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Growth is Uncomfortable – Tips for Teachers Transitioning to ID.

I am seeing lots of disappointed teachers returning to the classroom this fall, first I’m sorry for what you are returning to and I’m sorry we couldn’t do better.  Secondly, don’t give up. I know it sounds cheesy, but there really is a science to this career change and it takes A LOT of work.  I know you are staring at me, with the “I HAVE DONE THE WORK” and you probably did….this market is crazy.  But let me give you a couple of suggestions based on my own observations (absolutely biases and based on my own lens.)

Your LinkedIn Profile could be a problem.

I often come across teachers who are posting about the difficulty in finding work, and then when I look at their profile – they have “Educator” or “Teacher” as a title, their LinkedIn page is bare and/or very educator heavy.  Check out this post about the LinkedIn title formula. As much as it HURTS it’s time to change from who you are to what you WANT to be.  Even in the EdTech field, companies are corporate…while we have proven ourselves in the educational world, we haven’t done the same for corporate.  Yes, I know ALL the reasons why you would be a great fit BUT we have an uphill battle sadly, so put on your boots and let’s climb.

Start changing your language, student to learner, etc.  Simple changes to your vocabulary will be essential not only in speaking with people within the field, your LinkedIn page, your resume but also in interviews. Read Tim Slade’s book, it leads you through the WHOLE process of building eLearning. You WILL use this in your everyday job, I promise. And if you have the money, join his academy – he even has Articulate courses with it.

Brand Yourself & Your Portfolio?

SO MANY times I check out educator’s portfolios and they have no domain. I know this seems simple but this honestly is a telling sign, one of the biggest things moving into corporate was the fear that I was a teacher and didn’t REALLY want to make the move (or I wouldn’t stay.) You have to build a brand that distinguishes you from teaching, this includes a professional portfolio.  Many academies build their portfolios differently but I do believe that having a fleshed-out, professional WordPress website that I built (with the help of some tools…) got me a job.  I also believe my ID-focused blog has brought a lot of positive attention – which has helped with my job search.

The final iteration of my website has no educational pieces, and I removed A LOT of fluff. I also didn’t apply until I had two really fleshed-out eLearning pieces on my portfolio.  These pieces had a quick intro video showing some of the animations, a write-up on them, and screenshots. I got help and feedback from several communities as well as Tim Slade and Tyler Banh. I asked everyone I could to take a look, I absorbed their feedback and made changes. The response I got BEFORE and AFTER this was testament.  Building my portfolio showed my diversity, I can do screencasts, edit a lengthy video, create eLearning, build a website, and everything is branded, and as Tyler Banh likes to say “consistent.”

Track Your Applications

I hear a lot about “I have APPLIED TO SO MANY” but not really a definitive number, this LinkedIn post was telling, she applied to 188 positions! But as many people say, it only takes ONE yes. After I found this post I started my own spreadsheet and kept track of my applications. While I felt I had applied to so many, it wasn’t REALLY that much. And to put it into perspective many people (besides cybersecurity analysts and programmers) are applying for HUNDREDS of positions.

Be Realistic

I see a lot of teachers attempting to apply for big positions right away, Senior positions or positions at Wayfair, Amazon, etc. Start small. I looked at “uncool” industries like cybersecurity or cloud service providers (these two industries will only grow.) Credit Unions seem to be partial to teachers, I think it’s both the philosophy AND that we can pass background checks like nobody’s business. EdTech positions are getting applications in the HUNDREDS – think about your background, where you want to go, and apply strategically. Remote positions without a previous ID position under your belt or a REALLY solid brand/portfolio will be difficult. Look local, that’s how I got in…I live in a rural area and with my educational background, I was ahead of the hiring pool.  From what I have heard in the industry, you should start with a local position, then move to remote, and then you’re golden. And don’t be afraid of contract work…if it’s a W2 position (1099 is a hot mess tax situation.) Some have benefits or even 401ks and it can often get your foot in the door at some legendary companies (Apple, Google, etc.)

