Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How-To Record Your First Screencast

So you've decided that you want to record your first screencast!  That's excellent!  Once you get the hang of it, it will become a natural part of your teaching repertoire.  I'm here to help make the "getting started process" easier. What do you need to have ready?  How do you set it up?  How do you post your information?  All of that is included down below so let's get started!

How do I prepare?
1.  You'll need to have some objectives.  Just as you would with a normal class period, you'll need to figure out what your students need to know by the end of the tutorial.  What's you end game?  It could be as simple as giving them definitions and them being able to identify strategies or terms.  Or it could be more complex where you're teaching them writing strategies and want them to be able to identify and apply these strategies.  You decide.

2.  What do you want the screencast to look like?  You can create a PowerPoint and lecture over it.  You can pull up student work samples and do "read alouds".  You can pull up a blank document and record yourself through your own writing process.  The options are endless but they should match up with your objective(s).  Once you figure that out, get all of you information prepared.

How do I record?
1.  Choose your recording technology. There are quite a few options out there but the easiest by far is Screencast-O-Matic.  It's pain free, user friendly, and requires NO installation.  

2.  Start recording.  Once you have your documents pulled up on the screen (or PowerPoint), hit the record button!  You'll see a little dot-outlined box pull up.  Anything inside of that box will be recorded in the screencast.  You can, of course, change the size.

You can also choose whether or not you will have audio.  You can have no audio if you would like to just show them how to do something.  Or you can turn the audio on and talk them through the process or the lecture <<<< that's the best option!  Audio and visual together make for a more successful screencast.   Talk through your information and be your normal self.  Your students will like that it's your voice and your personality.  They will trust the material because it's coming from you so be you!

What if I mess up?
1.  Pause, Rewind, Start Over.  So you started rambling on and on about last night's episode of The Good Wife.  Happens to the best of us.  You have a couple of options.  If you're not too far into it, just start over!  If you're 6 minutes into a 10 minute screencast, don't start over.  Rewind the video to the part right before your "mess up" and start recording from there.  The technology for Screencast-O-Matic allows you to be flexible with your recordings so don't worry.

Where do I post the screencasts?
1.  YouTube or Screencast-O-Matic.  There are three options using the Screencast-O-Matic software.  The first is to download the screencast you've recorded.  I wouldn't suggest that since it will take quite a bit of time and take up a large chunk of memory.  Instead, let this bad boy live online.  Option two is to leave it on Screencast-O-Matic as a searchable video.  This is a good option for those of you who would like it in a somewhat private environment.  You can then send the link to your students.  Option three is to upload the video to YouTube.  This option is only good if you don't mind your screencasts being available for all of the world to see.  Remember, you can always take it down in the future.  Regardless, do whatever is most comfortable to you.

What sorts of things should I record?
1.  Options are Endless!  Below is a list of my favorite ideas for screencasts:

Introductions to a Unit
Literary Definitions with Examples
Vocabulary Context Clues in Action
Student Essay Samples
Common Errors from Previous Assignments
PowerPoint Lectures
Questions from the Last Class
Read Alouds with Texts or Student Work
Example of Your Grading Process
How to Use Your Online Grading System
How to Use Your Online Classroom Platform
How to Create an Email to a Teacher
Review of the Prompts
Study Materials
Collection of Sites to Find More Information
How to Search for Scholarly Journals
How to Use the Library Software
How to Set Up Their Blogs

Really, the options are endless.  Just be creative!  Remember that when you make these, you can use them for years to come!  That's the best part :) Happy screencasting y'all!