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Book Review: Smart Social Media – Your Guide to Becoming a Highly Paid Social Media Manager

Just getting my new business off the ground, I thought I could benefit from all the advice I could get.  Lasse Rouhiainen’s book, Smart Social Media: Your Guide To Becoming A Highly Paid Social Media Manager*, proved to have some gems hidden in it. I will capitalize on his advice as I develop a business to help others figure out how to leverage social media. Read the rest of this entry

Tool Review: Sizer

This will be my first tool review as part of Jane Hart’s 10 Tool Challenge. This tool is called Sizer.

Very simply, Sizer resizes a computer window to the dimensions that you previously specify. This is important if you are doing screencasts or screen captures, and you want all windows to be the same size.

Yesterday, I wrote a little bit about the importance of setting your screen for 16:9 dimensions. 16:9 is the video size that YouTube prefers.

Sizer is a Windows program and can be downloaded from Once you install the program and run it, it will sit in your toolbar.

Sizer in toolbar

Sizer in toolbar

Configure Sizer

If you have specific screen sizes that you wish to use, you will want to configure those dimensions into Sizer before using it. Adding dimensions is pretty straight forward, here are the steps.

1. Right click on the Sizer icon in the tool bar.

2. Select Configure Sizer…

Configure Sizer

Configure Sizer

3. Click on the Add button, select the new configuration and edit its parameters.

Sizer Configuration Window

Sizer Configuration Window

In this example, I will set the window to 200X300.

Sizer Configuration Window

Sizer Configuration Window

You have a number of options to set, and the Sizer User Guide can better explain the settings.

4. Once new configuration has been added, close the window by selecting the OK button.

You are now ready to use Sizer. If you want to set a screen size for screencasting, you will want to create a dimension for 960X540.

Using Sizer

Sizer is tremendously easy to use. First, it must be running, and this can be verified by an icon in the tool bar. Here are the steps:

1. Open a program, and right click on the lower right corner of the program when the cursor changes to a double arrow. Basically, you are in a condition to resize your window manually.

Resizing a window

Resizing a window

2. Select your desired dimensions.

Select Sizer Dimensions

Select Sizer Dimensions

The window will now resize to the dimensions that you have chosen, and you can begin your screencast or image capture. Important note: the program itself must allow for the specific dimensions. In the example above, the program Skitch will not allow for resizing to 200X300.

If you are looking for consistency, this is a nice program to add to your arsenal. Does anyone know about a good resizing tool for Macs?

This tool will do wonders for my screencasting in the future. I hope it is useful for you.


Optimizing your videos and screencasts for YouTube

Over the past couple of days, I finished reading a a series of booklets from Partha Bhattacharya, founder of HubSkills. This series included:

  1. Step-by-Step Guide To Start E-Learning Website In WordPress With Free Tools
  2. How To Boost YouTube Video Views Dramatically With Free Tools
  3. Create Amazing Clip Art Animation Video In PowerPoint
  4. How to Create Crisp-n-Clear Training Video In Simple Steps

Bhattacharya provides a lot of great tips through this series. Here are some of the takeaways I had regarding creating better training videos for YouTube:

1. Create all elements with a 16:9 setting. For example, when creating a screencast, set the window size to 960X540 pixels. Bhattacharya recommends a great little tool called Sizer to do this.You can pick up Sizer at This tip was certainly worth picking up his book.

2. The next great piece of advice was to record PowerPoint presentations at 16:9. Here is a short video for doing that:

When all elements are set to 16:9, they can be packaged together in a more professional manner. I will certainly be following his advice for my upcoming productions.

Build your own library: What we can learn from Jefferson and Franklin

LibraryToday was the start of the third part of a six part series on informal learning. Today’s session focused on building your own knowledge library. I believe we can learn a lot from Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin. Each of these gentlemen were avid readers and prolific writers. The personal library that Jefferson donated to the Library of Congress had 6,487 volumes. Franklin was the father of the public library. But more importantly were the writings of these two gentlemen. Jefferson has approximately 27,000 documents he wrote on file at the Library of Congress. Yale University has forty volumes of 30,000 papers from Franklin.

I think reading and writing made these founding fathers who they were. They found the written word to a powerful method for conveying ideas and sharing knowledge. Franklin was not a fan of intellectual property and believe in the free sharing of information. I feel as Extension educators and instructional technologists, we have almost a duty to share what we know with others through blogs, wikis, image and video libraries. We should capture what we know and continuously build upon it, just as Jefferson and Franklin did in their time.

  • Blogs are great tools for capturing personal ideas reflective of the moment.
  • Wikis are powerful tools for amassing information that can be searched by others. More importantly it can be created through the cooperation of others.
  • Video libraries created on tools like YouTube can capture processes and history. Playlists can be created to share knowledge on a topic.
  • Image libraries can be created to capture change over time or simply a snapshot of a time and place.

These are tools available for you to build your own library. Take time to capture your personal reflections in a blog. Create an image wing in your library along with a video wing. Use a wiki to build a knowledge base available to you and others. It is a not a quick or easy project, but over time it will prove to be valuable; perhaps as valuable as the Jefferson and Franklin libraries.

Preparing for my next informal learning Webinar

Right now, I am working on supporting content for the third Webinar of a six part series. This installment is on creating content to support informal learning.

The upcoming Webinar will focus on four tools that I believe support informal learning in different ways. These tools are blogs, wikis, Flickr, and YouTube.

Presently, I have finished working on three of them, and I am starting to work on the fourth.

Here is are the pages completed:

If you have time, please take a look and let me know what you would like to see. The idea of these pages is to have additional support content for viewers of the Webinar.