Why Screencasts (Webcasts)?

“Screencasts” are typically short video recordings of what is taking place on the screen of your desktop computer or laptop. Screencasts are typically created as tutorials on how to use specific programs or software applications. Screencasts are often narrated by the creator and a well done screencast allows the viewer to be taken through a process step by step as if there is a trainer or teacher with them throughout the process. Once created, screencast programs or websites allow the screencasts to be shared in a number of ways including email, YouTube upload and video embed codes for a website or blog. There are a number of free screencasting options ranging from a free downloadable screencasting program (Jing), to free online screencasting websites (Screenr & Screencast-o-matic).

There are a number of applications that educators and students can use to take advantage of screencasting. The fundamental advantage of screencasting is that it allows educators to provide a quickly and easily created video resource for their students that essentially acts like a private tutor that the student can use when needed. Anything that can be displayed on the screen of a desktop or laptop computer can be turned into a screencast. Educators no longer have to rely on an outside resource to provide extra support for their students as they can create 5-10 minute screencasts associated with each concept covered in class. These screencasts can be posted online as a tutoring and support resource for students. Below are a few examples of how teachers in multiple disciplines can begin to use screencasts.

Screencast (Webcast) Tools

A free download for Mac or PC, once Jing is downloaded, screencasts can be quickly recorded. Screencasts created with Jing can be uploaded to a free account at www.screencast.com from directly within the Jing program. Once files are uploaded to the www.screencast.com account they can be shared, emailed, linked or embedded in blog or website with the unique URL and embed code associated with each screencast.

A free online screencasting tool, it is a Mac and PC compatible online screencasting tool. To begin screencasting with Screenr, simply go to the website and click the record button. As an alternative to Jing, Screenr doesn’t require a program to download, and the screencast is recorded live through the website. Screenr offers a number of features including:

  • Select the size of your recording frame
  • Instant online publishing
  • Downloadable screencast file
  • URL & embed code
  • Publish directly to YouTube

Another free online screencasting tool similar to Screenr, Screencast-o-matic allows you to record a screencast directly from the website by clicking the Start Recording button on the page. Features include:

  • Selecting the screen size of the recording
  • Microphone input selection
  • Video quality selection
  • Direct upload to YouTube
  • Downloadable
  • Publish directly on Screencast-o-matic

Quicktime 10 (Mac)
In the Mac OS Snow Leopard, QuickTime now includes a screen casting option. Simply open Quicktime and click on File-New Screencast. You can use the built in microphone to record your voice while screencasting. Minor editing options are available, as you can trim the beginning and end of the screencast. This option results in a movie file that must be uploaded to a video hosting site (Youtube) to be able to share the screencast. Within Quicktime there is a sharing option that lets you share the screencast directly to YouTube.

Webcasts (Screencasts)Tutorials

Jing Project Tutorial

Screenr Video Tutorial

Screencast-o-matic Video Tutorial

Quicktime Video Tutorial

How to Integrate Webcasts (Screencasts)

Webcasts (Screencasts) can be integrated in any number of ways:

  • Create a virtual tour of a country or historical place.
  • Create a public service message on an important local or world issue.
  • Comment on editorial cartoons, historical speech, law, or other document type.
  • Analyze and comment on economic charts and graphs.
  • Create a presentation based on images of local artifacts and architecture.
  • Create a presentation based on maps and demonstrate concepts of migration, wars, exploration and colonization.
  • Create a tutorial on how to research and evaluate online sources.
  • Create short video tutorials about writing, including parts of speech, sentence structure and proper punctuation.

Screencast / Video Grading

Because screencasts record whatever appears on the screen of a computer, educators can now begin to provide video feedback to students when they submit their work electronically. To begin Screencast Grading follow the steps below:

  • Students submit their written assignments electronically.
  • Open the document and select the screencasting platform that you are comfortable using.
  • Begin a screencast of the document and as you read through the submission, provide audio feedback on the assignment.
  • When you are done reading and grading the submission, email the link to the screencast to the student who submitted the work.

Here is a blog post from The History 2.0 Classroom about Screencast / Video grading.