Tips for Making Tutorials

The following video has some good points to remember when making a tutorial. it is the kind of stuff I prefer, Quick & to the point, which also applies to the classroom. So onwards …

Points for making tutorials

  1. Remember the 3 rules of Youtube
    1. Title & Thumbnail get people to click
    2. First 5 second, to hook people (get them to watch)
    3. The rest of the video get them to comeback
  2. The title os the video should be quick and to the point
    • How to do <x> with <Y software> in <Z> minutes
  3. Video Thumbnail is directly related to the content of the video.
    • It should be the final product, not a random Photoshop image. Use High-quality free assets in the project for better polish.
    • Include the software’s icon in the thumbnail, just not in the bottom right, because of Youtube’s timestamp
  4. Use the first 5 seconds for useful information and to cut to the chase.
    • Links to all the assets/resources are in the description.
  5. All links in the description
    • Make them free and easy to access on a common public website. This way they will be available “forever” (or a long time).
    • Have a link to the final version of the project
    • Code/Software: github.com
    • Text Assets: https://pastebin.com/
    • Audio Assets: ???? freesound.org
    • Video Assets: ???? www.yotube.com
  6. The video itself
    • Clear through each step of the tutorial, until done.
    • Practice a few times for smoother delivery and reduce editing
    • Target to your audience: ie noobs vs XPerienced, etc.
  7. Wrap-up. Now it’s done, some self-promotion…
    • Support me via short courses, Patreon, etc. “Links in the Description”
    • Feed the algorithm with Like, Subscribe, & Bell.

Old hardware on Linux

Rummaging thru the shed I found an old Logictech QuickCam from 2005. I had tried it on my Windows10 laptop with no success, so I thought I’d give it a go on Linux. I only follow 2 steps from this tutorial, installing cheese and opening the cam in VLC.

It’s strange but this seams to be the case with some hardware. Microsoft maintains backwards compatibility, but not all hardware or software creators keep things up to date. Generally, Linux has a vast library of old drivers that still work with the modern kernel, and it’s developing a reputation on running on almost anything.

Visual Studio Code

OK. Now I need to add MS’ Visual Studio Code and notes here is what I did… Umm followed a tutorial… Well I’ll explain below

I was going to download the .deb packed from the visual studio project website, however, if I can automate the updating process I will. So I looked around and found these instructions. And I found another tutorial, How to Install Visual Studio Code on Ubuntu 18.04, which was similar to the first. So I followed that.

In summary;

sudo apt update
sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https wget
wget -q https://packages.microsoft.com/keys/microsoft.asc -O- | sudo apt-key add -
"deb [arch=amd64] https://packages.microsoft.com/repos/vscode stable main"
sudo apt update
sudo apt install code

So that’s now working…


Moving to Pop OS

These are notes for myself, chronically my learn linux by doing experiences when moving to a Linux Distro, known as Pop OS. So after a bit of research to confirm I could keep using the software I use, I backed up my data and made the switch. The main reasons I choose Pop OS include;

  • Pop OS is a flavour of Ubuntu, which I’ve used before.
  • It has NVidia graphics card support,
  • And why not, really

Research

There were a few changes out of the gate I needed to make to support what I usually use. And most of the list are available on Linux and a simple sudo apt install ... to get working, but there have been a few exceptions.

Programming

  • PyCharm for programming and teaching
  • Visual Studio Code for the same, but for work.
  • Notepad++, because I like it, but it did require WINE

Multimedia

  • Blender for 3D Animation, modelling and design
    • apt install blender
  • Ultimaker’s Cura for 3D printing
    • via the Pop Store
  • Darktable
    • preinstalled
  • Krita
    • apt-get install krita
  • Inkscape
    • preinstalled
  • OBS for screen recording
    • apt install ffmpeg
    • apt install obs-studio
  • DaVinci resolve for video editing

Games

  • Steam, and most of my Steam Library came over 🙂 or at least the important games, well the ones I go back to.
    • Via the Pop Store
  • Artemis, fun bridge simulator (via WINE)
  • Arkenforge, for local virtual tabletop. (also via WINE, but I’m still working out the bugs)

Just in case

  • Virtual Box for handling the few windows app that do not run natively on Linux 🙁 Mainly for Affinity Photo, Designer, & Publisher.
    • apt install virtualbox
    • The Affinity was installed on Windows 10 inside Virtual Box

First Steps & Hiccups

The first thing I did was install KDE (a windows like Desktop Environment) and Terminator (an improved terminal)
apt install terminator
apt install kde-standard

My mouse when buggy (well almost unusable), I found the drivers and with a apt install openrazer-meta the problem was solved.

