Friday, March 9, 2012

Test Recording Devices Frequently

I had a bit of a crisis this week. My 4th and last CalTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) is due on Monday, March 12th. I was required to answer 15 pages worth of questions. All of those questions were supposed to be based on a lesson that I would teach. The first time I recorded, I used the integrated camera of my laptop. I've recorded many 2 min videos with it before. I recorded a couple videos longer than 40 min. The video I recorded in class was about 40 minutes. The first 10 minutes had audio, but the last 30 min did not have audio. Unfortunately, I didn't test to see that my recording software could successfully record videos longer than even 20 minutes. I assumed it would work since it gave me the option to record videos 60 min in length. My first recording was useless because my CalTPA required I submit a 20 min video (with audio).

Then, I use my Flip camera to record myself teach the same lesson to a different class since I couldn't teach the same lesson to the same class. The lesson was great and I had tested my camera before. I thought I knew how to save a file on my Flip camera. I closed my Flip camera expecting it to save automatically. I plugged it into a computer at school and the file I recorded was reading at 0 KB. In other words, the file was corrupted.

Today, I recorded my last lesson. Before doing so, I tested it like 3 or 4 times. After doing so, I realized that instead of pressing record and then just shutting the camera, I had to hit record, hit OK when I'm finished, press mode to double check that the file is on my camera, then I can close the camera. And, voila... I finally have a video file with working audio to submit for my fourth CalTPA.

That happened within the course of 3 or 4 days. I'm so glad that its over. Getting that video makes the difference between me getting and not getting my credential. What's the lesson here? #1 Test out your recording device for the exact length of time that you will need to use it for. Pick random intervals throughout the video to verify that the video and audio remains intact. #2 Test how to use it 3 or 4 times without error before establishing self-confidence in your ability to use it.

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