In the beginning, there were rocks...
Scott had been teaching introductory earth science. With chalk on the board during the Paleozoic Era. Then with overhead projector plastic sheets during the Mesozoic Era. Then with laptops and PowerPoint during the Cenozoic Era.
But PowerPoint was finicky - running videos from inside PowerPoint was more difficult than finding diamonds in Alabama. So Scott bought Camtasia. And he learned video editing. And transcoding. And he spent a year creating a library of great video snips from YouTube to improve his teaching.
That workload nearly forced Scott into retirement (just kidding).
There HAD to be a better way to exploit YouTube, the biggest video archive on the web, for student engagement, teaching, and learning.
And then along came Kursat!
Kursat was completing his doctoral dissertation, on computer technology in education. And Kursat joined with Scott to develop an effective pill for the pain of PowerPoint video.
Kursat and Scott developed an online software service at www.ezsnips.com. EZSnips helps you to makes a link that plays a video snip from YouTube. The link can be added to a PowerPoint slide. Or any other web-compatible environment. And during the lecture, Scott just clicks the link to play the video snip.
Just like that. A snip in a snap!
The UAB Research Foundation liked the idea so much they nominated the ezsnips team to the 2011-12 class of Alabama Launchpad, a startup competition. And ezsnips made it to the finals! But we didn't win the $100,000 - we were bummed!
But that didn't stop us.
www.ezsnips.com is operational and in beta. Scott has been using it full time in his earth science course. For student engagement. For video tutorials. For feedback and assessment. He's lecturing less, and students are thinking more. About incredible snips that challenge ideas, And require written responses. Scott's teaching has dramatically changed because ezsnips as a tool takes the pain out of using video in the classroom. And on the web.
Scott and Kursat have presented results of their research at international meetings. You can download copies of their papers here.