Most of the software has been very easy to add, but as I found the solutions to the edge cases I’ll update things.

The good, the bad and the ugly of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Most schools have moved to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) structure where the student supplies the computing device for the education (or work environment).

The following points are taken from The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using BYOD In Schools. I’m just considering them in a boarder context of a secondary school environment where some of the pluses are need to be developed and some of the minuses need to be addressed to move forwards beyond the “Magical computer solving all our educational problems”. The cynical part of me looks at the way it pushes the cost of education onto the students, but

When I think of a BYO-Device it is usually a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Tech-savvy students are more likely to have a laptop where most will have a smartphone for easy of use and portability reasons.

Offers Comfort Of Using A Known Device.

A consideration of the student’s prior knowledge is needed here. Although it is a known device, how much do they really know? Web browsers, games, email? For a secondary environment we need to be explicit about what the device should be used for, how it could be misused, and what it is not capable of achieving.

For the 90% of cases where research, creating a document, presentation, tables of data, or graphs are needed then a simple device that can run Office Applications, or surf the web maybe all that is needed. However, how easy is it to use the device to complete that task? Are we training creators of content or just consumers?

It is unrealistic to expect a BYOD to be able to perform every computation task set it. For example; There are apps that can perform photo manipulation on all devices, however, it is not reasonable to have the teacher of image editing teach all that software at once. Then there is the consideration of training someone for industry where the expectation is to use industry standard software (ie. Adobe’s Photoshop).

Who is comfortable with the device? Regardless of the device the classroom teacher now becomes to first point of call for any technical problems, and they have to find software that is usable on all devices from desktops through to smartphones. This is likely to increase the workload on the teacher, until they become comfortable with multiple devices and operating systems.

Just because the student is comfortable with the device does not mean that everyone how may need to use it is. We also need to consider how the device is to be used in the classroom setting and how is can distract (see below). Then just because you are comfortable with something does not mean you know how to use it or how it works.

Leverages Students’ Love For Their Devices.

How do the student’s love the device? As a revolutionary piece of technology enhancing their lives, as a useful thing to connect to other people, or as  a toy?

A students love for their device does not tend to last that long, unless they have a passion for the field of Information Technology or Computing. For most students the technology becomes a ubiquitous thing that’s thrown into the bag with everything else.

We need to think how people choose to use the device. There have been studies that show how the different genders use the device. Males tend to use it as a toy to have fun with, where females tend to use it as a tool to achieve their goals. Once a basic level of competency has been reached device becomes secondary to what the student wants.

Do we want future artists or writers to become distracted by the devices that enable their art form instead of the art form itself. Ubiquitous computing in the form of BYOD should be an enabler of human endeavour not a distraction from it. Most of the time technology is the enabler once the thinking or planning is done.

A good example of this is when I start planning a brand new task or activity for students that I have never attempted before. It generally starts out as a rough idea of concept sketch before I write it up neatly. The rough working allows me to focus on the core idea without the distraction of anything except pencil and paper. The digital technology is brought in later to enable the neat formatting for a document, creating of the eLearning object, video or audio podcast.

Advanced Technology Makes Learning Easier.

Technology makes things easier by completing the computation of the task quicker than a person can do. The thinking of the task represented in the computations the technology does for us has already being done. The goal of any educator is to empower the student with the thinking to solve life’s problems and become a full member of society. This can be shown in how they handle the weekly shopping, communicate clearly, face complex situations, or deal with technology.

There is also the need for digital literacy, most people assume that the next generation is better adapted to use the current technology. However, more playtime with digital devices does not automatically lead to tech-savvy individuals. There is a fundamental need to educate everyone with some basic digital literacy. This is where ubiquitous technology inhibits the development of computational thinking.

Although BYOD can be used with virtual desktop software (VMware) or cloud computing services (gmail, google Docs, AdobeCC, tinkerCAD, etc) it can be foiled by network issues or Internet speeds. Virtual Desktops are not the same has having a powerful computer to run the application, especially when looking at topics like games programming, 3D Animation, or website development.

