21 Things – Screencasting

Screencasting is the recording of your screen and voice for the purpose of describing a topic or explaining a skill. Screencasting allows a teacher to create a lecture about a subject or video explanation of specific skills to allow students to work individually. Screencasts allow for differentiation or scaffolding to support student learning.  

A number of different different options are available for creating screencasts. Two of the free options are the EduCreations app and the ShowMe app. Both apps allow writing on the screen, much like writing on a white board. Both allow the use of pictures from your iPad camera. Premium user options are available through EduCreations at a cost of $11.99/month or $8.25/month if paid annually. ShowMe offers premium options at a cost of $5.99/month or $4.16/month billed annually. Use the links to view the various options available with a premium account.

This is one of the screencasts that I found in EduCreations that I could use in one of my classes, Business Law:

This screencast is one of the options available on the EduCreations home page. You will have to scroll down the page and choose “The Bill of Rights” by Matt MacFarlane. Mr. MacFarlane is a middle school history teacher from Templeton, CA. 

The screencast explains the Bill of Rights-the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. MacFarlane takes the time to discuss the commonly accepted nuances of the first ten amendments. He points out the rights and the limits of the rights. One key point he asserts is while we have freedom of speech, we cannot yell “fire” in a theater. Another key point he makes is that the third amendment means we cannot be made too quarter soldiers during times of peace.

What makes this screencast effective is the overall organization of the screencast. Each slide in the screencast has the number of the amendment, a short excerpt from the amendment, and pictures representing the main points of the amendment. MacFarlane speaks clearly and effectively  throughout his presentation. He underlines key points and writes short notes on slides. Finally, he reminds students that they can watch the screencast as many times as they need to understand the concepts.

Here is one of the screencasts that I found in ShowMe that I could utilize in one my Business Law class:

This screencast was created by Julia Wilson, a former community manager at ShowMe. In the screencast, Ms. Wilson explains the breakdown of the three branches of our federal government. She describes the purpose and the important differences of the three branches. She gives an explanation of how the different branch members are selected. The leaders of each branch are identified, too. Finally, Wilson explains that the branches are designed to provide checks and balances for each branch to maintain appropriate control of the government.

The overall organization of this screencast makes it effective, too. Wilson provides an overview of the topic, then discusses each specific area. She clearly writes on the screen and uses photos to make a point or introduce an idea. Wilson narrates the screencast in a clear and calm manner. 

While Wilson created an effective screencast about the branches of the government, I believe the Bill of Rights screencast makes the most effective presentation of the material. 

These two videos have helped me understand that to create an effective screencast I need to speak clearly, use pictures to represent ideas, and underline or write key points on the screen. The best piece of advice about creating a screencast may be to remind others that they can watch the screencast several times to help clarify any questions they may have about the material.

If you have tips for creating effective screencasts please share your advice in the comments. Also, you may suggest other screencasts to watch. Or if have comments and questions about my blog/blog topics, please comment below or send me an email at marc@marcdaly.com.