The tools I selected to focus on for our "Authoring Tool Exploration" project were: Screencastify, Schoology, and SmartBuilder.
One of the main reasons I selected these tools were because of price. I feel I have all price points met, as we all know, a good portion of decisions are made in regards to the budget. With that vast number of programs that are out there, in my opinion they are very similar as to what they offer. So, within reason and choices, here is my evaluation of each.
- WEBSITE: https://www.screencastify.com/
- DESCRIPTION: This particular authoring tool gives you a variety of choices with a variety of budget plans. I focused on the "Lite" package. Some major pros with this package is the price - free, You can also record desktop & browser and have narration with audio only or with webcam, it saves locally or to your google drive, has a set of basic drawing tools for focus, highlight, and mouse effects. Some cons would be not being able to edit, trim, or crop your recordings. Also has a watermark and can only be exported as a gif or mp4 file format. It has recording limits or 50 recordings per month.
- VIDEO: You can watch a demonstration of the Screencastify Lite version below.
- WEBSITE: https://www.schoology.com/
- DESCRIPTION: This elearning authoring tool gives you an assortment of choices. It will allow teachers to cerate and maintain a virtual classroom for their students. It allows for a rich e-learning experience for students that allows them to share content, engage in lessons, and allows for the teachers to connect and engage with other educators. Schoology is a way for teachers, students, and parents to interact. Schoology allows for creation of multiple courses and has a calendar and grading feature that interacts with the course.
- VIDEO: Please watch the my demonstration of Schoology below.
- WEBSITE: http://www.smartbuilder.com/
- DESCRIPTION: SmartBuilder is an authoring tool that is closely tied to that of PowerPoint. It is more powerful than PowerPoint, but not as powerful as Flash. SmartBuilder publishes its files as .swf, but can be played in any browser. You don't need to be a programmer to work with SmartBuilder. Now, SmartBuilder is quite expensive, currently priced at $1,490. SmartBuilder is a wonderful program if you have some technical background. However, some features might be cumbersome, depending on your level of training. However, with learning anything, you can become proficient with SmartBuilders vast array of helpful links.
- VIDEO: Please watch the my demonstration of SmartBuilder below.