How can screencasts be used in my classroom?

Picture 2

Teaching: After one of our Saturday sessions in the ISB Learning Hub, I started to think about how I could use screencasts in my classroom as another teaching tool. I used Jing to capture a Google Earth tutorial I made, aiming to introduce the students to creating folders, as well as locating, naming, and describing placemarks for our “Round The World” Google Earth tour. My goal was to show the screencast to my class the first time all together, and then from there upload it to my blog and encourage them to view it at school, as well as at home, when needed. This was a great tool for presenting my lesson, but it turned into a more complicated task once I was finished with it. Video files are quirky things, and there are many different types of files … no idea why. I was able to save my “Jing” file, but uploading it to my blog to share was another thing. “Swf” files, which the free version of Jing uses, are difficult to work with. Once again, I saw my “tech” idea start to eat up my time, so I bailed on it. It was supposed to be here for others to view, but that has been put on the backburner for now, until I have more time. Maybe Screencast-o-matic is worth a look? Or the SmartRecorder in Notebook?

Upon reflection, some of the things I have realized are:

  1. Keep them short. Some of my students were tuned out after a minute or so.
  2. Make sure you take pauses as you go. Too much information too quickly doesn’t work. Again, you will lose them.
  3. Model it. If I have used it in class (and found it to be a useful tool), let the students have a go with it … (I haven’t tried this yet, but would love to)

Learning: Below is the link to our class blog, which gives you an idea of the final product. They turned out better than I imagined, and the growth in skills I saw in the students was impressive. The screencast definitely set the tone for the project, raising awareness of the direction we were headed in and getting the students excited. It also was effective communicating “how to” set up folders and placemarks. Of course, there were some challenges along the way. We weren’t able to record the markers themselves in the end, or the text descriptors either. No idea why, so this is something I will need to look at for next year. Also, I will probably have each team focus on 1 type of landform only, and go into more depth with examples found around the world. Then, when we do the final sharing, we would basically be teaching each other about landforms, as well as comparing our Google Earth skills.

Check out these examples, as well as the blog posting:

Rm 210 RTW trips

Sharing: I know I need to spend more time on reflection in class, as well as giving students a chance to celebrate their achievement. Too often, we get caught up in “what’s next” … and move on too quickly. I want to change this, so this week we will share all of our projects, and then take some time to reflect and summarize our learning.

To summarize, I like the idea of using screencasts in the classroom as another communication tool. It will help some students understand how to do something. Actually, the Grade 3 writing curriculum spends some time covering “how to” or procedural writing, so once I become more familiar with the writing workshop model, I would like to see students write and record “how to” screencasts of their own.

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~ by yamaguru on October 31, 2009.

One Response to “How can screencasts be used in my classroom?”

  1. Even though it didn’t work out exactly the way you planned (with your technical troubles with the Flash file format), I’m glad you gave it a shot! I love the idea of using screencasts as procedural writing, and of course being able to produce something that can be shared with a wider audience.

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