Change Your Resume…Again…

Please, meet with someone from teachlearndev.org, its free and they will walk you through adapting your resume from teacher language to corporate language. I have changed my resume several times and after meeting with Tyler I finally feel my resume is where it should be.  The ATS checker is real, sadly no one reads resumes…a computer does. And if that machine doesn’t ding green, you aren’t going to have a human look at it.  If you are getting constant denials or just plain ghosted….I would bet it was that.

Be Careful who you Trust

I really wish I didn’t have to type this one out. There are a lot of helpful people on the internet (I guess myself included) however some may not have the experience or background you think.  If someone who has NEVER worked a corporate job is telling you what you need to do to build your portfolio…I would analyze that.  If someone has been out of the market for several years and is calling teachers entitled, I would analyze that.  Also, Academies are not a cure-all, they will NOT get you a job in ID (they may help depending on the author though). And salaries are all over the place, no academy can guarantee any salary. Please investigate the resources that Cara North has posted before you put your money down. 

Also, not every company is legit. Vet their website, do they have a lock displayed in the address bar (this indicates that it’s secure), is the website fleshed out? Can you search them on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, or Indeed? Do your research and follow your gut, lots of people out here trying to steal everybody’s SSN.

Network

I cannot talk about this enough, it’s very foreign for teachers to do this…we often go to the district website to apply and BOOM we have an interview. As a Special Education teacher, I got every position I ever applied for…so it was HARD when I started to get 100’s of rejections (and believe me I wavered a lot about this transition.) But the biggest thing was following companies I wanted to work for, following the companies that are in the same industry as what I wanted to work in, and then interacting with posts by the company or that the company liked. At first, I built a strong connection with teachers who had or were transitioning but then I started to branch out to other seasoned Instructional Designers, and you know what? They taught me some amazing ID concepts – but I also brought my own STRONG educational background – especially inaccessibility. I love nerding out on learning and other IDs do too! So don’t be afraid to make those connections and you will find that many like job postings or post jobs…BOOM instant-in!


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My AhHa Moments building a Scenario-Based eLearning Course

The final project for OPWL 551 has been a massive undertaking, even though I currently work in the field of instructional design I never imagined one project would wrap my mind as this has.  While I am confident in my design abilities (always room to grow) and even my technology skills in Articulate, pulling it all together to create a massive branching Scenario-Based eLearning project was astounding!  I have found throughout my process of building my portfolio I struggle without concrete examples or topics to work from. In my position now, I am given projects and I fly, but thinking up a random topic to build a course around has been difficult in the past.

The usual sentiment is to go with something you know, so I originally thought about something teaching-related. I built a project plan for using accommodations within the classroom but felt like it wasn’t something I wanted on my portfolio so I went back to the drawing board.  I realized my answer was staring me right in the face, currently enrolled in Tim Slade’s eLearning Designer’s Academy, I remembered the case study I was working on and the project that I was intended to create to complete the course. With a new sense of focus, I crafted a new project plan using Tim’s template and submitted it.

From there I began to design the branching scenario, I knew I wanted to focus on customer service for phone representatives of a web company.  After reading Clark’s book I knew that I wanted to have a pretty complex branch, with three options for answers; Best, Adequate and Inadequate as well as having three pathways that had varied interactions with the customer based on the Learner’s previous choices but always allowing them to make it back to the main “best” path. Additionally, immediate and personalized feedback seemed best, so I made sure add that in for every choice.

When I started to design the pathway, it was difficult to visually understand how this would translate to Articulate so I started to do some extra research and a post on the eLearning Heroes community helped me visually see how to take a branched scenario and put it into Articulate. I also reached out to Tim Slade who pointed me towards one of his own projects, allowing me to reverse engineer it – I often kept this open while I worked through mine to ensure accuracy.  I started to design my branching scenario and ultimately came to this:

My Scenario-Based eLearning Branching Scenario Flow Chart

One major aspect of this design was color coding, for my own neurodiversity I was able to see the path more clearly and understand how the choices would influence a movement between the scripts.  I wanted this to be interactive, every choice made the interactions more difficult but always gave a chance for the learner to “redeem” themselves and make it back to the “green” path which Clark wrote was essential for designing the branching scenarios.

