For a few months I’ve been on a quest to find a website which aggregates user-created software how-to guides / quickstart guides and tutorials. I mentioned this last night in my recorded iChat conversation with Carol Anne McGuire: Someone needs to create a website that is an open-content version of AtomicLearning. YouTube and other video sharing websites DO already include a wealth of “how-to” videos, but they also include a lot of other “stuff” which guarantees most U.S. school districts will continue to block those sites on their content filters for the foreseeable future. In addition to how-to videos and screencasts, many learners (especially older ones but sometimes younger ones too) want and need step-by-step guides to use new software programs and websites. It doesn’t make sense for educators around the world to reinvent the wheel when creating how-to guides about software programs, but where can we turn for help besides Google, our delicious networks and twitter networks? Those are great options, but I think there is an empty niche for a website which aggregates “just in time” open-content screencasts and printable how-to guides for learners. (No, teachers and others do NOT need to print all these guides, but let’s face it, in professional development workshops with teachers a MAJORITY tend to want/demand printable how-to guides that cover things step-by-step.)
Cheryl Oakes mentioned CustomGuides as her “Geek of the Week” in the latest Seedlings webcast and the site appears to be a step in this direction, although CustomGuide materials ARE still traditionally copyrighted and the site does not currently embrace Open Educational Resource (OER) licensing terms. While CustomGuides does provide a wide variety of Microsoft and Adobe quickstart guides, tutorials are NOT provided for PhotoStory3 or Audacity. Those two programs are the primary ones we use in our statewide oral history project, Celebrate Oklahoma Voices. Before our summer workshops, we revised both our Audacity and PhotoStory3 handouts and started uploading them to a shared Google site “file cabinet” page.
I’m glad to learn about CustomGuides. Hopefully we’ll see more websites like this develop in the months ahead which not only provide free access to tutorial/quickstart guides, but also invite user-submissions and remixes of submitted quickstart guides for different software programs and websites under OER licensing terms.
For more about OER, refer to Karen Fasimpaur’s outstanding NCCE 2008 presentation “Free Content + Open Tools + Massive Collaboration = Learning for All.” Also note that the Seedlings podcast (one of my top favorites – Bob, Cheryl and Alice ALWAYS have great ideas to share with teachers) has become a new regularly scheduled webcast on EdTechTalk for Thursday nights when Lisa Parisi is not broadcasting her regular show. Yeah! Go Seedlings!
Check out the post on EdTechTalk about the Seedlings show and expected schedule for more details. Time for the shows will be Thursday nights 7:30-8:30 EST.
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On this day..
- 1st Day of STEM Makers Studio: Success! - 2014
- Podcast409: All My Lesson Plans are in Google Docs! (An Interview with Shelly Fryer) - 2013
- Falco on Demand - 2011
- Advocating for balanced approaches to Internet filtering in schools - 2009
- Branding, Advertising, and the Attention Economy - 2009
- Transferring cell phone recorded audio (voicenote) to a Mac computer - 2009
- Want a successful laptop initiative? Better choose Mac laptops! - 2008
- Free Mobile Alerts: One-to-many text messaging and voicemail - 2008
- Kozol on NCLB and the struggles of real teachers - 2007
- Podcasting 101 - 2005