Why Screencasting is the Greatest Thing You’ve Never Done

Did you ever wish you could clone yourself in the classroom? That would be awesome, because most of the time, it’s like there’s not enough of you to go around. Well, believe it or not, cloning is possible with screencasting.

screencasting in the classroom

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What is screencasting?

Screencasting programs record whatever is on your computer screen as well as your narration over it. This creates a video that you can assign to your students, and they can watch it at their own pace. So you can be in more than one place at a time. It may seem complicated, but it is actually straightforward once you use it.

Using screencasting to flip lessons is an easy way to begin blended learning or just to incorporate more technology into your daily lessons.

I started flipping my lessons by using videos that I found on various sites, including YouTube. However, they rarely had everything I wanted, and I spent hours looking for just the right one. My biggest problem was that I was way too picky about the videos I wanted to use in my class.

This is why many teachers like me who use instructional videos as part of their lessons have started making their own videos using screencasting. I could make a video using a screencasting tool in a lot less time than searching for a ready-made “perfect” video.

Ready to learn more about flipped lessons? Here’s a great book to get you started on your journey! Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann.

How can screencasting help me be more efficient?

There are definitely more ways to use this tool than just making a flipped lesson. Here are some other ideas I found around the web.

Professional development–

I know I spent a lot of time working with other teachers showing them how to (insert technology task here). I loved helping, but I definitely lost out on time I needed in my room. I should have made a screencast to send to everyone who needed help. They could watch it as many times as necessary, and I could have got those stinking papers graded!

Missed lessons–

Whenever a student misses class, they miss out on essential instruction, and we know that just doing the “make-up work” for that day does not guarantee that they understand the concepts. The kids can watch the videos at home or as they have available time at school.

Review–

Instead of taking a whole class to review for the upcoming test, put it all in a video to help them study on their own.

Going Deeper–

If you have kids that are interested in learning more about the topic than you were able to cover in class, make a video about the extra information

Tech support–

Why, why, why did I not think of this earlier? It’s so difficult to explain to parents what their kids are doing with technology, often confusing them and causing them to feel out of the loop. If they had had a video to watch to show how their child was utilizing different programs, it would have been much easier for all of us.

Feedback–

Just like you would have a child meet with you for a writing conference and you show them their areas of strength and weakness, you could do it on a video sent privately to them. Now, instead of spending two hours conferencing 1 on 1, each child can watch their feedback and get right back to work. Less than 15 minutes of class time vs. two hours? No contest.

Parent information–

Instead of a newsletter, make a quick video with the information you want to get out.

Students can use screencasting too. They could make videos of their work in a type of digital portfolio or record their own newsletter for their parents. They can also explain their current topic of study as a summative assessment.

Screencasting online

There are many different programs out there for screencasting, but my favorite is probably Screencast-o-matic. It is web based. You can use it for free or for $15.00 take advantage of their Pro package. Pro features allow you to eliminate their watermark, and use editing, and screenshot tools. However, no matter which plan you have, the limit on the length of the video stays at 15 minutes. In my experience that’s usually more than enough.

There is an exhaustive list of screencasting tools and information by Kathy Schrock that can be found here http://www.schrockguide.net/screencasting.html

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