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Teaching Screencast

This is a screencast of the social bookmarking tool. It is a beginners guide to setting it up and using it. I am trying out as a delivery tool.

I’m using Windows Media Player format. I also have a flash version, but the audio is pretty bad. I will work on improving my next screencast.


Screencasting on a Budget

Move over Wink … There are so many expensive brands of screencasting software-Captivate, Camtasia and RiverPast, but you don’t have to spend a single penny to create your content.

While investigating some options for doing screencasting I came across two products that will do a fine job for free.

Windows Media Encoder Amoung many other thing, it encodes other formats to WMV, allows screen recording of audio and video with a choice in quality, and broadcasts a live event from your webcam.

CamStudio This screen and audio recording software has a neat feature that allows you to export to an SWF file. Do not install the stripped down version 2.1. I think it was bought out by Macromedia because of the RoboDemo nagware. Get the older version 2.0 and you will be much happier. The screen annotation allows you to display screen captions on your desktop while recording. The video annotation allows you to stream the contents of your webcam onto your desktop.

My First Screencasts

The first screencasts I did were for the Catholic Curriculum Cooperative Comment Banker software two years ago. This software really made the Ontario relational report card easy by using a shared comment database and grouping students together with similar comments, while adding their names and the proper pronouns.I was the report card administrator for my school and learned about this great software. At the time the only PD available was a short booklet. I used screencasting to create short videos on the more challenging steps of using Comment Banker and burnt them to CD. I then offered it to the staff as part of the Comment Banker software package. It went over really well with the teachers and I had fewer problems that year than prior years.

I still have the CD I made so if anyone is interested in fifteen videos about comment banker let me know. I can make an ISO available for download.


Screencasting is when actions on your computer screen are recorded through the use of software like Camtasia or River Past and then downloaded by users. The screen capture software acts as a sort of video camera of your screen. By using a microphone you can add an audio track to your screencast while recording your screen.

Screencasting is great for demonstrating software or for use in training simulations when you need to add visuals to text documentation. It is great for showing teachers how to interact with new software and allows for self-directed learning through the use of streamed tutorials. This really comes in handy when you are rolling out new software across an entire school board and need to help staff familiarize themselves with new software products immediately. It also provides an outlet for those end users who just need a little refresher course when they are using software.

A few tips for this medium:

1. Don’t be a perfectionist. It can take a few minutes or a few hours to create the same length of screen recording.
2. Break down the software instructions into small chunks, that build on larger ideas.
3. Keep your screen recordings under five minutes.
4. Have a script. I prefer to use software documentation that is already created and follow it step by step, although I know others that just wing it.
5. Stay relaxed and speak naturally.

The name “screencast� originates from John Udell’s blog. I think that the name really suits the medium, so I’m going to continue to use it. I wonder if it will catch on??

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