Some of the saddest forum entries I've ever read were in abandoned open source projects "is anyone there, why doesn't anyone reply?"
I think in many ways I would be more comfortable if free open-source projects charged some type of fee. Perhaps I'm just old and cynical, but I suspect there'd be less abandoning of OSS projects if there were some $ to be made. Creating a community, being recognized by your peers, other non-monetary motivators; can go along way to "pay" for involvement but there comes a point where the mortgage needs to be paid and families need to be fed.
Some of my students download Camtasia (you can have 15 or 30 days trial program) but when the trial goes out they do not buy the program. It is much wicer for us to stick to free programs such as camstudio. No paperwork and no licencing fees means you have more choice.
Here is my screencast about Camstudio (done in Camtasia)
Same in wmv format:
Here is a screencast done in Camstudio:
I do think the sound quality is not as good as Camtasia and you dont have the fancy menus etc. but it is ok.
I believe the open source camstudio is found here:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio/ .The home page for the product is located here: http://www.camstudio.org/
The one you found may be from the same family though - I'm unsure - we'll have to get Salvor to clarify things for us.
Another freeware (not open source) screencasting product is wink (http://www.debugmode.com/wink/) - it does not allow sound yet though.
Rob or anyone else doing screencasts...could you provide a comparison between using the camstudio product and the wink one?
I will be doing a screencasting workshop in Sri Lanka this Fall and want to recommend OSS products rather than camtasia or captivate.
In this respect, I see things like this: when I want to do something (create a flash animation, record a sound) I am not wanting to customise, or get under the hood. Kids in a class I teach may. I just want to do it, and not worry about the technical details.
When I install my CMS I do. That is my frustration with the commercial CMS I work with. "No, you cannot touch this module" "No, it won't do this"
I had a memory. Years ago I discovered the difference between scripting and compiled applications. Scripting is in lines of instructions you run. (PHP, the engine behind Moodle and wordpress is the classic example) easy to tinker with even with limited understanding "To change the header, go to line 205 and change the image name to the one you want". Scripts are written in geeky english.
Executables (like say audacity.exe) are different. you need the code (which varies in understandability) and then compiled (into gibberish the machine can understand) and then run, a more complex process for most of us.
What does this mean? Kids can do wonderful things. (And not so wonderful, but that is another matter). They can tinker with scripts, dabble around the fringes, modify and so on. I guess one classic example of this is what kids are doing with the web - podcasting, youtubing, myspacing. Open source can be fun in this respect. Fun for some. :-) But Sally and Sue tinkering in the back row in your class can help a lot of other kids . . . my musing for the day.
Many podcasting sites, some blog sites, some vlbogs sites, youtube.com, myspace.com are not open source, they're not shareware/freeware, so what are they? They are services running on a proprietary framework that are offered for free. You can't change the code, only the content. Some of those content changes allow you to personalize your interactions, but you can't actually go in and copy/change the code and run it on a different site.
Another addition to the discussion would be mashups. Those are open APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow you to integrate content from external sites to display content on your site. The usual example is the mashup up Craigslist and Google maps http://news.com.com/2061-10803_3-5687691.html
Just as there are now free blog aggregator sites, like bloglines.com, I think that in the next couple of years we'll see the beginnings of mashup aggragator sites that offer services to integrate content from several sites to display rich information. There are still some pesky security problems to overcome, but that's one of the promises of Web 2.0.
Another example of young students doing screencasts is here:
and another from Teacher Candidates in a B-Ed program:
(these examples use camtasia but it shows what is possible!).
Here is a video I found on the Camstudio Blog showing how to re-compress the camstudio AVI using Virtual Dub (another OSS product) -
The camstudio blog is interesting to read...gives a bit of insight into the OSS developer psyche - He's in a dilemma like the one we're kicking about here...He asks his blog readers in a post on Oct. 10th:
..... So, I want your advice … what would you do if you were in my shoes …?
