If you’ve seen one of my presentations this summer or been reading my recent blog posts, you’ve heard me talk about Office Mix as a way to create online lessons. Those of you who have been following me for a while also know that I have always used Camtasia Studio to create my flipped classroom videos. So the clear question I’ve been asked — so are you now replacing Camtasia with Office Mix? The answer is: no. I see the two tools as meeting different needs. And I’ll try and outline those thoughts in this post!
Camtasia – I can’t really see teaching without Camtasia at this point. I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but it is such a part of my everyday routine, it would be *quite* an adjustment if you took it away from me. From in my classroom, to making tutorials, to clipping things together, to so much more, I’ve really grown to rely on Camtasia to get things done. In the last 2 years, I’ve also spent a great deal of time getting friendly with the quizzing and hotspot features. Adding interactive elements to my quizzes has certainly brought my flipped classroom to the next level and has proved so valuable. I feel that it’s added engagement and, most importantly, a real element of personalization and a way for me to get to know my students’ needs.
Office Mix just recently launched, and it’s an awesome way to truly bring PowerPoint presentations to life. It allows you to record audio / video / ink, to add in screencaptures, to add interactive elements (quizzes, web content, PhET simulations, Khan Academy activities, and more).
It may seem like the 2 serve the same purpose. To me, I don’t really see that being the case. In making more lecture-style videos, that might be 15-25 minutes long, I see myself using Camtasia Studio. I love being able to edit after-the-fact, add in callouts and hotspots, add in the yellow highlight to focus the viewer and allow me the opportunity to ‘point’, and all of the features that I speak so often about. This year, I’ve spent time making screencasts *with* students and then have helped them edit after our recording session. The assurance that all videos would be edited gave them much more freedom in feeling it was okay to stumble, ask a question mid-recording, or repeat a portion of an explanation for clarity. When I started doing videos in this way, students also reported enjoying the process much more. I kind of feel the same – if I couldn’t edit the videos, I’d enjoy the process of making the video lessons much less :)
Office Mix, on the other hand, is an amazingly simple way to get up and running with making video lessons. Something that I’ve heard over and over, after giving presentations is: “wow, I love what you’re doing but that process is just too much for me..” or “I totally want to do this, but where do I even start, what do I have to download, and what do I do with the video after I’ve made it.” Well, Office Mix is pretty much the solution to all of these issues. If you can make a PPT, you can make a mix lesson. And you’ll get the link to share with simply the click of a button – no hosting or uploading to YouTube required! It’s also quite exciting that the Mix lesson is PPT meets video. It’s a little hard to explain, so you might want to just preview this mix I created on rational exponents. You’ll see that I can press the arrows to move from one slide to the next, just as I would be able to do in a PPT, and the audio / video / inking will adjust accordingly. I don’t have to fast-forward and backtrack to skip or review content. Also, Office Mix gives me more opportunity to add interactive elements directly into my video. Whereas before, I used hotspots within my videos to link students out to applets, Desmos graphs to play with sliders, etc, I can now embed that all into my Mix lesson. I think I’ll do a lot more of building activities with a short instructional portion to begin, using the audio + inking features, then embed some interactive elements for students to explore, and close with a quiz / short answer question to get students reflecting and thinking deeper about the demonstration / exploration. Here is a quick video desmos exploration mix I created, where I explain the activity in the opening slides, embed a desmos graph for students to play with absolute value function transformations, and then I ask a series of questions related to the exploration they were asked to complete. I also see Office Mix as a way for me to more quickly make video lessons that are brief and don’t need polishing. Since any editing that you will do (i.e.: delete slide recording) happens in the creation process, you do not need to go back and rematch your entire lesson after the fact in order to make changes. So that will greatly cut down in time it takes to make a mix versus edited screencast. Plus, the simplicity of Office Mix is something I am so looking forward to sharing with other teachers, particularly those who currently share out presentations with their students to preview in advance. Because with barely any extra effort, you can make something much more interactive, clear, and engaging for students to view.
I hope that the above was a helpful reflection. Since Office Mix is still relatively new, I am probably not capturing everything here (you may also be interested in seeing a more detailed post I wrote up on Office Mix). But I do see myself using Camtasia Studio and Office Mix a bit differently, so I just wanted to document those thoughts here, on my blog. Comments and feedback much appreciated, as always!