Early in the process of creating a blended learning environment, I felt anchored to my board to reteach specific skills repeatedly. Students would miss a small step, forget exactly where to click, or just simply not hear some of the steps of the process. Minutes were wasted reteaching students how to log into Google, how to find the Google Classroom, how to save pictures to their computer, etc. Some students were growing frustrated by having to wait while I spent my time helping others catch up to the rest of the class. I tried “chunking,” or teaching in front of the class for smaller amounts of time, to alleviate the stress students were feeling about how much they needed to remember from my direct instruction. I had students write the steps in their folders. Nothing was working. Everyone was frustrated.
I began to think of ways to support students in the same way that Khan Academy has video lessons or how you can learn to fix a leaky faucet by watching a YouTube video. I started by creating the screencast (run through it a few times before filming), uploading it to YouTube, and posting the link to my WordPress page. Students need training to access the video and watch it repeatedly if needed. Also, I use my Google Form exit tickets as a way for the students to inform me on what they’re confused about or what they need. I’ll use this feedback to create new screencasts for the next class period. Essentially, the students are driving the instruction on a daily basis. I’m able to differentiate my instruction to their individual needs. It’s been one of the more powerful tools I use in my classroom.
My YouTube Channel with my screencasts:
Free Screencasting programs:
1) Screencast-o-matic – screen recorder and video editor
2) Screencastify – screen recorder specifically for the Chrome web browser
3) CamStudio – for Windows machines
4) Show Me – for iPads
5) Lensoo Create – for Android devices
According to Jacqui Murray of teachhub.com, here are some tips to make screencasting easier:
- Keep screencasts short—a couple of minutes.
- Prepare with notes, storyboards, or a mock-up.
- Speak conversationally but avoid slang, umms, and giggles.
- Don’t worry about mistakes — you can re-record.
- Don’t be afraid to pause the video during recording to organize your materials or collect your thoughts, then start again.
- Keep on topic; don’t get distracted.
- Use a simple background that doesn’t distract.
- If your screencasting tool allows editing, review your video and edit as needed.
- If possible, add titles, subtitles, and even links to the video to clarify necessary parts.
- Share the screencast where students will find it — YouTube, class blog, class website, or another location.
Moving to Mastery:
After students watch my screencasts, they often wonder how they could create their own. Their curiosity led me to use screencasting as way to for the students to demonstrate mastery. They can be the teachers. Whether it’s narrating a Google Slide about Ecosystems, showing how to solve a certain word problem, or providing feedback on a well written paragraph, students can teach others using a screencasting program like the ones listed above.
Ideas for using screencasts in other content areas:
-Step by step solving of math problems.
-Students can record their presentations while narrating.
-Students can respond to a question with evidence from websites.
-Students can provide peer-to-peer feedback on a written essay.
-Students can create a “how-to” report.
-Students can create a story, read it aloud, while recording it.