Once I got this done, I printed it and started to build the course, I could check off the terminals as I created the slide, and it was highly efficient in keeping me in line.  I wanted to push myself a little in Articulate and included some strategies like personalization, during the introduction Learners input their names and the next slide allows Learners to choose an avatar, both supported by Clark’s book and a recommendation from Tim Slade’s “Dealing with Angry Customers” project.

Another piece of the color-coding was using intrinsic feedback, on each feedback slide, the customer has a background based on their mood (and the response from the Learner.)  This was why it was so important to include different slides/interactions at each challenge level, I wanted the interaction to be authentic.  I previously have worked for both Netflix and Amazon in their call centers, so I used a lot of my own experiences with customers to craft logical and plausible interactions. When dealing with customers, they do not just go back to “happy” or “green” unless you go above and beyond to problem solve and fix the interaction, it was something I wanted to be central to this project.  While the project was a massive undertaking, it pushed me to use slide masters, become even more efficient at creating slides, and thinking about the large picture of where the learner would be going.

When I started to build my storyboard, which I did do in tandem with some light Articulate design (again I prefer to SEE the layout etc.) I got stuck again, trying to organize all of the choices, the personalized feedback for each slide, and the multiple challenge questions…I decided to build my own storyboard and make it color-coded.

An example of my Storyboard, the box is one slide (green path) with the options underneath based on Best, Adequate and Inadequate.

In closing to this long-winded post, I am so glad to have taken this course and learned so much about scenario-based eLearning that I plan to continue to grow in.  I already have an idea for a course at my current position that would use a different style that Clark mentions which is an interface for more diagnostics approaches and I am excited to get started!  In future projects, I feel like I am getting a flow down, and realizing that while there is a clear design and application process each project will have its own process, and that’s okay. The more I am able to research, adapt and change the better! And now…I can finally sleep for a week before the fall semester starts!   

Teachers Are Instructional Designers

Teachers ARE Instructional Designers!

After 8 years in the classroom, I started my journey to transition outside of the classroom in early 2021, I was fortunate to find several great communities that were instrumental to my growth, I have written about them here and here.  Now I hope to give back to other teachers who are making their transition.  This post aims to advise others on what I did to get noticed, what my interview process was like, what I did in my job search, and provide any resources I have used.

First, get connected. When I was applying to positions by myself, I had no idea what I needed to reframe, adjust and focus on. Teaching: A Path to L&D opened up my eyes to the idea that I could not only make it out, but it gave me clear guidance on what I needed to adjust.  I use; adjust because teachers ARE instructional designers, curriculum designers, LMS handlers, hard workers, expert multitaskers, we simply need to reframe our experience and education.  Spend regular time on LinkedIn, I found TWO real job leads from LinkedIn. The one I am in now came directly from putting Instructional Designer as my tag line and being followed by someone in my area.  This person then posted a job listing, I reached out, we spoke over the phone and the rest is history!

Second, research what you want to do and narrow it down.  Often, I hear teachers so desperate to leave (and I was one) that they are casting their net too wide.  It sounds cheesy but find something you know will bring you joy AND don’t worry about leaving mid-year, you can leave. While leaving teaching was the best thing I could do mentally and physically, I am still a teacher, and I miss my kids.  Without meaningful work, we won’t make it; I still fight the urge to return to teaching even after a month in a wonderful position.  Next, decide what type of company do you want to work for, do you want to work in an office? Work from home? DO you want an EdTech or Tech or Bank? With a lifelong love of technology, I set my eyes on the tech sector (although I ended up at a credit union!) 

