17 February 2012

Day Thirteen: Podcasting/Screencasting

A lot of the tools and techniques I use in the classroom come from solving little problems that stand in the way of fluid lessons.  You have all had this situation as well:  you go through a lesson and everything seems perfect--students are actively engaged, they are asking good questions, and they are able to answer all of your questions.  The next day you put up the DO NOW and you are met with blank stares and comments like "we never learned this."  It is almost like someone erased their minds while they slept.  One day I asked the class what happened and one of my better students said, "Well, we understand when we are here, but then we go home and we don't remember how you solved the problem.  It would be great if you could videotape the example problem and post it on your website."  Then the light bulb clicked on!  If I could find a way to record what I was doing and post short (less than 5 minutes) example problems I could not only give the students a way to review the material that night after school and right before the test.  Now to figure out how to do it.

There are a lot of ways to do a podcast.  You can create a podcast that contains only audio using a program like Audacity.  These would be great in a foreign language class where the students can listen to the vocabulary and pronunciation of words and don't need a visual reference.  However, for my class I like to record video and audio because I use them as instruction so I need a slightly more sophisticated program.  A great online screencasting (program that captures images from your computer screen) is Screencast-o-matic.  Here's a short demo video on how it works (basically a screencast on how to make a screencast):
If you follow the link above to Screencast-o-matic's site, you will see they have both a free version and a Pro version.  In the free version you are limited to 15 minute recordings and require you to download the video to your computer which you could upload to a website later.  The Pro version (which of course costs money) allows for online storage on their site and basically gives you a channel to show your videos from similar to YouTube.  However, YouTube is accessible on most cell phones and even allows for downloads on iPhones which the others do not.

Now I want to showcase the product of one of sponsors, TechSmith.  No, I am not just showing this because they are our sponsor.  JING is a wonderful tool that is so unbelievably simple to use.  Here is a video demonstrating that.
What I love about JING is it downloads to your desktop so that with a quick click of a button you are recording everything that happens on your screen.  It can capture your voice from a microphone, but does not allow you to import music in the free version.  In the free version you are also limited to 5 minute videos. However, in the Pro version, a lot more resources are accessible to you including editing and uploading mp3 tracks.  TechSmith also saves all of your videos to www.screencast.com which, again, is free, but has some limitations as to how many files and what size you can store there.  But, for less than $100, you can get your own site through Screencast.com.  I actually upload my podcasts there as well as YouTube because there is an iTunes feed from Screencast.com.  I submitted the site to the iTunes Store and all of my podcasts are available for download through iTunes (yes, they're free!).  My students can now download them to their computer or mp3 player and watch my any time of the day.  I have even had some say they watched whole lessons on the bus ride into school on the day of a test.

So, as always, the question becomes "How are you going to use Podcasting/Screencasting in your classroom?"

Here are some general links to get your brain turning:
Mr. Seigel's YouTube Channel
Ideas for Podcasting in the Classroom
Integrating Podcasting into the Classroom
Podcasting in Plain English

Oh, and if you have an iPad, check out Educreations and ScreenChomp for great screencasting software.


  1. Just discovered Aviary, which students and teachers with Google apps all have free access to(under "more" in docs) Looks like a great podcasting tool as well as other things! Has anyone tried this yet?

    1. Ok my students just finished depression era podcasts using aviary, its actually easy to use. I suggest watching a tutorial it will help.

  2. Just discovered Aviary, which students and teachers with Google apps all have free access to(under "more" in docs) Looks like a great podcasting tool as well as other things! Has anyone tried this yet?

  3. I am definitely going to give these a try. I have plans for student book trailers that they can podcast and after today's session on Jing, I know how I plan to use that for little videos for my volunteers and freshman students who are absent on the day of training.

  4. My grade 7 students create educational tutorials with Jing and post them to screencast. It is wonderful to see their original projects and listen to the constructive criticism that is given by class members to improve them. They are highly motivated to create these. They are interested in helping other students.

  5. I have used Jing / Screencast for a few years now to create tutorials of sample problems on various topics in the curriculum. Since many students forget how to do the problems seen in class this can give them a refresher which can be played at their leisure. Recently my Fundamentals of Calculus students created tutorials on topics for mid-term review and that was a great success. Students enjoyed making them and it added resources they can use for prepping for the exam. I'll have to look at some of the other suggestions to see what they have to offer.

    I use a Bamboo tablet and a program called Jarnal for creating most of my tutorials.

  6. I went to a workshop at the National Gallery of Art in DC several years ago. It was wonderful and we made podcasts there using, IPODS and programs such as Garage Band for audio. I forget what else. It was a little difficult for me because we used Macs which I am not familiar with and although similar to windows there are differences. Has the meaning of a podcast changed? At that time I thought you had to use Apple products in order to make a podcast, but now it seems that any short video is considered a podcast. Is that the case and are Jing and these others simply windows versions of podcasting tools? Something I need to learn more about!

  7. Thanks for a great idea, Marc. I could see this being used for students who are out for an extended period of time, as well, to keep up with the rest of the class.

  8. Teaching my students how to cite a research paper is pretty tough. Even though I go over it and over it in class, when they come in the next day, they forget all the little details to in-text citations and generating a works cited page. A pod cast would be great. They could simply log on and watch, step by step, how to do it.

  9. I love JING and often use it to create tutorials for my students--everything from writing a thesis statement to creating a citation page. It's a great resource for students returning from an absence or those just needing a refresher.

  10. I really want to learn more about podcasting and about JING. It would be so useful to be able to create a podcast of hands-on demonstration lessons so that it would be available for students who were absent that day or who need a refresher!

  11. Middletown Web Challenge has been an excellent resource for introducing technology into my classroom. Google Docs, Discovery Learning via United Streaming and Free Technology for Teachers are probably the main three components that I have been using. An entire month of innovative ideas is a little overwhelming all at once, but I am picking and choosing the items that I find most useful.