- Should I just out-and-out start selling it …?
- Should I keep it free to download but sell it on a CD with some video tutorials …?
- Should I keep it free and charge for support …?
- Should I just ask users for a small donation every month, like $5 …?
- All of the above …? Something else …?
WHAT SHOULD I DO …?Sue
For example, would SCoPE exist without Moodle or another similar open source application?
Could the average K-12 classroom teacher make use blogs in their classroom if Wordpress or Drupal weren't free?
Schools can also make use of Open Office instead of spending money on a commercial product, or just having to go without.
That could become a negative if the OSS project team is also involved in developing fee based services because of the tempation to reduce free functionality as a way to potatoe chip people into using fee based services/products, similar to how fee based applications offer a "free" limited feature version to hook you into their fee based version.
If a tool doesn't have good support community, I am less likely to try it in the first place.
Free gives me the chance to try out a lot of different tools and decide which ones will be of good use to me and which ones will be the best tool for the learners in our programs.
Also on a side note, shareware that is totally free is traditionally called freeware. An important distinction because shareware typically requests a small donation to keep the project going.
This is just my opinion, but I do find that OSS, freeware and even many shareware applications that I've used seem to do a better job of keeping end-users in mind. From the user side (as opposed to the tech / installation side) they seem to be easier to use (warning: another overgeneralization). Perhaps it's because there is no major company behind them, these applications tend to be less grandiose.
I've just finished a course where the aspiration was to give participants a chance to choose/design/follow their own learning pathway . . . I think we achieved it, and I find out most of the course members are going to continue with more courses in the qualification. But we struggled with some of the environment factors, how best to give power to participants within a decent structure. We have actually tried to help them built it themselves. In the process we have experimented with among other things a whole range of new free fun stuff: blogger, wordpress, shelfari, netvibes, flickr, vox, multiply, Moodle, meebo, delicious, tons of plugins for Firefox, Skype . . .
- http://www.shelfari.com/ book/recommendations sharing
- Meebo: integrates a whole bunch of instant messaging things into one.
- Multiply and Vox: yet another social software personal space, blogging, collaboration space, each with a special flavour . . .
CANSA: Here is a nifty concept, which may help in the personalisation of the learning environment and may help with the creation of a genuinely personal learning pathway:
I'm happy to announce that CANS is now available for download at http://www.cansaware.com
CANS is a notification system for Sakai that is designed around the importance of a user´s social context and personal notification preferences. It is designed to provide only the notification information users want and to allow users to choose where they want to receive that notification information. A few of the "places" a user can receive notifications include: email, on mobile devices, on their personal desktop via desktop widgets, in Sakai itself, and more. I've held tech demos for an older version of CANS at the last couple Sakai conferences and this original version has been in production at the University of Missouri since August 2005.
I've recently made several modifications and enhancements to CANS so I don't consider this version ready for production use at this time. It needs to be more thoroughly tested and beat on, but it is ready for those who want to see what it can offer and it should be good to go for the Spring semester.
A few of my recent enhancements to CANS include:
* It now uses Hibernate
* An administrative feature has been added to the CANS server so people should now be able to write Sakai tools to administer CANS from within Sakai
* I have a new (non-Sakai) Administrative Tool for CANS called the CANS Wizard - this tool is written in Perl and needs to be converted into a real Sakai Tool
* I've added geographical awareness capabilities to CANS - this will allow CANS to send geographically-based notifications (using the user's home/work address, IP address, or latitude/longitude coordinates) - I'll be making a Google Maps script available soon to demonstrate the lat/long feature. NOTE: this feature is not "on" by default and a Sakai tool needs to be built to allow users to opt-in for this service.
This is exciting for me, not so much because of this particular product (which we could hack about a bit) but because they are actually doing it, and have some challenging thinking and philosophy behind it. This puts the learner in the centre of the learning experience.
In the CMS/PLE/LMS/VLE scene: I love open source!!
Hey, it's Friday here, :-) hope you all have a nice weekend.
