One area of tech I did nothing with when I had my own classroom was screencasting. To be honest, I had a hard time listening to myself! Then, one of the first things I was asked to do when I started as a tech integration person was to screencast how to log into various programs. Gulp! Now, I had to!
I won't lie - it took me FOREVER! I made and deleted and remade and deleted some more. Fast-forward 2 years, and while I still do not really care to hear myself, I find it much easier to do as well as a HIGHLY efficient way to accomplish various tasks. (I'll explain later.)
I truly wish I had gotten on board with screencasting while I was in the classroom because I've found some pretty awesome ways to use it that save time and allow you to build a bank of good resources.
I know there are all kinds of screencasting tools out there - my preferred one is Screencastify. It allows me to log in with my Google account and I choose to have it automatically save my videos to My Drive. SUPER easy! I only use the free version & have yet to hit any need for a paid version. (Sure some of the editing tools would be nice, but I've made do.)
I'll share some tips at the end. Here are some of the ways I've found screencasting is helpful:
"How To" or Demonstrations
I am split between two elementaries and I often am asked "how to" questions or "I need help with" ... but I'm at the other elementary. While I could type out directions, I've found it very helpful to create a quick little video and then share it. I've received very positive feedback from this - it's specific to the person and it provides a visual along with the auditory instructions.
CHALLENGE: record a "how to" for your students.
A big part of my job is supporting teachers with integrating tech into their classrooms. Last winter, we did a district-wide professional book study on George Couros "The Innovator's Mindset". It was fantastic!!! As part of the wrap up, I devised "The Innovator in YOU" so our teachers could capitalize on these great ideas. One was a 2nd grade teacher who said he'd like to make videos to share with the parents on how to do the math. (Don't laugh ... this is a regular complaint for math at all ages! It's mostly a vocab thing.) I helped him get going on this project. Eventually, the hope is he will teach his students how to create these. But for now, wow! What a great idea!
You can check him out ↬ his YouTube channel is "David Williams". I love this & I've shared it with as many primary teachers I can. Better yet, subscribe and you'll be notified each time he posts a new video.
CHALLENGE: record a video on a specific area your students struggle & share it.
Next best thing to in-person
I love being in the classroom and working with teachers and students. Love it, love it, love it! I have regular appointments with several classes. And try as I might, I have to reschedule or skip it sometimes. Boo! I had to do this last year with two 2nd grade classes. Man, was I bummed! I talked to the classroom teachers and asked if it'd be ok if I made a short video and share it with them in my absence. They agreed! I sat on my front porch two nights prior and recorded what I was going to do with them. Once I was done, I shared it with the 2 teachers. Even though I wasn't there in real time, I was there in video form!
CHALLENGE: record your sub plans! Read below for more ...
This is one I just recently realized the power. We recently adopted a new portal in our district. As much as we 💖it, we are finding we have some kinks to work through. One of these was incredibly tough to write out and make sense so the company would truly understand what I was needing help with. Brain spark! I'll make a quick video! So I did ... at the same time I was explaining, I was showing my question. This really helped both sides figure it out!
Since it worked so well for the portal, about a week later, a teacher had an issue with using one of our programs, I made a quick little video & shared it with the company, and again, SO much better to explain and show at the same time.
CHALLENGE: next time you run into a problem with a program, record it & send it to your tech person. Let them really "see" your question.
Uses in the classroom
Did you notice the challenge I put at the end of each of the 4 areas I've found it helpful to use screencasting? You can do this!
Let me give you the classic example ... you have a professional day out of the classroom (or a planned day for another reason) ... sub plans are a PAIN. (Can anyone other than a teacher really understand what a pain sub plans are???)
Here's the regular scenario for me ↬ I chaperone the 8th grade DC trip each year. That's 3 days out of the classroom. Three. Not a big deal for the 8th graders who don't go, but I still had full classes of 7th graders who were expected to keep have social studies class. I grew tired of leaving plans for the sub that got misinterpreted, or worse, not followed at all. I decided I was going to use this new LMS to my advantage. Schoology. I could schedule things to be available on a certain day and time. Sweet! I wrote my plans TO my students. I gave them step by step instructions. Then I left a note for the sub ... "all my plans are posted in Schoology for the students to read". (I think I might have printed them for the sub, too.) I see now, I could have easily screencasted them rather than typing them & then my students could see AND hear me give them instructions. Beautiful!!!
Once you start, you'll find numerous reasons why screencasting can be a wonderful tool to add to your tool belt.
And just when you get comfortable, take it to the next level ... teach your STUDENTS how to do it and let their learning shine through!
Next week, I'll share some tips when you start screencasting. Talk with you then!