. As I started playing with the program, I explored and used some of the more advanced options, but it's clear I could do a lot more with time and practice.
The only downside is the price tag. I had planned to only use the free trial, but the video export in that mode includes a huge watermark across the middle of the video that made it practically unreadable (which is, I'm sure, the point). They were running a special $99 deal today for Mac users, and I ended up taking the plunge so I could export something I can actually use. Don't get me wrong — this is great software and worth the price, but it was an unexpectedly steep final cost.
I chose to create a tutorial on basic photo placement and editing using InDesign and Photoshop because these skills are so foundational to my new yearbook staffers. I don't know how useful it would be for other programs since it's so specific to our process, but I'm excited already to have it available in the fall with my new staff.
“And though she be but little, she is fierce!” -A Midsummer Night’s Dream