Screencasting was developed to solve these types of issues. By using a free program such as Jing or Screencast-o-matic, a person can record exactly what they are seeing on their computer screen while talking through what they are doing.
For this blog I want to focus on Jing. Jing is a free program that was developed by the same company that offers Camtasiaand other recording software. To use Jing you simply have to create an account using an email address and password. Once you are signed in, you will need to download the program to your computer. (If you want to do this with your school computer, make sure you put in a request to have this done if the district does not allow you to download freely.) After it has been downloaded you will notice a yellow semi-circle in the top center of your screen. By hovering over this icon you will be able to capture your screen. By selecting capture you can choose to capture just an image or capture with video. Using the free version of Jing allows you to record up to 5 minutes worth of video and audio and then save the video or share it using screencast.com. I like the screencast.com option because it will upload your video to their servers and immediately give you a link that you can paste in a message, email, document, or website so that others can view your screencast without having to download anything to their device. Jing also has some great tutorialsalready created on how to use their software that both teachers and students could understand.
Screencasts are great for students or teachers who are using a new program or Web 2.0 tool and are not sure how to get started. Below is a screencast I created as part of a series in helping teachers in my district familiarize themselves with our learning management system, Canvas Instructure. While there are tutorials that have been created by the company, many of the teachers in my school found them to be overwhelming and confusing at times during the learning process. To help combat this issue, a small team of teachers, including myself, have started to break down Canvas in to small chunks and create screencasts that walk teachers through what is available to them and how to create it on their own. Since we began creating these screencasts, we have found that teachers feel more empowered to learn on their own without having to have someone directly beside them as they worked.
My students having access to a device has also opened the door for me to use screencasts for lessons when I am unable to be at school. Instead of leaving busy work with a substitute, I am able to record my lesson and send the link to students to view on their own. I have also utilized this feature for students who are absent or in our in-school-suspension room. This allows them to keep learning even though they cannot be in class. The same could be said of students who need additional help working homework problems. The teacher or a fellow student could create a screencast of a sample problem and send the link to the student needing help. The possibilities are endless.