Friday, May 1, 2015

Don't be afraid of the screencast!

How-to videos are everywhere!  Just Google "how to...." and you will come across multiple links. 

In fact, just a few weeks ago, a how-to video on YouTube saved our Play Station from a piece of pepperoni!

How-to videos are made by everyday people and most of the time with simple resources.  Educators can follow these how-to video examples and apply it to their classroom. This is where the screencast comes in!  A screencast, according to Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything, is the capture of the action on a computer screen while you are narrating. A screencast can be used as a step-by-step video for students made by teachers or a "show what you know" video made by students for teachers to assess.

There are some great tools out there teachers can choose from when entering the world of screencasting.  TechSmith creates two that I especially like - Jing and SnagIt.  I like these because the are free and simple, yet effective.  Jing is a program you can download onto your PC or Mac.  SnagIt is a Chrome app/extension you can add.

SnagIt allows you to record images and videos from within the Chrome browser.  You do have a few editing options, like cropping and the addition of text and arrows. The images are saved in your Google Drive account within a folder named "TechSmith".  You can also download the image to your computer or copy the URL.

In order to record a video, you will need to make sure you have the SnagIt extension.  Just like the images, videos are saved in Google Drive. You can also get a Google Drive link to the video or send it to YouTube.

I have found myself using SnagIt on a daily basis.  I currently use it more for the images, but I am finding a need for the video capture more and more.

There are other tools out there as well.  Screencast-O-Matic and Screenr are two websites that allow you to record a video without having to create an account or download anything.  Double check your Java, because both websites use it.

If you need to make a screencast of your iPad, check out Reflector.  They recently came out with Reflector 2, which allows you to reflect your android tablet too.

So why make a screencast?

- instructions for students when you are out sick
- step-by-step guides for parents when it's homework time
- how to guides for difficult concepts
- instructions for your visual learners

And don't forget to let your students make a screencast or two to show their understanding of a concept.
Do you make screencasts?  What resources do you use?  Share your thoughts with us!  Click here for another blog post I wrote about recording yourself.


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