Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Learning to Screencast

I participated in a virtual book club this summer, #cyberpd, in which a group of educators discussed a professional text. Many of those participating created screencasts as a way of reflecting on their learning. The screencasts were amazing. They were reflective, but also engaging. As I watched each screencast, my desire to create my own grew. But, how, I thought to myself. I couldn’t possibly possess the technology skills necessary to create a screencast worthy of sharing with others.

A few weeks later, I attended the Summer Institute inDigital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island. I had signed up for this institute in hopes of learning more about digital literacy and how to integrate digital tools into my instruction. During the institute, I was introduced to many digital tools that I was not previously familiar with. One of the tools that I had the opportunity to explore was Screencast-O-Matic. I worked with a small group to create a screencast using this tool. This was the perfect opportunity to begin figuring out the whole business of screencasting.

Screencast-o-Matic is basically a tool for recording what is on the screen of one’s digital device. This tool can be used to create videos for use as tutorials or for presentations. There is a lot of potential for the use of this tool in my professional work. I can imagine ways that I can use it to expand my own learning and to enhance others’ learning. Here are a few of my ideas for using this tool:

  • Personal Reflection: Like educators in the virtual book club I participated in this summer, I can create screencasts to reflect on my learning of professional text. When learners explain a topic they actually learn more about it. These screencasts can also be posted on my blog so I can share my learning with others.
  • Flipped Instruction: I can also use screencasting tools to create videos related to the content or strategies that students are learning. Students can watch these videos when not engaged in direct instruction so they can continue their learning. Videos can even be shared with parents so they have an understanding of the instructional strategies students are learning.
  • Student Presentations: Students can create their own screencasts related to content they are learning to share with their peers. This will involve students in the process of creating through digital tools and by teaching others through a screencast they will also enhance their own learning of content.

After the institute, I decided to experiment more with screencasting so I created one all on my own. This screencast tells about my reading history. In order to teach students to read, I think it’s first important to know something about them as readers. One way to get to know students as readers is to ask them to reflect and share the role that reading has played in their lives. I created a screencast of my reflection, my reading history, to share with students and to serve as a model for the type of reflection I would like them to do regarding their reading. Check out my screencast at the link below:
This is my first ever screencast so I anticipate that they will get better. Screencast-O-Matic will be a useful tool in creating screencasts that I am looking forward to using as both, a learner and a teacher. The tool is pretty user friendly and it didn’t take me much time to create a video. The tool is free although there is version with more options available for a cost. There are also other screencasting tools available that I may check out in the future for additional screencasting capabilities. I'll just have to see how far my technology skills can take me.

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