Then there is the issue of hardware or software failure. As soon as there is a technical issue the learning is stopped in it’s tracks while the problem is solved. So this creates the need to students to have some basic fault finding skills in addition to basic IT skills.

How To Reduce The Distraction?

This is a big one as BYOD can provide solutions to many problems with the easy creation of content with automated website creation websites like weebly, but if that is the intent of the learning is it worthwhile? or will it distract from the goal of the lesson, task, or activity.

If we are training people who can apply their mind to solve everyday problems, then we want the best opportunity to reach a solution. With so many distractions happening all around them, how can the learn to filter out the useless data and focus on the important stuff. Although the link is not explicit there has been a trend towards mindfulness in education, and this can been seen as a reaction to the technological overload.

As teachers BYOD forces us to focus on the real learning that can be done when using these devices. We need to be very explicit and clear about focus of the lesson and what is to be achieved by the end of the lesson, unit, term or semester.

Security: A Major Issue.

Point one above mentioned the comfort of using a known device, but this can also lead to complacency with the device. So that works against this point of security. Some schools manage this with curated devices while others leave it to the students, both of these options dis-empower the students. However, if you take the third option the technology is then driving the curriculum, which is a double edged sword. Students need digital literacy, but the technology is evolving so quickly that the curriculum needs to be updated almost every year.

What are the benefits of BYOD?

So after spending most of this post looking at the flaws of BYOD. It’s only fair to examine the benefits. In some cases having a personal device enhances the individual’s learning by allowing them ready access to the digital tools that allow them to create digital resources, gain access to remote resources, or to communicate across the world. These are huge benefits that educators have not had easy access to before. each with it’s own pitfall

What are the solutions to avoid problems with BYOD?

As with computer there are many solutions to the one problem with each having to be considered on it’s merits and flaws, and it’s suitability to the school environment.

One solution is a collection of curated devices that the students lease. A Standard Operating Environment (SOE) provides a uniform array of software on the device, that allow technicians to easily maintain the hardware and software. With a SOE it allows teachers to easily access the software they need to teach their subject. Technicians and teachers can be trained in the use of the software. The is an easier solution from an administration perspective. There can be other concerns around ownership of the hardware and the respectful treating of the device.

Another is best described as open season, where anyone can bring any device. This knocks out the supports that trained technicians can provide to the device, and that teachers can rely on to educate with. However, it does empower students with the control of their own device and with the right IT training that can become proficient users.

A variant of the open season BYOD is to use a virtual desktop to simulate a SOE or Desktop environment, but this tends to suffer from lag from network issues. These can be overcome with a robust network, however, as any computer gamer knows lag equals death. And the same is true with virtual desktops, as students are unwilling to wait when interacting with a virtual environment. A joke back in the ’90s was, What does www stand for?… World Wide Wait. Which highlights the issue of lag, and web designers now look to limit the average load time for a page to fractions of a second to avoid web browsers moving on.

In the virtual desktop environment, there is also the difficulty of how you interact with the device. Most virtual desktops are Windows-based and are optimised for a keyboard and mouse use, while the tablets (iPad, etc) or smart phones are touch orientated with limited screen real estate.

Sadly most of the positives of BYOD programs are temporary fads of a technological fix to educational problems and are unlikely to create lasting change in the desired way. There is an underlying assumption of the way we educate that needs to be addressed. The flipped classroom is a step in the right direction.

Also the devices we use are having a lasting effect on the way we thinking and interact with the world. Social media now plays a huge part of must students (& peoples) lives and concepts like the netiquette, appropriate behaviour, and where the data goes are all important. Which leads to poor impulse control as we choose not to defer our gratification and act out. The easy access of lots of information requires more skeptical or media savvy view of the content we consume. There is now a greater need to critically select and evaluate our information sources.

So if they are used properly BYOD can enhance the learning environment but there are a few things to note. They have limited use, because of the you have to pick stuff that will work with the weakest device and it is difficult to find Apps that work on all devices. This means that the device will be able to view websites, use email, create documents with an Office application, and watch videos. More complex tasks like image manipulation, audio/video editing are still the domain of the specialist, as there is not one app to rule them all. Although this is changing with cross platform development.