In my 8th grade technology class students create projects in various programs such as Google Sketchup and Pivot. The students enjoy these programs and the opportunity to creatively express themselves. One issue is that these programs are not easily shared on their blogs. In order to view them one must first download the programs and then receive the files by e-mail. Enter screencasting as an easy solution.
The tools I have used include Screenr, Screentoaster, Screencast-o-matic, and Jing (Screencastle and Screenjelly are two more comparable options). Richard has shared these screencasting tools in the past, so I will focus on how I use them in class rather than rating them against each other. I will only say that I find them very comparable as far as features go, but I do prefer the ones that do not require downloading (not Jing). My main basis of choice was which ones worked around our filter at school. I did have issues with Screenr and Screentoaster being blocked but they are good choices if they are accessible. Students will also need an e-mail account to sign up for them.
Students used a screen cast tool to record their Pivot animation and then the screen cast program creates an edit code that students can use to post on their blogs or I can post on the class wiki.
In Sketchup students use the “orbit” tool to zoom in and spin their 3D drawings to show it from all angles or even take us inside their homes. Students can also record themselves describing what they are showing on the screencast. The screencasts are easy to use and students need few instructions. The screencast programs give both embed codes and URL links to share them. This allows students to share their projects with anyone who may not have the programs downloaded on their computer.
In math class, we had a student teacher Skype in from Canada. He created a challenge problem for us. The students then showed their solution in Geometer’s Sketchpad. One student demonstrated the solution while another student narrated in a microphone. Screencasting is a great way to work anachronistically and collaboratively with another classroom in another part of the country or world. Forget the bulletin board or school wall. Post your best student work on the web for all to see!