NETS-T (2a)

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Mr. West


The NETS-T standard 2 (indicator A) states that the teacher will

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S. Teachers:

  1. design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity


I've spent the past 3 years teaching computers, and in using technology, there's a pattern I saw:

  • I have to teach a new skill on the computer, so I model it. Sometimes I have to repeat the same information 6 times a day
  • At least one child is sick in each class, so that I get the opportunity to teach that same skill when the absent children return.
  • Some children missed something in the original instruction and need the skills re-taught.

I bet that sounds familiar. So last year, I started using Jing so that I could make sure I taught the same skills consistently across classes. And if a student came in after a lesson, that student could benefit from the same instruction that the whole class received. Additionally, students could be re-taught by "me" on video while I was helping another student. Jing was helping me work smarter, not harder.

If all you need is a video of yourself, you don't need Jing

In the Putnam County School System, my Mac came with QuickTime Pro; I believe we have a site license for that software. That means it can record. My Macbook has a built-in microphone and webcam. That's all I (and you) need.

The iBook G4 laptops had built-in mics (as did the iMacs), but Apple obfuscates (i.e. hides) the microphone into the laptop's design; the mic is located on the right-hand side of your laptop screen:

It's worth noting that when I scanned that laptop (yes, I just laid another laptop on a scanner and stored the image on my laptop), I noticed that the placement of that laptop's microphone was lower than mine and these are both MacBooks, but mine is newer. So you may have to look around a bit to find your microphone, but it's there. When you record, if you gently brush your finger across the microphone, it will sound like someone is assaulting your laptop.

How To Configure Quicktime For It's Best Performance

Open Quicktime. Next to the Apple Icon (upper left corner of your screen), click on the words "QuickTime Player" and go down the menu until you see Preferences (not Quicktime Preferences):

From that screen, click on the recording icon (it looks like a camera). Then toggle (change) the quality to "Device Native" (use the up and down arrows on the right to change the quality). Don't worry about the other settings for now (I'll cover CamTwist below).

That was your major change. Now you are ready to record, from QuickTime, click on the File menu and choose "New Movie Recording".

To record, click on the round red dot; when you start recording, that round red dot will change to a black square. When you click the black square, you will stop recording. You can save (File menu -> Save) your recording when done, and you'll have a movie of you!

Note the above movie is an mp4 which could be played from your desktop. Uploading that video to SchoolTube changed the format to an FLV (Flash Video) which cut the file size down to 2.2 mb (from 8.4 mb, about a quarter of the original size). Rather than post mammoth videos online, I'd recommend a video site, such as SchoolTube. Here's the same video, embedded from SchoolTube; you can see the quality of the video is still good:


Screencasting: recording your computer desktop as a computer movie. This allows others to see what you do to accomplish something on your computer. In other words, using your web-camera and microphone as a teaching aid.

Jing has a freeware version, is an easy install and is a great product, except that the free version only exports to SWF format, which is a bit awkward to use; if you plan to use it, I'd recommend paying the registration fee ($15 as I write this), because that will let you export to a MOV file, which is easier to edit.

Creating video for your classes does take an investment of time on the front end, but if you repeat the same kind of instruction, it really pays off in the long run. And many children respond better to video than the written word. The school administration told us we had to implement in-class exercise to be in compliance with T.C.A. 49-6-1021, part of the Coordinated School Health Program. So, as I was teaching computer skills, I used a series of stretches from Stretching by Bob and Jean Anderson (p. 114). I used Audacity to record myself calling out each position -- and the students would get lost in stretching and I would have 3 or 4 doing something totally off from the rest of the class. So I recorded a video (so that the students could see as well as hear) and that problem went away. Since we stretched every day, I made a few different versions set to different pieces of music so that it wouldn't feel like the same thing day in and day out.

I also used desktop screencasting (video of my actions on the desktop) to demonstrate actions that my students might need to know.

The other night I found some freeware that is better (for me) than Jing (on a Mac)

I've been looking for a free alternate to Jing, and I sort of have it. If you've got the RAM, you're golden; otherwise, I recommend Jing.