Once you decide where you want to go, you can build your roadmap.  I was one year away from getting my Masters; and researched if Boise State had an ID program/certificate I could add.  I contacted the Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) and they worked with me and my credits to build a plan for my final year.  By summer 2022, I will have a Workplace Instructional Design certificate and a Masters in EdTech.  I also signed up for Tim Slade’s Academy, and I purchased LinkedIn’s premium membership for LinkedIn Learning.

My plan was to start the clock the day I left school for the summer, and complete 3 summer online courses through Boise State, eLearning Designer’s Academy and build a fleshed-out portfolio using my previous website (I had started branding while trying to make the jump to EdTech) and build a new resume with a focus on Instructional Design. My plans changed when I ended up taking an Instructional Design position a week after school was done!  In that application I was straightforward about my experience and my lack of formal experience in Instructional Design, they were impressed by my passion, the energy I had about Instructional Design, AND my learning plan. 

Third, ask questions. It seems simple but I had no idea who Cara North was, she posted an article and I messaged her about Instructional Design Academies. I was so confused if I HAD to pay for one and was getting approached by “academies” that just didn’t feel right.  She responded and pointed me to an amazing woman who had left the classroom a year before. She offered to mentor me and suggested Tim Slade’s academy.  It was an investment, but it has really pushed me and the mentoring by Tim has been invaluable. Request resume help through the Teaching to L&D group, I was lucky enough to spend time getting ready for my interview with my current position.  Heidi Kirby gave me a set of common ID interview questions that I was able to edit and type out my own answers – it was perfect after years of teaching interviews!

Fourth, stand tall and proud, you are a teacher, you can handle anything, and you are an asset to any company.  Spend time adjusting your resume and cover letter, I used this Reddit post and I have had good responses so far.  Get familiar with the programs, Articulate has been a lot of fun and very easy to pick up if you used PowerPoint in the classroom. The Articulate E-Learning Heroes Community has been a fantastic resource, I can look up ANYTHING I want to do in a flash, and I have learned best by jumping in.

You can do this journey for free using the resources I have provided, using YouTube etc.  You do NOT need to pay for mentorship or guidance. Everything we were taught about pedagogy carries over; it may have a different term but you already know the theory.  You ARE an instructional designer, customer success manager, problem solver, so put that as your title. We got this! /flex

The Suspense of it All!

So much suspense for our final projects! I don’t normally visit other students’ blogs very often (I need to, I just run out of time) but I plan to this week! Wowza, the last two months have been a whirlwind and I cannot believe we are so close to the end.  However I won’t lie, I thought we ended Week 8!  SO glad we get another couple of weeks to work on our projects and learn even more.

This past month I was offered a position in Instructional Design for a local community credit union, they are a powerhouse in this area and I was so honored to have been chosen as the final candidate.  With that being said I have been thrown in feet first (which IS the pace I am used to working as a teacher for 8 years!) I was immediately given three projects to work on. One of these will be the project I will be submitting for my final project. I feel like it demonstrates my growth in Articulate (when I started this job and this semester I had none!) I have quickly picked up different techniques and while I don’t always remember how to layer or change states, a quick google jogs my memory.  Using the Articulate community has been crucial, YouTube is a close second and I love thinking of creative ideas and finding a way to make them work.  Some slides have been challenging, I did give up a bingo game that will NOT be forgotten and I WILL figure it out even if it’s not in this project…

Most of all, I am excited to get feedback from Dr. Salik, he has always given such great advice (even when it stings) and as I moved into the corporate world I try to remember and heed that advice (especially logo and branding!). 

