Saturday, November 6, 2010

Give it a try!

This summer, the district began a cadre of teachers who wanted to learn how to make video tutorials using Screenflow, a program that records audio, video, and actions on your screen. I knew this could be extremely useful in various settings, so I signed up. Each month, we have assignments on which educational technology tools we are to create a screencast about. The theory is that it takes about an hour of work for every minute of video you create, and district wants 3 minute videos. Unfortunately, mine tend to take closer to an hour and a half of work for each minute of completed video. But, they end up being very effective, so it's exciting.

My first video was about Wallwisher, an online sticky note website. It got pretty good reviews from district personnel, so I was happy about that. For the next month, I made one on Google Lit Trips. Google Lit Trips were created by a guy named Jerome Burg and they basically take books and plot their locations in Google Earth. Then, all users do is download the "layer" in Google Earth and it automatically flies to those locations and brings up comments, discussion questions, quotes, etc. from the book. Some of the books they have done this with include "Make Way for Duckling" and "Grapes of Wrath."

My video was posted on our district website and Youtube channel about a week ago. On Friday before I left school, I got a phone call from one of the district Instructional Technology Specialists (which I aspire to be ;-)), and he read me the following comment left on the video on Youtube:
This is Jerome Burg, from Google Lit Trips. I just wanted to thank you for your excellent introduction to the project. I'm honored by your kind words. I don't know if you noticed the new link to videos on the front page, but that link is actually a search string that finds all YouTube videos about Google Lit Trips. I just tested it and sure enough yours shows up.
Thanks again, it means much to me.
I was so excited to see that 1) ANYONE saw what I made, and 2) that one of the people who saw it was the creator of the whole thing! It was definitely exciting to see the power of the web :-) It once again strengthened my view that you won't get anywhere in life without putting yourself out there. It's true: someone might say no, it might not work, people might not like it, etc. but you'll never know if you don't try. In my case, it's not like there aren't smarter, more tech-savvy people out there (there are TONS), but I'm slowly getting closer to my goal, just by trying things out and occasionally failing, but often succeeding.

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