Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Screencasting in the Classroom Part 2

Welcome back! If you read my last post on sceencasting in the classroom, you learned all about Camtasia Studio. You also learned how much it cost per license. If you are ready to start using screencasting with your students, but don't want to pay, then there is another option. Jing. This is a free screencasting tool that is made by Techsmith (the folks that make Camtasia). Overview below:

Jing is a very nice tool that I have tried in the past. It allows you to capture screen movements and audio, as well as take screen shots. There are a few major drawbacks that I can see. First, that there is no editor, so you better not make mistakes. Second, your videos are limited to five minutes at the most. Finally, it will only publish in an SWF format, which might not work for some settings. But, did I mention it is free? The one thing that I really like about Jing besides its price is that it also gives you a place to host your videos. Screencast.com (also by Techsmith) provides free hosting for your screencasts. Not a lot of space, but enough to get started.

Because Jing and Screencast.com are provided by Techsmith, you are getting quality tools to use and experiment with for free. Of course they are hoping to hook you into the exciting world of screencasting and get you to buy Camtasia Studio eventually, but it is a great place to start.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interactive Whiteboard with Educreations

 I was just told about a new App for the iPad the other day. Educreations turns your iPad into a interactive whiteboard complete with audio. Upon further investigation, you don't even need an iPad. You can sign up at their Website and use an online version of the same tool.

Because I just learned about Site and App, I haven't had a lot of time to work with it. Some of the things that I saw that I liked right away were: 
  • I like that you can use the iPad or your computer
  • You can record your voice while you are demonstrating
  • Add pictures from your computer or iPad (as well as Dropbox)
  • The Website lets you create classes and organize your finished lessons
  • Your finished lessons can be private, public, or public to just your school
  • You can search for other public lesson and use those that fit your needs.

Because I am in love with screencasting and hearing my own voice (my students may not agree), I really like what I see out of Educreation's Website, their online tool, and the iPad App. Give them all a try!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Screencasting in the Classroom Part 1

This is the first in a three part series on screencasting in the classroom. First of all, many of you are asking what is screencasting? Well Wikipedia defines it as, "a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration." I have used screencasting in my classroom for over five years, and love it. All of my major lectures are saved on video. If students miss class, they can access my lecture at school the next day or from home (Example). This is great for me and my students. If students miss a 20 minute lecture on using Excel formulas, I don't need to repeat that lecture for one or two students. They can watch it on their own at home or when they return to class. Students can also revisit my lecture if they need to go back review a portion of it. They can simply fast-forward to the part they need to watch again. It is a win-win for everyone involved.

I am going to start at the top of the mountain with this first post. Camtasia Studio by Techsmith. I have used this program the most over the years to record, edit, and publish the majority of my screencasts. Here is an overview:

The great thing about Camtasia Studio is that it is full-featured. You can record, edit, and publish in one place and to multiple formats. You can use the Pan and Zoom feature, add titles and transitions, and it even has a PowerPoint add-in. It is powerful! There is stuff that I have not even used, and I have using this product for a long time. It is good (did I mention that?) But, the drawback is the price. At last check, it is $299 per license. Camtasia Studio is the leader in the market when it comes to screencasting. If you can afford it and will use it, I would get it. The next couple of posts will explore some less-costly options if you want to dive into screencasting with your classroom. Until then, thanks for visiting!