#ocTEL Week 3 Activity 3.1: Creating your own materials

Have a look at one of the following tools (choose one you are not already familiar with) and consider its application in your context.

  • How easy was it to understand how this tool worked?
  • How quickly and easily would you find it to use?
  • How could you apply this tool in your own teaching?
  • What does this tool offer that has advantages over your current practice?

The choice here of a tool with which I was not familiar was very easy as I had never heard of, let alone, tried, any of them. So, having not much else to do on this rainy, grey Saturday morning, I threw myself with great gusto into trying them out.

The first deception came quite quickly. At first glance, Xerte looked like a really interesting option with a whole suite of tools and some very encouraging comments by happy users on the home page. So, without further ado, I set about downloading it. I figured that the smart thing to do would be to start with the most recent version. I downloaded that but didn’t get any invite at the end to execute the programme. After messing around looking for exec. File on my computer, I decided to try downloading the other programmes that were on offer. After doing that, I finally decided to take a look at some of the other pages and came across instructions of how to do this – already feeling quite peeved by the whole experience, being told that I had to install something else, reconfigure something or another and then move some files from one place to another… well, let’s just say it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. So, for the moment, and until I build up the courage and find the time to go back to this, Xerte is inert on my computer and I have no idea what I could potentially do with it.

I don’t expect to have to go through this kind of manipulation now to install software. I can do it, but I really don’t like to have to do it – especially for the sake of evaluatiing the potential usefulness of the thing 😉

So, I decided to have a look at another one and took a logical, linear approach moving straight to Glomaker. I checked out one of the samples about referencing work and, yes, I could see possibilities with this. Again there were technical glitches with the questions – most of them didn’t work on my computer. However, it already had an « old-fashioned » feel about it so I didn’t stay around too long.

Cmap, Popplet and Mindjet are not for me at the moment. I don’t seem to think in a way that fits into this kind of mapping and I quickly decided that I didn’t want to spend any time with these – I have played about with this kind of thing in the past and still have some software that I unstalled and which has remained untouched since my initial trials. Oh, yes, the other thing about these programmes that put me off was that they weren’t all  free.

Next came Touchcast and that had me REALLY excited. I wanted to get stuck into that immediately. By the time the preview video was finished I was already thinking about how, when and where I could use this. Then the fun and games started. It’s a beta version, no direct download etc. Anyway, I signed up received the email, created my account and got ready to start. I was able to watch one sample Touchcast and then clicked on the create button. The programme crashed and an error message was sent. I tried 3 times and 3 times the programme crashed. I rebooted the computer and tried again, it crashed. I gave up and moved to the next one on the list – Camtasia.

Camtasia – thanks, but no thanks. Same for Jing. Paying, free trials etc. I tjhink I’m becoming really addicted to the idea of « open ». Nothing like the buzz that I had when arriving on the Touchcast site. It already felt « old » – it’s starting to remind me of the last time I was in Berlin moving from the old eastern side to the western and vice versa.

Screencast-o-matic – Lots of things I didn’t like about some of the others, rolled into one ! Probably way too harsh, but I’m done with looking at these things for one day.

I was looking forward to this activity. It ended up eating up my whole Saturday morning (and now part of my Saturday evening) and I haven’t really been able to evaluate anything or answer all the questions posed. I will try and go back to Xerte as something tells me that it’s worth making the effort and I will definitely persevere with Touchcast as I think this has huge potential. Anyway, I think I deserve a badge today just for hanging in there 😉  Quite seriously, this activity – without really having produced anything tangible (activity, video etc.) has taken me more like 3-6 hours than 30-60 minutes 😉

Here are some cool things other participants have suggested:

A French tool – coccoricco, as they say over here – that I will check out. Thanks to Julie Tardy for pointing this one out on her blog.

http://scenari-platform.org/projects/scenari/fr/pres/co/

Thanks to Elizabeth E Charles for this one : http://www.scoop.it/t/everything-open

A nice example of how Screencast-o-matic can be used to change a Powerpoint presentation into a different format : http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/c2hYDNnaW9

Thanks to Moira Sarsfield for sharing this.

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