Blog Field Trip to Techsmith

Jan 21, 2008 by

Last Friday, I took a field trip to the TechSmith campus in Okemos, Michigan (near Lansing). Dave was a great tour guide and showed me all the facilities and introduced me around the offices. I met with the training team for a while and we brainstormed on strategies for how to get instructors who are scared of technology to participate in technology training so that they can use software like Jing, Camtasia, or SnagIt.

Then I had lunch with the whole TechSmith gang (they have a company lunch every Friday). After lunch, I was interviewed for the next TechSmith newsletter about how we, in math education, are using Camtasia and Jing. I stressed how important it is for educators to continue to use Jing in the classroom and that if there ever is a pricing change, how much we would appreciate it if that change happened not in the middle of a semester.

And finally, at the end of my visit, I got a sneak peak at the next TechSmith product (a spin-off product of Camtasia studio). I can’t say much about it here, but I can tell you that it will make it easier for instructors who are not technologically savvy to record their materials “live” as they are working in the classroom. Just trust me and schedule time to demo an “unknown TechSmith product” in your fall faculty development sessions.

I did pass along your suggestions to Techsmith. I must’ve mentioned the lack of superscripts and subscripts in SnagIt and Camtasia Flash Quizzes to everyone whom I was introduced to. The ideas for easy “pause” markings and question-asking during videos were well-received too.

You can tell that TechSmith is a fun place to work and everyone had an upbeat attitude even when talking about problems. They have a couple of “creative” work areas, which include a video game system, bowling pins, and a ping pong set up. Somehow the bowling pins are involved in a modified game of ping pong with ever-changing rules… but I don’t think I quite caught all of that.
I thought it was funny that almost every single TechSmith employee had at least dual monitors (if not dual monitors + multiple computers). I’ve been using dual monitors for almost 10 years now, but most people who walk into my office at school think it’s pretty strange. How does anyone function without two monitors… I have no idea!

I think I may have convinced TechSmith to show up at ICTCM and AMATYC this year … no promises, but it sounds like they will at least scout our math conferences for next year if they don’t make it this year.

I did pick up some TechSmith T-Shirts, pens, and highlighters, so I’ll be giving those away in a contest. If a “Take a Screenshot… It will last longer.” T-Shirt is a must-have for you, then keep an eye out for a future post about the contest.

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  1. Dave McCollom

    Thanks Maria! We really enjoyed your visit as well!


  2. Scott

    What fun, Maria. Your post has given me a great idea: I sooo need to do similar trips to Dell and to Griffin Technologies, both within striking range of my school in Nashville! Thanks for putting in the plug for teachers and pricing–I’ve been using Camtasia for demos for a good while, ever since I won a copy at a NECC years ago.

    BTW, any of your readers who might be in Second Life should visit ISTE Island and vote for Teaching College Math at the Blogger’s Hut there. It’s one of 5 in the running to have its RSS feed displayed in the hut for the month of February! Cheerio!

  3. Maria H. Andersen

    Oh man… does that mean I have to venture into 2nd life? I mean, I wouldn’t want to miss my chance to vote for my own blog!

    But ACK! I don’t have time this month! 2nd Life is one of my future projects…

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