Camtwist (Mac OS) takes a little effort to set up, but the payoff was great. I had run across an article by that told you how to use iMovie to screencast (the catch is that you need iMovie HD, which was on my old iBook G4, but not my MacBook). But with a little inventiveness, I was able to use Quicktime Pro with Camtwist and accomplish everything Jing did, and I could save it to anything Quicktime could (as a MOV, for example).

Please note: you'll want 2GB of Ram to be happy with this solution. I attempted to install this to Macs with 1 GB of RAM and the best resolution was 320 x 240. On my MacBook I have 2 GB and can manage 640 x 480 screen size. To check your Mac's settings, click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner and choose About This Mac:

Examine the amount of RAM (memory). 1 GB = Bad, 2 GB = Good:


If your system doesn't have enough RAM, use Jing; invest $15 and enjoy. If you've got the RAM and want to go on the cheap, follow the instructions below.

  1. Download and install CamTwist.
    • To install, double-click on the .dmg file (it may be in your downloads folder):
    • When the files extract, look for CamTwist.pkg and double-click on it:
    • The installer will load, click the Continue button:
    • The installer should default to a "standard load", so you should just need to click on Install:
    • As with many applications, the installer requires you to give your username and password (I blurred the username):
    • Once you have entered your username and password, click the OK button. It should run for a few seconds, and then you'll be greeted with this screen:
    • Click close and you're done with the install.

  2. Now it's time to launch and configure CamTwist:
    • CamTwist is located in your Applications folder (Click on Macintosh HD, then the Applications folder, then the CamTwist folder):
    • In the CamTwist folder, look for and double-click on it:
    • This is the CamTwist interface:
    • We need to do a few quick configurations.
      1. Under the box listed as Step 1, click on the Desktop (not Desktop +)
      2. You should see Desktop appear in the Step 3 (completely skip step 2); there's nothing you need to do except make sure Desktop appears, if it didn't go back to Step 1 and re-click Desktop to make sure Step 3 has desktop as a source.
      3. I choose Main Screen, but you can stay with this screen.
      4. Click to simulate a mouse over the video.
      5. Press the Select button.
    • Now to adjust CamTwist's preferences:
    • Once you have entered your username and password, click the OK button. It should run for a few seconds, and then you'll be greeted with this screen:
    • In the preference window that launches, click on the General tab/button at the window's top (it's in blue below). The default frame rate is 15 and that may be too little (cinematic movies are filmed at 24 frames a second; television is videotaped at 30; I choose a frame rate of 30 for a smooth feel to the video). Also, unless 320x240 is your cup of tea, change the Video Size to 640x480:
    • If you set the Video Size rate too high, when you record, the picture will either be doubled or distorted (or both).

    • You may now dismiss the preferences tab with a click on the red dot in the upper left-hand corner.

  3. Configure Quicktime:
    • Open Quicktime. Next to the Apple Icon (upper left corner of your screen), click on the words "QuickTime Player" and go down the menu until you see Preferences (not Quicktime Preferences):

    • Now this time, on the record tab, change the VideoSource to CamTwist:
    • Close out (click the red dot) to dismiss the preferences box. Now when you record, you'll record the desktop.

A Demo video recorded on a Mac with 1 GB of RAM

The above movie was recorded on a MacBook with only 1 GB of RAM. You can see the screensize is too small. It's not that the capture won't work on that system, but the output is very small.

A Demo video recorded on a Mac with 2 GB of RAM

Below is larger sized file that would be adequate for use; it was made on a MacBook with 2 GB of Ram.

So how can you use this?

You can always store the videos on your computer and if you hook up your computer to a TV or projector or Interactive WhiteBoard, you could play it in class. However, you also could upload it online for you (and your students) to access. Once it's online, they can even watch a class lesson at home if a student is sick (or is in the middle of a project at home and just wants to go back over what you're looking for).

Two sites I would consider are TeacherTube and SchoolTube. Happy Teaching!