Thursday, February 7, 2013

Best Experience Using Educational Technology

Those little moments where you see a student have an aha moment is what really makes our jobs as educators gratifying. We have those experiences whether or not we are using ed tech or not.  I found that when you use technology properly, you see a big increase of how many aha moments you'll get.

The best experience I had was before I started in the ed tech program at CCSU. I teach a 3D modeling (CAD) software called Autodesk Inventor.  I was very confident in my personal skills using the program, but underestimated how tough it would be for eighth graders to pick up.  My first time teaching it I was all excited to transfer my knowledge of the program to the students, but as a new teacher didn't realize the difficulties I would be facing.  The fact that students frequently are absent, pulled from class for whatever reason, classes get cut short for assemblies and field trips are just some of the obstacles that I have to deal with just to name a few.  The biggest problem I dealt with was getting students up to speed who missed a class or two.  While I could go over and show them one on one what to do, that would leave the rest of the class restless and confused.  If I assigned a student helper to coach them along, I found that the helper would be doing all the work and not showing the student who is behind how to use the program.  Written instructions left the students overwhelmed, screen shots of the step by step process were not doing the trick either.  Something needed to be done!  I started to wonder how people made tutorial videos on youtube.  I did some research and tried downloading a program called CamStudio to capture my tutorial videos. I would not recommend the program to my enemy. It was confusing and I had to do more work to get the video ready than it was worth.  I then started searching screen capture software on Google, and stumbled upon screencast-o-matic.  What a life saver to say the least.  I could easily create tutorial videos for my students, save them in whatever file type they needed to be in or even post them directly to Youtube.  Creating tutorial videos for each of their projects saved me and my students so much time and frustration in class.  I was now able to have students download the program and work at home or sit them down at a computer and have them catch up in a couples days worth of work in about 45 minutes.  I noticed an overall improvement in all my students ability and my sanity during the unit.

All in all, there is technology out there to help everybody achieve that aha moment.  My aha moment came after the first time I stumbled onto screencast-o-matic. What's yours?


  1. Joe,
    I find I have the same problem especially with the "student helper" I tell my students to be a teacher not to do the work for the students but you are right it hardly ever works! I love screencast o matic. I had to use it last semester it is so easy. I teach younger grades and reading can be a challenge for them so wtching the video can be useful. I havent used it in my class yet but I;m planning on it.

  2. I will never forget when you showed me screencast-o-matic last year--I agree that it gives you your very own aha moment! I have used it since then to create my own videos. It's one of those "behind the scenes" pieces of technology that we teachers benefit from as well as the students.