Screencasting as How-To:
Screencasting as Instruction:
Back in 2011, when I was teaching with 1:1 iPads for the first time, I started experimenting with creating mini-videos to answer some of the repeat questions I was getting in class. Students were asking about how to structure an academic paragraph, and even though I had gone over it a number of times in class, I still seemed to get mediocre writing and perplexed faces each time we wrote another paragraph. I thought maybe a review video would help. I assigned the video as homework, and when class started the next day, a couple of my students asked me (half joking, half serious) why I hadn’t just explained it that way in the first place. Good question! Why hadn’t I? Well, I suppose I always thought that the teacher was supposed to, you know, teach during class. My students gave me license to rethink what constituted school work and what constituted homework. They liked being able to listen to my lessons multiple times when needed, and appreciated being able to pause me, rewind me, slow me down, or make me give my entire lesson all over again. My second year of teaching 1:1 with iPads was when I moved to a fully flipped model for my writing instruction. Below is one of my writing screencasts in case you are interested:
Screencasting on the Fly
Creating your Own Online Content
(from Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and LEarning)
- Create a concept map.What do you need your students to understand, and how can you explain that concept in a meaningful way? We like to start by determining a story arc, angle, or metaphor to connect students to content.
- Storyboard.The slides in the slide deck are fabulous for this purpose. We label the slides with key points for starters, and then we go back and fill in with images, words, and details.
- Write the script. We strongly suggest having a script. We know teachers who can record themselves talking off the cuff and have it sound totally polished. But most of us ramble without a script, and rambling leads to unnecessarily long videos. Generally, any video that tops seven minutes is likely too long for a teenager’s attention span. We use the slide notes section to write what we want to say about each slide in the presentation while we are recording.
- Design your visuals. Our general rule for slides is that they need to be simple, clear, and contain an anchoring image to ground the story. We like to find images through photosforclass.com, and we use only images that are Creative Commons licensed, in the public domain, or photographs we took ourselves. Try to keep words to a minimum, unless you are analyzing a chunk of text. In that case, consider highlighting specific words and phrases with a contrasting color or font. If you are new to presentation design, we recommend picking up a copy of Presentation Zen (Reynolds 2012) or his follow-up book, Presentation Zen Design (Reynolds 2014). Slide:ology is also a great resource (Duarte 2008).
- Do a run-through. Talk out your slides at least once before recording to make sure the images and script match, and that the words flow well.
- Record! Launch your screencasting software, select the area of the slide on your screen, and click the red “record” button. When you are finished recording, check the video to make sure everything looks and sounds okay. Then post it where your students can find it, and link to it on your learning management system.