I screencast almost daily, not only because I teach online. In my face2face classes it helps me personalize and differentiate. How? Well I create screencasts to have one group of students work on something while I personally work with the other group. You think you won’t have use for it?…Well, haven’t you ever had students from two or more different levels of language proficiency? I have! I once had a class with three different levels….the horror! That is when I started using screencasts.
So, what exactly is a screencast?
Simply put, a screencast is a narrated recording of your computer screen. In other words, as you show something on your desktop, you explain it. Think of a time when someone has shown you how to do something on a computer: “go here, then click there, when the window opens type OK”. It sounds simple, and it is!
But how can you use it in teaching languages?
You must be thinking that there is not much use for screencasting other than creating tutorials. Well, you are in for a surprise! Screencasting opens your entire world of teaching to new ways of providing feedback, explanations, lessons, assignments and much more. This will be the topic of an upcoming blog post.
Now, time for the screencasting tools! These are my absolute favorite (in no particular order)
- Jing is a free tool created by TechSmith. It allows you to record a max of 5 minutes. It also offers an annotated screenshot option (as the one shown below). It is very easy to use. However, Jing does not allow video (screencast) editing, so make sure you have a script! With Jing you must save all screenshots and screencasts in an online Jing account, therefore items are only shareable through linking or embedding. Learn more about using Jing with these Jing tutorials.
Jing Annotated Screenshot
Jing Tutorial by “Peter WebExplorations”
- Snagit is a tool that was also created by TechSmith. It is not free, but it is reasonably priced for what it offers. You only pay for the tool once (no monthly fees of any sort). Snagit let’s you capture and edit images of anything on your desktop, let’s you capture and trim screencasts, and it let’s you save screenshots and screencasts anywhere. Teachers who have mastered the use of simple screencasting tools, find Snagit the best tool for upgrading. As it allows for some editing, but it is not a difficult tool to use. The TechSmith video below shows some Snagit functions. Learn more about using Snagit with these Snagit tutorials. TechSmith offers special prices for educators find more about it here Snagit for educators.
Snagit Tutorial by “TechSmith”
- Screencastomatic is a free tool that lets you record up to 15 minutes (although I don’t recommend such long videos). You do not need to install it in your computer, as it is online based. It gives the option of including a little screen of yourself in the screencast as you speak (not just your voice). You can share it through Youtube, saving the video to your computer or saving it to the Screencastomatic account. No editing available.
Screencastomatic Tutorial by “Jen Jonson”
- Screenr is a free online based screen recorder. Allows for 5 minute videos. No video editing. You can save screencasts in your Youtube account, Screenr account or download them to your computer. I created all the screencasts on this TedEd Flip Tool post with Screenr.
UPDATE – unfortunately, the Screenr tool will be discontinued as of Nov 2015!!!!
- Camtasia is also a TechSmith tool and it is not free, but again, you only pay once. It is a more advanced version of Snagit, as it allows for more complex video editing, input of media (music, pictures, annotations, etc) into the screencast in order to obtain a more complex final product. It is more difficult to use and you will probably not feel the need for it until you have been working with screencasts for some time. There is a MAC version and a PC version. I created the video for the Foreign Language Professional Development post with Camtasia. I only used simple editing tools in this video (zoom, annotation), but you can do SOOO much more with Camtasia. Don’t forget TechSmith offers educators discounts!
Some food for thought! – I’ll leave you with some interesting articles to learn more about using screencasts in your foreign language classrooms
- Leveraging recorded mini-lectures to increase student learning
- Screencasting to engage learning
- Redefining learning through screencasting
Have you used screencasts in your classroom? How? Thoughts? Ideas?