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Creating a Supportive ID Environment

The first blog I found was Lisa Zachau’s blog who is also an educator who is transitioning to Instructional Design like myself. From the outside, her blog seems straightforward and clear, not really any imposter syndrome. I started to think to myself, perhaps I should look at another blog, maybe they didn’t need my support.  But as I reviewed her blog posts I found a lack of her background present, no mention of teaching or how the topics drew from her educational experience. In that “light bulb” moment I felt like I needed to cheer her on, to encourage her to see the connections between teaching and instructional design. It’s a very fine line to walk as educators transitioning to ID, we have to appear confident like changing our tagline on LinkedIn to “Instructional Designer”, eliminating “aspiring” and we are encouraged not to include “Teacher” anywhere in our profiles using Educator or others.  While many people do not realize what we do on a daily basis, we have to find ways to make connections between what we have done and instructional design.  One of the most profound pieces of advice I got was when I had an early resume that stated “aspiring instructional designer” and my friend said “You are NOT aspiring, you ARE. You create these amazing learning pieces for your students, you know how to curriculum map and goal setting. You CAN do Instructional Design.” She forever changed my trajectory and outlook on Instructional Design. There are so many misconceptions about education, especially as many of the people who interview me haven’t experienced a 21st Century classroom, the engagement, the learning theories, the innovation, as teachers we are Masters of Learning and we can bring this to the instructional design field.

The second blog I found was Stephanie Hartwell’s blog, and right away I resonated with her post on perfectionism! This is something that I struggle with and I think it connects VERY closely with imposter syndrome. For myself, I often think if I can’t make it perfect then it won’t be good enough, and then when I start to look at others’ work or processes I realize I am doing pretty good (and often over the top.)  The last two years of my teaching career I really found myself, I started to find confidence in myself and my abilities (although hitting 30 helped with this.)  I really appreciated Stephanie’s candid conversations on how she commonly learns through rote memorization.  In education, I have to teach critical thinking and trial and error behaviors. Many students have spent their educational career memorizing things instead of asking questions, looking them up, and figuring things out.  I want to encourage Stephanie, you can problem-solve, you made some great points in your blog and it’s not something you don’t have in, just may not have been taught to you previously…but you got this!

Overall I think we can do a better job of supporting each other in this industry, when I started to transition it felt like little mini-communities everywhere with a lot of rogues doing their own thing.  One of the best things I found during my transition is the Teaching to L&D community who shares, support, and celebrates each other on a daily basis.  I know I can ask any question at any time, or even vent, and I know someone will be there to listen or help.  It’s been amazing and I think building a more supportive community especially for those transitioning is important. While I have heard some reservations about teachers transitioning, we are coming and the industry needs more folks and representation. Linkedin has been a great starting point but I think being open, helpful, and taking the time to pay forward any mentoring you received as you came into ID is imperative!

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Week 5 Tool: The Learning Coach Podcast

Every day I commute to work in Southern Oregon, coming from California the commute is a dream, about 40 minutes distance with an easy freeway with very little traffic.  However, as I bring my son into town to go to school I cannot listen to my normal true crime podcasts and had to start looking outside of that realm for a daily driving experience. The obvious choice was instructional design podcasts and I quickly came across The Learning Coach podcast, with Connie Malamed.  Connie does a great job of breaking down content, getting subject matter experts on the show, and making everyone feel welcome to the table.  I recently came across her episode on “Why You Need Scenario-based eLearning” which brought Dr. Clark onto the podcast to discuss a range of topics that are important to Dr. Clark and Connie. One of the strengths of the podcast is that she has created some great questions and topics but fits them into 20 minutes.  I really enjoyed finding out WHERE Dr. Clark had started the framework for Scenario-Based eLearning and how she defines everything.  While Dr. Clark’s book is really thorough and appeared scientifically backed Dr. Clark really goes into the evidence-based background that SBeL is based in.  This is a great resource to listen to for just this episode but also a great podcast to bookmark and listen to often!

Storyboarding for eLearning Design

When I started my journey into Instructional Design and I heard about storyboarding I felt a bit overwhelmed. I was convinced I had never done it before, but as I started to review my past courses at Boise State I found that during my Youtube for Educators course I had created a great storyboard for a documentary I had put together.  As a visual person, I really appreciated being able to tie pictures or visions to my ideas.  As I reviewed the work, I found that I could easily use it for both video and eLearning design.  Scripting is something that is very new to me, creating my own videos I usually just fly by the seat of my pants (a great teacher trait) but as I move into the corporate world I am finding that the more I can create or communicate my vision and get feedback from stakeholders FIRST is better.  Tim Slade mentions that communicating your vision and getting feedback from the storyboard is important instead of wasting time fixing a deliverable that could have been adjusted in just the storyboard phase.  

