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Google Earth Lessons Blog » Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Google Earth Lessons Blog

An Educational Resource for Teachers

Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Filed under: General — GELessons Blog Admin at 3:08 am on Saturday, November 24, 2007

WOW! Talk about timing!

Just the other day I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to do free audio ‘geoCast’ placemarks that had playback controllers without having to shell out $$ when what should happen? Along comes the wonderful company TechSmith! As some of you may know, TechSmith is the software company that is responsible for the industry standard SnagIt and Camtasia Studio screen recording software.

Well…

I just found out that TechSmith has released their old Camtasia Studio version 3.1.3 for free! They are currently up to version 5 which has some remarkable features, but retails for about $300 (educational discounts are significant though).

So (WINDOWS ONLY):
1. Go to http://download.techsmith.com/camtasiastudio/enu/312/camtasiaf.exe and your download will automatically start.
2. Go to http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/pcpls.asp, enter your name and email address and some other basic stuff and in seconds you will have your registration number via email.
3. Install the software you downloaded and register it with the number in the email and Voila, you have a fully functional flash video/authoring studio for doing screencasts!

When I tested it out on my old PC I discovered some things, and some ways to work around the problems. Camtasia Studio is for recording your screen (along with a webcam if you have one) so when I only did audio it wouldn’t output the needed files, the publishing option was greyed out. I created a small blank jpg image and put that in the timeline with the audio which brought the publish button to life, but then it would crash when it was publishing the results. The final solution that worked was I recorded a small strip of the desktop’s background, just enough to fit above some playback controls in a placemark balloon and then everything worked great. Upon further reflection, I think it might actually be good to include some still photos of the topic to keep student’s interest focused. It would mean more work, but a better end product.

If you do use images, be aware of copyright restrictions. For royalty free photos, you can visit http://www.pics4learning.com/ which has a lot of teacher created imagery, or for basic clip art there is http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/index.htm

Not only can you do the audio ‘geocasts’ but that particular version also has the ability to create Flash based quizzes which you can incorporate into your placemark collections!

So, if you and your students are on Windows computers and you have a microphone handy you or your students can do some really cool stuff!

In the next day or two I will try to put together a tutorial on how to implement the suggestions above and incorporate it with Richard Treves concept of sequential audio tour placemarks, but if you want to start playing in the meantime, have a great, fun, creative time!

David

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