I usually start my tech team meetings with a demonstration of some software, resource, or other tech-related concept. We had a meeting yesterday, but it’s been a busy week, and I was going to skip the demo. I didn’t have time to prepare anything, and there weren’t any resources jumping out screaming to be shown.

WinkI arrived a little early for the meeting. It’s after school in one of our elementary schools, and if you get caught in bus traffic, it can be a real headache. So I had about half an hour to kill before the meeting. I was looking through my bookmarks and I found Wink. I don’t know exactly where I heard about it; it was one of those things that you hear about and file away to look at when you have more time. I remembered that it had something to do with screen captures, and that people used it to create little tutorials. So I downloaded it and installed it. I played around with it for about five minutes and created a short little Flash movie. Then, I searched the forums and found lots of good examples (like these) of how people are using it.

Meeting time came. I showed the assembled teachers, administrators, and other educational technology professionals the program. You launch it create a new presentation. You tell it to capture the screen in one of several resolutions, and whether you want it to record audio at the same time. Then, you minimize the program. You start and stop the recording with key combinations (now I actually have a use for the pause key). When you’re done, it imports the captured frames into the Wink program. Then, you can add text, navigation links, audio, or graphics to highlight various parts of the screen. When you’re done, export it as a web page, PDF file, or Flash movie. We spent maybe five minutes in the program.

The teachers were excited about it. Several thought of immediate applications for it. Maybe a 4th grade science class is going to be graphing data they’ve collected. The teacher records a little movie showing them how to do exactly what they need. The kids get a little just-in-time demonstration, then they’re off to the task at hand.

Today, I received this in email from one of our elementary computer lab managers:

That Wink program is awesome. I’ve already created 4 PowerPoint tutorials with it, narration and all. It will be interesting to see if 2nd or 3rd graders can watch them and then transfer what they have seen and heard to their own work. I’ve made an adding text, inserting a picture from file, adding narration, and saving a pp slide. I’ll let you know how they work out. It was really easier than I realized.

Here are the presentations she created the first time she used the program:

This morning, our high school assistant principal was talking about how math teachers could use it to demonstrate working through various types of projects. One of my technicians has already created a couple short tutorials, and will probably make more to help people configure email, install anti-virus software, and set up printers. It looks like we have a winner.

Did I mention it’s free?