The first storyboard I am commenting on is the one I had from my Boise State course, it was for my Minecraft for Education Documentary. The template is a very linear, simple boxed design but I appreciate that I can easily communicate my ideas on the left with visuals on the right.  Using this format I can easily line things up, and I could easily cut and paste and move things around if I needed to.  I wonder if it is too simple and does not have enough for eLearning slides, it would be great for short videos but feel that I would need something more fleshed out for eLearning.

After watching the videos by Tim Slade I thought of my eLearning Storyboard notebook that he created, it’s very simple but packed with ideas. Recently when I started to build an instructional video for OPWL 523 I referenced it often to get ideas on what I needed to think of when I was building it. Tim Slade’s notebook has slide information, a slide-type with a checklist, a slide design that I can draw out with, a box for Audio Narration/On-Screen Text, and two boxes at the bottom with Technical Notes and Navigation. What I loved was all of this information that I didn’t even think about on one page, and it would really push me to think about these aspects.  The cons are that these are SO finite that I don’t know how reasonable they would be to use in my current practice. We are often rapidly deploying eLearning and the emphasis seems to be on getting content out, this process would make it difficult to do that.

On Tim’s blog, I did find more storyboarding templates including a visual and written storyboard, these were free and downloadable and much more reasonable for everyday use.  As someone who prefers visuals and often thinks in pictures, I really gravitated towards the visual Storyboard Template. It had a box for audio or text, interactivity and programming notes, and a slide mockup.  The pros of this were definitely the ability to create a visual mockup, but also take into consideration will I have to code a progress bar? What type of transition or movements. The only negative would be taking Tim’s advice about reducing visual design that could hinder a Stakeholder or SME’s ability to look at the content which would be difficult with this template including a visual mockup space. 

Two people playing Stark trek bridge crew in VR

From Star Trek to VR

Being an avid Star Trek fan, I have always been chasing the idea of a tablet you could write on digitally.  In the early 2000s, Gateway had a store, and they also had a tablet that cost several thousand dollars. I wanted it so bad and had dreams of taking notes in college with it.  Over the years I have seen computer companies try and fail to create a truly responsive tablet. I bought a Surface early on, but found the tablet was still “not right.”  Finally, with the advent of the Ipad Pro and the Apple pencil, my dreams have become realized (as nerdy as that may seem.) This summer I am using my iPad as the core of my classes,  I am able to take fantastic notes, split-screen between content and videos.  And I have seen the studies regarding writing notes over typing, and it seems to work for me.   

It took nearly 20 years for the technology to catch up to our dreams, and I hope to watch video evolve in this way as well.  Many of my friends already have VR, although it has a pricey entrance ticket, however, I think as more companies invest (especially in workforce learning) we will see some amazing advancements and it finally will be available to everyone.  I have been a Microsoft Innovative Educator for several years and about 2 years ago I was shown a product they were working on for elementary students AND neurodivergent students.  

Microsoft has an immersive reader product that really helps focus readers, utilizes text to speech, and more.  What Microsoft showed us (and was recently released) was using an immersive reader to actually put the student into a VR state while reading, enabling students to swipe text, move text, and separate words.  This advanced technology would allow so many neurodivergent students who often can’t understand text in the 1D world into the 3D world. 

For video, I hope that we can continue to build immersive, high-quality videos that will engage learners but also maintain the idea of diverse learners.  I can imagine, 3D screens (cue Hololens) and other interactive types of video, for my teaching practice Edpuzzle was a game-changer during the pandemic.  Normally in class, I would model efficient reading strategies and throw in comprehension, guiding, or summaries of text as we went.  When we went to 100% online, I was able to record myself reading and put in interactive questions and more for students.  I believe in the future our video will be rich, dynamic, and accessible anywhere and anytime.  Working in the Instructional Design field I am already seeing the demand for busy CEOs to get their learning when they can, from wherever they can.  

