What is it?
Screencasting is a way to capture what’s happening on your computer screen while allowing you to narrate with your voice. It’s a tool that’s become popular on many sites such as Khan Academy and Learn Zillion. It’s an incredible way to record tutorials for your students or check for understanding by having them create their own!
Screencasting can become extremely expensive if you try to get all the best equipment. For example, Salman Khan uses as Wacom Bamboo tablet ($79+) and Camtasia Studio ($299). Of course, if you have the opportunity to purchase both, I highly recommend it! Many of us won’t have that option though so I’d like to provide you with some options on how to make screencasts for under $100.
If you already have an iPad in your class or will have one coming into your class, that is by far the cheapest option for screencasting. For $3.00 or less, there are a few great screencasting apps that you can use right on the iPad! My only recommendation if you purchase one of those would be to by a stylus to use with it.
Explain Everything would be one of my personal recommendations for an iPad screencasting app. It costs $2.99 in the iTunes store or if purchasing 20+ copies through the education store, they’re $1.50 per. Some of the reasons I love this app is because of the options to upload when you’re finished. You’re able to email it or save it to DropBox, YouTube, Evernote, or your camera roll. You’re also able to use multiple slides during your recording.
ScreenChomp is a free screencasting tool. Free is always great but that also usually means some limitations. With ScreenChomp, you can record audio as you draw. You can also add pictures in that you can annotate. However, when it comes to uploads, the only option is to save to the ScreenChomp site. From there you can use a link to connect to it. You do have the option to download which you can then upload to a video site.
Show Me is another free iPad app. It’s very similar to ScreenChomp. You can add images and can draw on it while you narrate. It’s perfect to share a math tutorial on. It’s great for a basic screencasting app. Again, there is no option to upload it directly to a site like YouTube though. It works great if you’re just looking for a link to share!
As great as iPads are and as much as I’m sure we wish we could all have them in the classroom, that’s just not a reality quite yet. If you’re one of the ones who don’t or even if you have iPads and want new ways to create screencasts in the classroom, there are other great options. In my class, we go the Salman Khan route but only on more of a budget. We use a a Bamboo Connect as our tablet which retails for $79.00 USD. The tablet is great! Not only can you use it for video tutorials but it’s an amazing tool for students to create digital are with. Then, instead of using Camtasia Studio, we use Jing. For $14.95 USD a year, Jing allows you to create screencasts of up to 5 minutes while being able to narrate all of it. Once finished, you can easily save it to your computer or upload to YouTube! The only downfall would be the aforementioned 5 minute limit. For longer tutorials, you may find yourself having to record numerous videos to get through all of it.
After you’ve purchased the basics to begin screencasting for your Mac or PC, you’ll need software to do you work in. The best part about this is that it’s easily found for free! If you do purchase a Bamboo tablet, it comes with software that includes Autodesk Sketchbook Express. This is my personal preference for software. Salman Khan uses SmoothDraw 3 which can be downloaded for free by clicking here. This is available for PC. If you have a Mac, you can use a program like GIMP. I don’t have a Mac but you can find tutorials on how to use both Sketchbook Express and SmoothDraw below.
In the videos below, I’ll walk you through how to use two different drawing programs to create video tutorials for your classroom. If you’re interested in Jing, TechSmith provides a great video tutorial on how to use it here.
Below you’ll find an example of a video tutorial I created with a Bamboo tablet, Sketchbook Express, and Jing. As you can see, I love Khan’s style of the dark background with the bright colors. It really makes everything stand out. If you’re working with pictures though, you may want a white background that the picture stands out against.
Application in Class
There are so many great options for screencasting. Again, I love to use it to create math tutorials or have students create them so that I can easily assess their understanding. You can also use it with pictures to explain science or social studies concepts. With writing, you could have students write a paragraph and explain what they’re doing as they write. They could explain what punctuation they’re using where and why. Or, you could always have students use it for things like showing how to comment on your class blog or how to navigate a website you use often in class! There are so many different options. Give it a try!
Resources and Links
*How have you used screencasts for your classroom?*
*Do you have any other great screencasting resources?*