Over the past few days I have created a tutorial video for using Edmodo. I hope it will be of use to those of you who haven’t yet begun using this wonderful resource for educators.
I created the video using the screen capturing software Camtasia. Although this is not the first tutorial video I’ve created, I wanted to increase my skills and enhance the quality of my video. I watched tutorial videos on how to include arrows, highlights, and other graphics to emphasize important elements, and how to use the universal design element of captioning at the bottom of the screen for viewers who need or prefer this method of getting information. Whew— it felt like it took me forever to create this video! First I made a script and mapped out the screenshots for each chunk of text. Then I recorded myself, made edits, added graphic elements and then the captions. The final step was to post the video. Although the final product will likely not win awards, and my family wasn’t overly interested in viewing my production, I am pleased with myself and with the results.
This challenging process caused me to think about how we now use technology to create a personal identity that goes out into the world. A blog post, a self-published ebook, and yes, a tutorial video, are all ways of conveying the message, “Hey world, I have something to say.” From the time of cave drawings and the first spoken words, humans have created messages that reflect what is important to them and to those around them. In our modern world, the stick dipped in berry dye and the stone have been replaced with the keyboard and online tools. Not only can we digitally share our ideas in many ways, we can also receive feedback from others. This flow of sharing ideas and receiving feedback (even if it’s from someone you’ll never meet) creates a connection between people. This connection is at the heart of communication and is an important component of what helps communicators of all ages to become skilled and confident.
Young people need opportunities to create their personal identity as communicators, and many of these opportunities can and should include the creation and sharing of digital content. Of course, this should occur in a way that’s age-appropriate and safe. For example, student writing can be shared on a class website, using the free website creation tool Weebly.com. An avatar and sound file can be created using the website Voki.com, so that students can share their writing in their own voice. The website Voice Thread lets students record their voices and images of their own work or other graphics, and also record spoken comments about the work of others. Many other online tools exist to help students create and messages. The key is to have students focus on the quality of the message, the way it conveys their ideas, and the connection that can be formed when others come to know a person by viewing these digital messages.
For me, the impact was powerful. After creating my tutorial video, I can now do something I could not do before. This has impacted my view of myself – my personal identity as a literate person. Maybe I was too hasty – hey, where is that awards committee?
Feedback is welcome!