Following a session I gave on Friday on Using video in language teaching, I had an interesting conversation with some colleagues about screencasting.
As most of you probably know, screencasting (which I insist on writing in one word, despite my spellcheck’s best efforts) consists of recording what is happening on your computer screen into a video document. People will frequently add voice-over or captions to create tutorials and informative videos.
During Friday’s session, I mentioned a couple of screencasting solutions that may be of interest to tutors: Camtasia (Mac/PC, £73 to £220), Blueberry Flashback (PC, £59 to £132) and Quicktime X (Mac, free with OS X 10.7 or greater), although I had to admit not knowing much about other (and cheaper) solutions. So, better late then never, I went out and looked at what’s available.
I found that PC World has a very nice page summarising what’s available. If you’re looking for cheaper solutions than the ones mentioned above, try this page. Some of the software presented even allows to record your screen without software installation (provided you can get the Java applet to work).
I also realised that I had been using yet another screencasting solution myself, but hadn’t thought of including it in my session: Fraps (free to £25). Fraps is mostly popular among PC gamers due to its light CPU footprint and benchmarking ability. But on thinking about it, it is also an affordable, easy-to-use screen capture software package that can very well be used for educational purposes.
So, what would you use screencasting for in education?
I’ve given it a try myself a couple of times, to:
- record some of my conference slides
- create a tutorial for students explaining how to use a new piece of language-learning software (watch here)
- submit part of an assignment during my PGC AP (NB: I did not get a distinction, watch at your own risk)
- make a tutorial for language tutors on how to use discussion forums to prepare their students to their year abroad (watch here).
As you can see, I haven’t used screencasting in my language teaching practice yet. If any of you do, I’d be delighted to hear about it – feel free to comment in the box below. Thanks for reading.