Music Technology Courseware Options

Mike Lawson • Technology • April 1, 2005

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Though multimedia was a buzz word ten years ago, it didn’t really become a standard software application for the education professional (beyond PowerPoint) until recently. Hardware, advances like RAM, CPU and storage devices have brought about a multimedia explosion with Flash animation, newer graphics and audio and video file formats such as Flash, animated GIFs, QuickTime, .mp3 and much more. I can’t think of a faster way to add impact to your teaching than to incorporate multimedia authoring tools in your daily presentations in traditional music classes and in music technology courseware.

These new multimedia authoring applications can make it possible and even easy to produce professional looking instructional presentations. For a good summary of multimedia authoring applications, go to ming/resources/cal/mmedia.aspx (this link is dated last updated Sep/03). With 30+ products and learning links that make it simple to use. Interested in learning what to do with multimedia authoring tools? Go to which focuses on four essential topics: 1) creating student multimedia projects, 2) capturing Internet content for portfolios, 3) multimedia presentation software and 4) putting multimedia projects on-line.

For on-line examples, Camtasia, a PowerPoint Add-On, illustrates e-learning for Qwest at: and for the University of Colorado: SYMPOSIUM/part2.aspx. Michigan State University uses Articulate Presenter at:

Perhaps, it might be first important to view training videos and sample projects on-line to understand the simplicity and power of this multimedia authoring medium. Recommend you go to: There, the Yarmouth colonies project can be viewed as it was created by a grade 5 class. Note: most of the teachers in this project are not tech savvy. There are also ideas that you can download pertinent for the classroom and resources. Lesson plans can be viewed at: And if that wasn’t enough, there is an informative library of resources and templates at:

A Good Beginning
Most of you are probably familiar with PowerPoint slideshows. This is a good starting point to begin your familiarity with this topic. If you need some tutorials to get you going, search on Dogpile (‘ which indexes Google and other leading search engines for “PowerPoint tutorials” and you get some very good, online jump-start tutorials. A favorite PowerPoint tutorial of mine is “PowerPoint in the Classroom” at which helps you to create slides, make changes, add images, charts, motion, and sound. Want to see some of the best PowerPoint slide shows on the Web? Go to: for samples of some great PowerPoint shows.

PowerPoint has always been a good tool for creating presentations, from school and college projects to client proposals and product launches. But the typical presentation has gotten pretty formulaic, so that people are often turned off at the idea of viewing another one. But Microsoft Producer, available for PowerPoint 2002 and 2003, lets you add a whole new dimension to your presentations by combining audio, video, text, slides and images into a single production – and it is free. But did you know you can also enhance your PowerPoint presentations with third-party Plug-In/Add-On applications that can make your presentations even more impressive? These can also increase your productivity since PowerPoint does not like playing QuickTime files. Other software packages can handle far more file formats with ease. PowerPoint produces very large files which can really mess with your Internet bandwidth especially for telephone modem connections. For example, Camtasia Studio ( records all the aspects of your PowerPoint presentation and publishes it in all of the common multimedia formats: Macromedia Flash (SWF), AVI, QuickTime (MOV), Executable (EXE), Macromedia Flash Video (FLV), Windows Media (WMV), RealMedia (RM), and Animated GIF. It literally records all the multimedia elements of your PowerPoint presentation, including animation and voice narration, and publishes it on a Web site or on CD!

Camtasia Studio ( is a complete PowerPoint Add-On solution. It quickly creates professional-looking videos on your PC desktop activity from your PowerPoint slide shows. It can easily improve and post PowerPoint slide shows on the Web. Anyone can record and create a full-motion video tutorial or presentation, in real-time, and publish it in the format of their choice. No multimedia or programming experience necessary. It overcomes the limits of the print screen key with award-winning screen capture. In addition, it will record your activity on the screen, your narration and system audio, edit, enhance and add interactive hot spots, publish in a wide variety of formats including Flash, CD-ROM and streaming video.