Derek W works down the road a CORE-Ed. He came into our course that is just finishing as a guest for three weeks looking at some of these questions, and we finished up each week with a course teleconference.
Derek (W) and I had a chat yesterday as a bit of a debrief to see where to go from here. His blog posts are very special. Watch for another one soon on PLE's - Personal Learning Environment's. :-)
Regarding more about our course - I have posted an overview somewhere here earlier this year in another discussion, but I cannot find it at the moment. I'll be back later.
I, too, am very interested in learning more about your experience in combining structure with a person-centered learning environment. Can you give us more specifics? How did you include the learners in designing the environment? What structure did you decide was necessary for you (or your institution)? Will your students be able to take the things they learned in your course with them into their other courses -- techniques? tools?
After your wonderful weekend, I'd love to hear more about what you did and what you learned.
How did you include the learners in designing the environment?
We provided some structure: like some forums and a personal journal. (Which, by the way I will not use again)
Participants could then choose where they managed their learning. At the click of a button we can give them a personal workspace with full admin functionality in the closed course area, or in a public community area or in the world. Two participants set up their own place outside the site using the same functionality I had as a course lecturer.
Or they set up their own space/blog/whatever.
Or they worked in word docs.
Last time through we gave the right to set up your own interest groups with no tutor input at all.
All this with lots of dialogue. One key element was "see what you needed to learn in your work area - build on this" and "Have fun (lots of it) and experiment" and "reflect" and "Build resiliance - if you get a crashed browser, just lapse, but don't collapse"
What structure did you decide was necessary for you (or your institution)?
Ahh. Good point. This is defined as a Level 7 course, which has certain characteristics - this was communicated on day 1.
We used narrative assessment.
Here is the romantic view:
Two sides to the formal assessment part. They provide the evidence of learning. We help them learn to recognise this.
All the actual personal learning is done in real contexts.
We have three entities we call springboards that are in course, more formal and act as catalysts. this accounts for about 30-34 % or the course.
Final artifact is a portfolio, some of which must be public to others in the course, and must contain links to on course activities, reflection and interaction, as well as any specific outputs.
Will your students be able to take the things they learned in your course with them into their other courses -- techniques?
Yes. All the course interactions will remain there and accessible. One place left open for interaction for probably a year or so.
The community area is probably going to be indefinitely open.
Our institution is shifting several courses more out of our normal CMS into this site. This will give a portfolio of courses each with a closed space and a free ranging community area. We are looking at how to manage the entities that emerge so we don't have the clutter of lots and lots of spaces. How to manage leadership etc in each area. etc.
That's why the CANS thing was of interest.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I can define the functionality we see as beneficial to start with. I'll find a link to this at work next week. I'm becoming more radical here. "Give participants structure and freedom - a place to work, and the ability to make connections - in a real work context"
If you want to addle your brain a little in the best sense, track down elggspaces. Derek told me about this yesterday, I have not followed it up yet, I think this is a new development for elgg just this week. Open source + community + opportunity for real learning at it's best, at least at this time, and if you want to see the debate, just Google George Siemens.
More sometime, CU - Derek
Would you describe elggspaces as being able to satisfy this need?
A worksite is just the label put on the space. Mostly it's just for play. :-) If you'd like to poke around Sakai you're welcome to use the SCoPE worksite.
- Create an account at http://collab.sakaiproject.org/
- One in your workspace click on "membership" then the "joinable sites" link
- Scroll down to SCoPE (you may have to click the next button to get to there)
- Select SCoPE and click join
There hasn't been any activity in there for a long time so you'll find it a little bare! Let me know if you have difficulties finding your say to the SCoPE worksite. I think I have it set up properly but I'm not 100% sure.
As far as an education open source project Sakai sure has attracted a lot of attention. I've lost track of the latest developments, but it seemed they were using an interesting partnership model. Has it become a the "designed by educators" LMS everyone was hoping for?