Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Screencasting as a learning and teaching tool

This week my students are preparing to present their personal learning networks.  I have encouraged them to be creative in how they will do this.  Though I expect the standard 'power point' presentation, I suspect that several will exercise their creative muscles and do something different.  With that in mind, I gave them several free screen recording programs they could use.  The first and most obvious one for them is Jing, partly because they're used to seeing its 'sun' logo on my desktop and also because I've used it often.  Once the screencast is done, the students have the option of emailing me the link or embedding the video on our class wiki.  With Jing, you can download your final product or 'store it in the cloud' with screencast.com, the hosting site for Jing and Camtasia.

The next one is a gem that I found thanks to my twitter teacher friends; screenr.  The result is a 'ready to tweet' screencast that students can direct mail to my twitter handle.  It's amazingly simple and the end result is pretty slick.  You can download the video as an mp4 file, upload it to YouTube, embed it in your blog or tweet it out!  I think my students are going to enjoy playing with screenr.

This is the first time that am formally assessing students' ability to be be independent learners.  It seems obvious to me that in today's exciting learning environment, we should encourage students to develop their own connected learning networks.  In fact, students are already connected to one another and I simply want to open up their circle and think about how they are learning.  Here is the quick sample screencast I made with screenr.


and here is a video that I've shared with my students about developing a PLN.


I'm hoping that they will be teaching me a thing or two about being connected!

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