Screencasting in the Classroom

Filed Under (COETAIL.Asia) by on October 29, 2009 and tagged , , , ,

It’s been a couple of years since I last made a screencast.  I find them incredibly useful for tutorials – especially to help students complete tasks at home or during their “downtime” in the classroom.

We have a variety of free tools at our finger tips for recording screencasts – which are essentially  “just in time” screen-capture movies of your desktop with audio.

Back in the ol’ days when I worked at a PC school, I used CamStudio – a delightful, easy to use free download software but it was for PC’s only (I hear there is a paid version for the mac now).

Screencasts mean that Students can watch a tutorial over and over again, in their own time, stopping and starting them as they desire.  What I like the most about screencasts is the potential for use in the classroom and the fact that it’s just not the teacher that has to create them!  We’re going to be using screencasts to show our mathematical thinking when we multiply and divide – explaining to others in the classroom (and world as we’ll put them on our own blogs!) how our favourite strategy works.  Here’s just a few other ideas for screencasting:-

  • Tutorials for web2.0 tools
  • Tutorials for specific lessons in different curriculum areas
  • Tutorials for “How to’s”
  • Catch up tutorials for students absent from class
  • Teacher absent? – Screencast for those important points that you really want students to know!

Screencasts are so good for those learners that just need a visual as well as an aural explanation as well as the opportunity to watch something again, in their own time, and without having to feel like they’re not smart just because they benefit from hearing/seeing something many times.

Since there’s no CamStudio for the mac (well not a free version anyway), we still have a few free options.  There’s Jing (personally I find it a bit clunky, limiting and I don’t like the file extension it uses) and then there’s the SMARTrecorder.  (both Mac & PC)

Of course if I were rich …………… my ultimate choice of screencasting software would, without a doubt, be ScreenFlow.

Below is a quick little Screencast that I made with the SMARTrecorder in 5 minutes to demonstrate to my class how to sign onto VoiceThread and leave a comment.
It was super easy to use, and being able to chose the screen capture area (default capture is the whole desktop) was a bonus!  The only thing I didn’t like about SMARTrecorder was that you can’t see the mouse!!  I’m going to ask my students tomorrow if this is a real hinderance or if they understand the tutorial just the same.  I think it’s a little confusing in some parts, not to see exactly where I’m clicking!  What do you think?

I use blip.tv for storing my movie files – it’s free, you get lots of storage space, multiple uploading feature and the rendering of your video is pretty quick.  On the odd occassion, I might use TeacherTube or YouTube.

2 Responses to “Screencasting in the Classroom”

  1.   Nilah Says:

    Your tutorial on Voicethread arrived just in time as I’m about to introduce this tool to some teachers. Bliptv seems to be a good solution for uploading video. I’m not sure my school is ready for utube at this point. Your blog is very informative and useful. Thanks for sharing.

  2.   Kim Cofino Says:

    I’m excited about the possibility of going to virtual school so all of our teachers can get to know just how powerful screencasting can be! One question for you: in SmartRecorder, can you zoom in during a recording, or do you have to take separate shots with different screen areas selected to simulate zoom?