With Camtasia Studio, you get the best of both worlds: perfect quality screen recordings and small file sizes. Camtasia Studio’s industry-leading video compression was designed to give the highest possible compression to screen recordings without sacrificing video quality. Small file sizes open doors for distribution on the web, via e-mail or on CD-ROM. So you can connect with your viewers. Camtasia Studio captures your voice as well as sound from the applications you’re recording. Even when it’s as simple as saying “From the file menu, choose…” It is reassuring to be guided through a complex process with something a familiar and simple as “From the file menu, choose…” There are four important reasons why Camtasia is an excellent product. First, it requires no assembly and anyone can click Record to create a tutorial or demonstration. Unlike other applications that require you to construct a series of screen shots into something that looks like a video, Camtasia Studio records real, full-motion video in real-time. Second, it is versatile. Camtasia Studio will record all the activity from every software, PowerPoint presentation or web site – even dynamic applications, such as animations and streaming video. With Camtasia Studio, there is no limit to what you can record, so you can accept and complete any project with confidence. Third, it is a complete solution. It enables you to record, edit, import and publish your videos in multiple formats. Finally, it has free technical support both before and after purchase.

Selected Multimedia Authoring Applications: Third-Party Options
Perhaps, you are ready to upgrade your multimedia presentations of PowerPoint to the next level? We know multimedia authoring programs can reduce the size of PowerPoint data files and make it easier to use. But these applications offer more creative opportunities and interactive projects which you can navigate anywhere, anytime. Here are some additional interesting products you should know about: CRE: 8, DazzlerMax 5.5, Macromedia Director MX, Macromedia Breeze, Articulate Presenter and Quizmaker, eZedia QT1, and Liquid Media Professional. Prices vary from under $79 to $999.99. Some come with educator pricing, such as eZedia QT1 and Liquid Media.

CRE:8 by PresentWare ( does for multimedia what the word processor did for typing. It allows you to build, edit, and publish a stunning interactive multimedia CD presentation in minutes. No complicated programming or steep learning curve means you can quickly become comfortable with the software and consider yourself a pro in under an hour. CRE:8 is more than a glorified slide show. It automatically creates real interactive menus and adds or subtracts selections from the published presentation by checking a box. Your work remains safe and can be added or edited. It is user and viewer friendly and versatile. Priced at under $200, it represents a lot of features. Please note that it presents your presentations on CD but does not make web presentations at the present time.

DazzlerMax 5.5, at and, is a family of software products for producing interactive multimedia presentations, training courses, product catalogues and kiosk systems. No need to learn a programming or scripting language. DazzlerMax acts as the glue for assembling all your multimedia elements: text, sound, pictures, video, animations. Internet pages can be incorporated into your presentations. Just drag and drop the appropriate icon. It’s all accomplished with a few clicks of the mouse. Even TV-style 3D effects are possible. When you are finished building, you can publish using the DazzlerMax Packaging Wizard, delivering to diskette, or CD. You can also publish for an Intranet or Internet site without having to buy and learn another program. DazzlerMax Java Player allows you to use the power of Java without having to write a single line of Java code. It runs under Microsoft Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, NT4.0 and XP and only requires a 486 processor PC, 16 MB RAM and 10 MB free hard disk drive space.

eZediaQT1 ( is an incredible multimedia authoring application for interactive web presentations at a fraction of the cost of Articulate applications. It is the next generation in multimedia authoring software for the web, written by educators for educators and their students. eZediaQTI uses drag-and-drop technology that lets you quickly create web sites, online presentations, interactive movies and Internet banners quickly – no HTML programming knowledge required. It is a good buy at $79 for a school copy and only $20 teacher home use (digital download only). It is specifically designed for entry-level users but has depth for you to mature with it. I particularly like the Paint tools for editing graphics or creating your own. There are on-line training videos and tutorials for quick mastery of the product.

PowerPoint presentations made in QT1 will be about nine times smaller than those built in PowerPoint and you will a lot more control over music and movies within a QT1 slide show. Please note that the present version will not import PPT files but can link to them and will play Flash 5 files but not Flash 6, because QT1 does not presently support Flash 6.

You can create an interactive movie (like a slide show) and easily include that movie into an HTML page. You can also include streaming video.

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