Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

Canva Rocks

March 13, 2017

Canva LogoThere are a lot of infographic tools out these days but none have won me over like Canva has.  My coworker Mattea turned me on to this online application when we were tasked with creating an infographic for our bosses to illustrate some workstreams.  Here’s what we produced:

PLC Schoology Support Highlights

Canva has a lot going for it.  Thousands of templates for web and print use.  Much of the material is free.  You only have to pay for Canva images when you use them (usually $1 a piece).  To avoid the cost you can upload your own images and avoid custom fonts.  One of the things that make it most appealing is the ease of use.  You can create an infographic, poster, invite, or web graphic in minutes-really!  And you don’t need a heavy background in graphic design due to the fabulous templates and the alignment tools that are built in.  When you’re finished with your design it’s automatically saved online and you can download in pdf, jpg or png formats.  Canva scores a 10 from me and you should try it out!  Here’s the link.  Let me know what you think.

Camtasia Recording Tip for Capturing Phone and Tablet Screens

April 8, 2016

DR-Camtasia-148x148Camtasia remains my favorite screen recorder because of it’s flexibility and editing capabilities.  Recently someone asked me to make a screen recording from their iPad.  After updating my operating system and Camtasia software I was ready to try this out.  Everything looked good-Camtasia saw the attached device.  But when I made a recording it was a failure.  After some sleuthing on the web, I found the answer which was not intuitive.

camtasia and iphone recording

If you’re using Camtasia to record the screen of a mobile device, make sure you select BOTH your microphone AND audio from the device, even if you don’t plan to use the audio from your device. Don’t worry, even if you don’t need that audio source, you can always mix/edit/delete it because Camtasia puts it on a separate track, as seen here:

separate camtasia tracks

Well, that’s my quick tip for this week.  I hope to return to being more active in my blog posts, it was just another crazy winter that I went through.

As always, I welcome your thoughts , comments, and feedback.

Adobe Connect to the Rescue!

February 22, 2013

Thanks to suadmissionsadobeconnectthumbnailperstorm Sandy last fall our admissions department had to cancel quite a few presentations on the East Coast.  They approached me to discuss the possibility of using Adobe Connect to reach out to the potential students.  What really impressed me about the folks in the admissions office was how they took my advice and did everything to assure a successful webinar, and it was a huge success.  What did they do?  They came in and learned about the software and tried it out for themselves in some test situations first.  They took their spectacular presentation that was in Mac Keynote format and changed it to pdf, with adjustments where necessary to make it look perfect in Adobe Connect.  They used a good USB microphone (AT 2020) and we monitored the sound from another room, with headphones.  Also, as you can see in this photo, one person presented while another facilitated, answering questions.  We  had a few more people on hand who were also monitoring and answering questions from prospective students by using the chat window.  Because it was such a success, I know they’re planning to use it more in the future and will probably add some interactive survey questions too.  Preparation, testing and employing best practices=success.

Other Uses for Powerpoint (or Keynote)

September 28, 2012

Besides the obvious use of Powerpoint for presentations, there are other creative purposes for this ubiquitous software.  Many folks in the K-12 realm are probably aware that you can set up a Powerpoint presentation to act as an interactive Jeopardy (or other type) game.  Some examples and templates are here.

A few weeks ago a staff member asked me how to make a collage in Photoshop.  I explained that rather than deal with all the layers and their attributes in Photoshop, you can create a photo collage in minutes with Powerpoint. Resizing and setting transparency are a snap.

For training purposes I often include screenshots of programs so that learners will know exactly where they should be navigating.  If I drop the screenshot into Powerpoint, it only takes me a moment or two to add arrows and text boxes.  And with the addition directions in text boxes, it may not even need audio narration or further explanation.  Of course, I often “save as” a pdf or jpg for easy attaching to emails and problem-free viewing by recipients.

When it comes to creating fliers for events, Word has more templates these days, but for quick free-form composing you can’t beat Powerpoint for mixing images and text.  By clicking on Page Setup you can change the orientation to vertical and even choose an 11X17 size. Here is a tutorial that shows some cool tricks for creating fliers or combinations of text and images that you can use elsewhere.