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Show, Don't Tell: Intro to Screencasting

Whether you're creating short videos to explain specific software skills, getting your students to document their learning by capturing their onscreen actions, or building a lesson library aimed at flipping your classroom, knowing how to create a screencast by recording what happens on your screen is a truly useful skill for any teacher to have. Screencasting is a wonderful multimodal activity that greatly improves a presenter's ability to clearly, simply and quickly explain an idea.

In this hands-on session we will look at the various skills involved in producing an effective screencast, and investigate some of the tools for creating your own. During this session you will make your own short screencast on a topic of your choice using free screencasting tools.

Tips for making a great screencast

  • Prepare your computer...
    • clean up the desktop, remove distracting wallpaper
    • decide what you want to capture and resize windows if necessary
    • close unnecessary windows
    • prepare the screens, examples and files you want to use
    • turn off distractions such as message popups, notifications, etc
  • Prepare yourself...
    • design the lesson you plan to give
    • think about what you will say and how you will say it
    • keep it short, sharp and to the point
    • your lesson should be as long as it needs to be, but no longer!
    • use a script if you feel you need one
    • rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
  • Prepare your physical environment...
    • find a quiet spot to record
    • avoid rustling papers, squeaking chairs, barking dogs, passing traffic, etc
    • use a good desktop microphone, or headset/mic set if possible
    • if you include video of yourself, check for good lighting, framing, etc

  • Record!
    • speak clearly and articulate your words
    • find a speech rate that works for you, not too fast, but not too slow
    • describe what you're doing on screen and match your descriptions to your actions
    • keep your mouse still unless you're actually doing something with it
    • be yourself!
    • be prepared to do a couple of takes! It's rare to get it right first go
    • watch your screencast back and evaluate your effort. if you think you can do better, do it again