Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.
Screencasting is the process of capturing the screen interactions on your computer - usually along with an audio narrative. It's been a very effective method for creating screen based tutorials on computer for a number of years. With the advent of screencasting apps on the iPad, screencasting has now become a great option for the creation of multimedia student presentations. It can be used for any number of student projects such as illustrating and explaining the solution to a problem in mathematics, creating tutorials for apps, commenting and annotating an essay, document or article, and more. Instead of simply requiring students to answer a question, the use of screencasting allows them to illustrate and verbalize their thoughts and explanations.
Explain Everything supports a wide range of content for creating screencasts
There are few screencasting apps that have the tools and flexibility of the Explain Everything app. Presentations can span any number of screens and the presentation tools available include pens, highlighters, text, an eraser and even a laser pointer. You can pull all sorts of content into Explain Everything such as images, videos, documents and more. You can even open a web browser and highlight or annotate web pages as a part of the presentation.
If however we assume that interactivity and communication are important objectives of the modern classroom, then there's one feature however that's particularly interesting. Explain Everything links to a wide variety of cloud storage services thereby enabling screencasts to be uploaded and exchanged between students and teacher. For example, a student can create a screencast and the teacher can respond verbally within the same screencast while highlighting and marking it up for clarification.
Using Screencasts for Feedback
Here's a sample workflow:
1. Creating the Screencast: Students use Explain Everything to create a screencast such as their response to questions posed about a piece of poetry. They pull up the poem in the screencast and highlight portions as they add their commentary.
2. Exporting to the Cloud. When done, the screencast is exported to a cloud service. Explain Everything will link to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive and more. You can also email the presentation if needed. Using the Export function sends the screencast in the native Explain Everything .xpl format so that it can be opened and edited later.
One important side note here is that it's extremely helpful to set up your cloud service with shared spaces that enable private exchanges between teacher and student. In Evernote, if the teacher has a premium account then a notebook can be shared with a free student account. In Google Drive, you can easily share any folder with a student. In both cases, you'd set up a shared location with each one of the students. This becomes a location where they can deposit work for the teacher and also receive a private response or file in return.
Export the screencast to a shared folder in the cloud
3. Open and Edit the Screencast: The teacher can now open the screencast directly from the shared location in your cloud service as shown below.
Open the screencast project directly from the shared location in your cloud service
4. Comment, Annotate and Return: Add your audio commentary, notes and annotations and then return it to the student by exporting a new copy of the project back to the shared student folder.
Student screencasts can be a great way to allow students to express their knowledge and create multimedia presentations. With the right workflow setup, you can also use screencasting to offer very detailed and personal feedback on the student's work.
Postscript: Don't overlook the option of using a similar process for giving feedback on ANY student work. Given that Explain Everything will import any content, you can easily bring in a student essay and use the voice and annotation tools to give a more meaningful commentary on the work. For that matter, you can even scan a paper, import it into Explain Everything and use the same process. Using screencasting tools simply allows you to give students richer and more personal feedback.