#ocTEL week 4: Camtasia

Week 4 of ocTEL was a bit like week 0 for me: I spent a lot of time feeling quite dislocated from the subject matter and reaching for something I could use.

I have to say I didn’t find all this talk about engagement via open educational resources (OERs) very, erm, engaging though. Openness and collaboration between institutions is a fine idea if your main objective is to further the cause of TEL. And obviously pooling production resources offers major cost savings. But without sounding too mercenary, aren’t we all competitors too? If a course relies heavily on OERs, then where’s the unique selling point from the student’s point of view? Wouldn’t unique, copyright-protected learning materials be a massive competitive advantage and therefore worth investing in?

Channelling the buccaneering spirit of the MOOC, I decided to skip on to looking at a tool for producing learning resources. And as I was talking to a developer this morning about Camtasia, I was really interested in checking it out. It looks like a fantastic tool: you can create and edit your own videos, import videos/music/photos and record an audio commentary. I particularly liked the way you could highlight, zoom and write by hand, and the fact that you could build in interactive quizzes. One key issue for us is whether it supports non-western character sets – I’m waiting for a response to my tweet to the developers about this.

The Camtasia website has some great case studies, including the inspirational example of Aaron Sams, a US science teacher, ‘flipping’ his classroom. He recorded his lessons via Camtasia and asked students to watch them at home, and then used class time to do experiments, resolve questions and interact. This approach, he says, teaches children to learn for themselves and by themselves, rather than listening passively to lectures in class and then completing assignments in isolation at home. Importantly, he had clearly thought about how best to deliver the lessons via this medium, rather than just pointing a video camera at himself while he delivered a lecture.

This was all a wee bit mind-blowing. Suddenly I went from disorientation to curiosity to excitement. Cheers ocTEL!


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