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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Power of Tutorials

Creating tutorials is starting to revolutionize the way I instruct my class. Teaching in a one-2-one environment allows for a lot of tech instruction. At the beginning of the year we go through the process in making french fries at McDonald's. Inevitably they forget to list all the steps and end up forgetting to take the french fries out of the plastic or they forget to start the timer. I call that "burning the fries". The point of the exercise is to drive home the fact that even a simple process like making french fries demands the workers follow a specific series of steps. It becomes a small joke when a student mess up a series of steps and cannot complete a task. I accuse them of "burning the fries". Then as a any teacher would, I gently walk the little angels through the steps again and again if needed.

Recently I have decided to create tutorials of the step by step instructions. This cuts down on the amount of class time needed to set up accounts or learn new programs. Since I am constantly reinventing projects using different programs, websites, etc... I am also constantly teaching and re-teaching the new methods. In the new system I make a quick tutorial and the students or fellow colleagues can access it at any time as many times as they need. It's exactly the same instructions that I would give them if they raised their hand and asked for help. Now I say, "watch the tutorial and if you still don't understand, watch it again."

The program that I can recommend is CamStudio. It is an open source program that can be found at


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