Another piece is that many college students are adults, with families and work — having interactive lectures that are available at any time with all of the prompts built-in, maybe even physically dragging and dropping items in VR would be amazing to see. I feel the same as I did in 2002 while standing in the Gateway store, I am excited for where tech takes us and the issues we have to grapple with along the way.

Learning Reflection #5

As a transitioning teacher, it has been extremely tough, I never expected that while many start at 0 in the hiring process I am starting at -10.  I have to prove myself competent, I have to prove my tech skills and the fine line between relating my experience as a teacher and being seen as “too treachery”.  In an informal interview this week, simply a phone screen with the Manager of the department, we discussed her needs and I immediately went to scenario-based learning as a solution.  

The manager immediately perked up and we discussed how she also loves scenario learning, at the end of the call she encouraged me to apply, she said I sounded great.  And then there was the inevitable but….”but you have no corporate experience, I am not sure you will get past the recruiter.” she replied. I was devastated, my job fits perfectly in Instructional Design, I have almost two masters in education and a wealth of experience, and yet it feels like it hurts me?  

While I am still grappling with my “pivot” I am excited to continue to learn about SBeL and feel that the book we are reading could be one of the most important I read, and something I will refer back to often. It’s something I did in teaching. I even have a Mystery game I built for the Salem Witch Trials in PowerPoint, where the student is immersed in the world of Salem. The learner ultimately has to deduce who lied and what was happening in the Salem Witch trials. I am excited to see how my skills in this area continue to grow in this area and how I can translate these skills into corporate experince. 

clapperboard icon with Tech Nerd to Screencaster

Tech Nerd to Screencaster

OPWL 523 – Week 2

Growing up I was always a tech nerd, I am an elder millennial, so my time with the internet began with AOL in middle school.  The minute I started working with computers I fell in love, I taught myself graphic design and used it to create personalized graphics in games. When things went wrong on our PC I found I had a knack for fixing them.  And I still remember changing all my Mom’s program icons and sounds to Jim Carry as a prank. Being in this early time and also a female, I was told the internet wouldn’t go anywhere….graphic design was filled with no jobs…so I moved on. 

Somehow I landed in teaching, and I brought with me my love for gaming, tech, and graphic design.  It served me well and I quickly became known as someone to go to for troubleshooting to innovative technology teaching practices.  For two years I advocated for the use of computers within the classroom in order to provide accessible learning to my neurodivergent students.  When the pandemic hit, I suddenly was thrown into the thick of it, walking some teachers through how to open their emails from home while also helping solve systematic problems like scheduling Teams chats.  

I started a Youtube channel to support the teachers in my district while we were home. I pushed out content quickly and efficiently because we didn’t have time to always plan and edit. TechSmith’s ‘Ultimate Guide to Easily Make Instructional Videos’ resonated with me on several levels.  

First, it was helpful to see the breakdown in different types of instructional videos, almost all I did during the pandemic were screencasts so teachers could follow along, however, I do have some microlearning videos I did for kids and I personally watch Presentation videos almost weekly.  

With my focus being teachers in my specific district with our specific tools, I really knew my audience which TechSmith lists as the #1 tip.  Being pressed for time, and the urgency strong, I was pressured into both not focusing on making sure it was perfect and worrying about my equipment.  I enjoyed making very short, to-the-point videos for busy teachers, and I quickly became recognized for it. 

TechSmith really does a great job of explaining the process for creating videos, it’s something I will keep to reference especially since I am currently taking a Storyboarding course. I am looking forward to doing a bit more work in overlaying audio and visuals, I never did this in my videos as I worked with screencast software like Screencastify. I am excited to start learning and working within Camtasia and finding out how I can use it to create professional videos.