Learning with Screencasts

Screencasting is one of the tools I have been looking forward to learning about for a long time. I knew what screencasts were and saw multiple possibilities for implementing them in a classroom, but I have never created one myself. Our fourth grade team asked me for directions on how to set up projects in wikispaces. We all had a busy week, so it was impossible to meet in person for a short training session. I decided it was a perfect opportunity to face my new challenge and create a screencast. I was in love from first try, and I felt silly for not utilizing this tool before. The simplicity and convenience made it possible to provide support to teachers without calling a face-to-face meeting.

I used Screencast-O-Matic to record, edit, and upload the video to my YouTube channel. In twenty minutes, I was able to email the link to teachers and was overwhelmed by their responses. They thought it was the most convenient and effective way to learn how to use a technology tool and to do so on their terms. Teachers loved the fact that they could pause, rewind, and replay the video as many times as needed, while clicking along the presentation. Now, I am looking at all handouts I have ever created and see a plan ahead of me – creating screencasts and make them available to teachers on demand.

I think screencasts deserve a place in any classroom. Ether we flip instruction, create resources to support individual needs of our students, or assess their work, screencasting is a perfect tool to utilize in any grade level. In elementary school, students need constant support in learning how to use technology. Screencasts can save valuable instructional time and teach kids to learn independently how technology tools work. Short screencasts on how to save a file, upload a picture, or navigate an online learning management platform can help teach students how to follow step-by-step directions and take ownership of their learning. With this purpose in mind, I’ve created a screencast for second grade students to learn how to set up a Hangman vocabulary game in itsLearning, a new online platform we utilize this year.

I downloaded Jing and gave it a try, too. I love how simple it is to navigate it. I have learned how to create my own hot key from the video tutorials Jing offers. After setting one up, I am able to use it at any time on my computer.I think the annotation tool opens many possibilities for teaching students about digital literacy. It may be a powerful strategy for kids to utilize when researching and analyzing information online. Students can snap a picture, highlight a part of a text or an image that may be confusing or fascinating for them, and immediately share it in a discussion board, Padlet wall, or Google Doc.

Since we are a BYOT (bring your own technology) school, I see screencasts being used by students to demonstrate how different apps may be used in creating presentations, working on projects, taking notes, and managing different learning tasks. It will help students expand their knowledge about tools for learning and show teachers the power of learning from students. Teachers do not need to know every app for every device out there. Instead, they need to empower students and allow them to share their expertise and personal strengths. Explain Everything, Educreations, and ScreenChomp can be used for this purpose since Screencast-O-Matic and Jing are not available for iOS devices.