Did you ever sight-see from a car window? The visual is nice, but the experience is pretty passive. With Web 2.0, you get out of the car. Web 2.0 is interactive and collaborative. Anyone can create, contribute, and share content, and Web 2.0 can combine the knowledge of everyone who uses it. O’Reilly (2005) referred to this as Web 2.0’s capacity to harness collective intelligence. In Too Big To Know, Weinberger (2011) described the process as the “networking of knowledge” (p. xiii). No matter what the descriptor, Web 2.0 has changed the way knowledge is created.
There are many useful applications for creating, sharing, and contributing content with Web 2.0. This post highlights the features of one application—Snagit. Created by TechSmith, Snagit is a useful tool for producing images and videos. Download.cnet.com gives Snagit four stars out of five and says it is simple enough for beginners but has lots of powerful features. Snagit is popular, #26 on the list of Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016.
Snagit has three primary uses: screen captures, simple graphics, and quick videos. It also has a powerful sharing feature.
Anyone who has tried to describe an error message to tech support knows the advantage of sending an image of the message. Snagit makes screen captures a breeze. After installing Snagit, click the big red Capture button, and capture the selection.
Voila! The error message is ready to be saved and shared.
The capture can be edited by adding text callouts, arrows, highlights, borders, and more. Check out this introductory video for more details.
In addition to screen captures, Snagit is great for making simple graphics. After watching a short video, it took only a few minutes to create this graphic of a cat on a keyboard.
Making a video is also very easy in Snagit. Just click the Video tab before you click the Capture button. Snagit will start recording a video of your selection, with audio from the computer’s built-in microphone. If the computer has a camera, you can use that to record yourself in the video. Here are some instructions to get started.
Where Snagit really shines is with its Share feature. Snagit enables users to send captured media to hosting sites like Screencast.com, upload to Google Drive or Dropbox, embed in an email or Microsoft Office document, share on a social media site, post on YouTube, and more.
Snagit’s Share feature embraces the connected power of Web 2.0. It not only makes it easy to create and contribute content, it enables content as a source of Web 2.0 knowledge. Snagit is part of the revolution from printed manuals, to PDFs and help sites, to videos. Weinberger (2011) proposed that information has left traditional encyclopedias and libraries behind and moved into the network. In 1990, if you wanted to learn how to change the oil in your car, you might have borrowed a book from the library, but today you can watch a video on YouTube.
Every minute, about 300 videos are uploaded to YouTube, with 4 billion views a day. Snagit was downloaded 3,220 times last week. Given the ease and usefulness of these tools, the statistics are not surprising. The success of Snagit (and YouTube) was predicated on a scarce resource—videos—becoming abundant. In an interview about the disruptive power of collaboration, NYU professor Clay Shirky indicated that when a scarce resource becomes abundant it can completely alter an industry. Web 2.0 video creators do not need film expertise, specialized equipment, or complex distribution channels. Anyone with a computer, or even a smartphone, can make a video and share in on the net.
I investigated Snagit because I thought it might be helpful to my team. With employees in nearly every state and students all over the world, we spend a lot of time explaining via phone or email how to find things on the university’s website (library, catalogs, application forms) and within our internal systems (handbooks, help desk, benefits information). Snagit could be used to create “Show and Tell” images and videos, and a library of Snagit responses to common questions could be organized. Augmenting email communications with Snagit videos would add a personalized touch to help connect virtual team members. Graphics could be shared for collaborative editing, and Snagit could be used to develop training materials. In addition, faculty could create instructional videos or provide personalized feedback by adding notes, audio, or video comments to student assignments. Snagit would be helpful anytime a visual might enhance communication.
Snagit is easy to use and produces quick results. On the downside, Snagit is not free. An individual Snagit license is about $50; education, government/non-profit, and volume pricing is available. Another shortcoming is that Snagit does not have the myriad of features available in products such as Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator. However, more features can bring more complexity. Snagit is a simple and powerful tool—the kind of application that once you use it, you wonder how you lived without it.
O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. O’Reilly. Retrieved from http://www.oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html?page=1
Weinberger, D. (2011). Too big to know: Rethinking knowledge now that the facts aren’t the facts, experts are everywhere, and the smartest person in the room is the room. New York: Basic Books.