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November 1, 2022
Vol. 80
No. 3
Ask Our EdTech Expert

Creating Dynamic Demos

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    ASCD author Monica Burns responds to educators' tech dilemmas.

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      Q: Can you share some tips for making great screencasts?
      A Video-Making Newbie
      A: Even if you haven't used screencasts before in your teaching, you've probably seen one in action. Screencasts are essentially recordings of what is happening on someone's computer screen. They are useful for numerous reasons. One, you might record your screen to show students how to complete a task, such as how to post materials in Google Classroom. Two, you might record a screencast for a flipped learning environment as you explain a new concept and move through a series of slides in a presentation deck.
      In my book EdTech Essentials, I share some other reasons you might consider making a screencast:
      After collecting formative assessment data, your action items might also include interventions for individual students or for small groups to address common needs. For an individual student, you might share a screencast you made with a tool like Loom or Screencastify to help them explore an idea or spotlight a particular helpful resource. (p. 68)
      To get started, you need to find a resource to use to record your screencasts. There are many tools for this purpose—if you have an iPad or iPhone, you may have already tried this with iOS 14 or later. Loom and Screencastify are two other popular tools that both include a Chrome browser extension. QuickTime and Screencast-O-Matic are two more to consider. And some popular tools like Flip also have this built into their platform. I encourage you to reach out to the technology specialist in your school or district to see if they have already purchased a tool that will help you accomplish this goal.
      Once you've found your tool, here are a few tips to consider:
      Stay focused. Writing a script for a screencast might not be the best use of your time, however an outline can help you stay focused. List a few things you don't want to forget to include and consider what should happen at the beginning of your video to set the stage and at the end to conclude effectively.
      Keep it short. The specific time of your video isn't as important as the quality of it. That being said, the closer you can stay to a 3- to 5-minute runtime, the better. If your video is getting long, think about a way to chunk it into pieces, each with their own focus area.
      Include visuals. A screencast is all about what you see on the screen. You'll want to make sure you have the visuals ready to go before you hit record. This could include a slide deck you'll have up on your screen made with Google Slides or MS PowerPoint or a web browser open to a website you will reference during the video.
      Try out the camera. You certainly don't have to get on camera when you make a screencast, but it is an option in various screencasting tools, and you might want to consider trying it out. Getting on camera, even just quickly at the beginning of the recording, is a great way to connect with your audience.
      Plan for sharing. You're making a screencast for someone to watch, so you want to make sure it's easy for them to access. You'll want to have a system to keep your videos organized. This could include a shared folder in Dropbox or a Google Sheet you update with a link to new videos.
      Screencasts are a great way to share information with students and colleagues. You can answer a question, share instructions, and explain a new concept. Although you'll be investing time in the creation of videos at the start, you'll save time in the long run by having a library of videos that are ready to share when a question arises.

      Have an edtech dilemma?

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      EdTech Essentials

      In a world awash in technology, what edtech skills and strategies should educators focus on to ensure they are making the best use of online spaces for classroom learning?

      EdTech Essentials
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