Guest post by Michael F. Ruffini, Ed.D.
Screencasts are an effective teaching tool that offer instructors greater versatility in developing lesson plans. Their many instructional applications include step-by-step process, demonstrations, tutorials, and presentations. Students can watch a screencast video at their convenience, pausing and reviewing as often as needed.1 Screencasts can be designed to let students personalize their learning and highlight important information as they proceed at their own pace.2 Undeniably, screencasting “has opened up… new ways of integrating classroom teaching and net-based learning.”3
There are two ways to acquire screencast videos to use with a lesson:
- Find a screencast video that is already available from YouTube, Kahn Academy, neoK12, or other sources.
- Create and produce your own screencast.
Finding a video that fits a specific lesson can be time-consuming. Creating your own screencasts gives you a video that aligns with your lesson objectives, and it can be a very rewarding experience. Moreover, you can reuse them for future classes. Screencasting is increasingly used to record PowerPoint presentations using preeminent software such as Camtasia Studio, which can enable an add-in to run the program from within PowerPoint.4 There are two general methods for creating an instructional screencast:
- Record the computer screen, provide narration, and use a digital tablet to show, for example, content that requires a sequence of steps, such as solving a math problem or showing chemistry equations in real time.
- Record a PowerPoint presentation with narration and add special effects, images, audio, and video. The captured presentation can be published online or used in a traditional classroom setting.
Screencast PowerPoint Model
This blog focuses on a framework to create an educational screencast using Camtasia Studio® and PowerPoint as the core of the screencast design. This framework can be applied in both a flipped and a traditional classroom. Most all educators use PowerPoint to present interactive multimedia presentations. Therefore, creating a screencast using a PowerPoint presentation makes sense. The Screencast PowerPoint Model (SPM) is designed using a PowerPoint presentation (Figure 1).
To illustrate the steps of the SPM model, “The Battle of The Bulge” screencast will be used as the example.
1. Introduction Bumper
A bumper is a term borrowed from broadcasting and refers to the introduction and the end of a screencast video. An effective introduction bumper hooks the viewer into the screencasting topic by using a music soundtrack, video, images, etc. For example in The Battle of the Bulge the introduction starts with a video clip of a tank with military soundtrack (Figure 2), and fades into a video clip of The Battle of the Bulge from a History Channel YouTube video (Figure3) for a total of fifty-five seconds. Introduction bumpers should be between ten to sixty seconds.
2. PowerPoint Presentation
- Create a new PowerPoint presentation or modify an existing one.
- Select a presentation topic and determine the lesson focus questions or objectives (Figure 4).
- Align content slides with each focus question.
- Script and record narration for each slide.
- Bullet the important narrative points (Figure 5).
3. Content Video
Select a short video clip that summarizes or reinforces the objectives of the presentation. Search for a video from websites such as YouTube, neoK12, SchoolTube , TeacherTube , WatchKnowLearn, The Teaching Channel, or other sources.
For example The Battle of the Bulge (History Channel YouTube) three minute video clip that summarizes The Battle of the Bulge was infused into the screencast (Figure 6).
Using videos infused in a presentation can be very confusing concerning copyright. YouTube now offers Creative Commons-licensed videos, which are automatically safe to use. You can even modify or edit them into your own videos using the YouTube Video Editor. If the content you’re interested in doesn’t come with a Creative Commons tag, it helps to know the fair use guidelines that allow the use of works without permission for teaching purposes. Still, the user must adhere to some key regulations that can be vague. However, just as a precaution be sure to cite very visibly any videos you use at the end of your screencast (Figure 7). Here is a general format to reference your YouTube video:
Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video
[Video file]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx
5. End Bumper
The end bumper can include an image, music track, etc., which indicates the end of presentation (Figure 8). Total length of a screencast should be between five and fifteen minutes.
The final step in the SPM model is assessment. Screencast videos can be a very effective learning technique. But how do you know the learner has viewed and understood the screencast content? Here are a few strategies you can employ to track student responses and interaction with the screencast video.
Camtasia built in quiz maker
Camtasia studio has a powerful built-in quiz feature that enables the user to construct a survey or quiz at different points– or at the end of the presentation. Types of questions to choose from include: multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer and true/false questions. The results of the assessment can be reported back from the learner through email (Figure 9).
Google Docs Form
Another option you can employ to track student responses and interaction with the screencast is using Google forms (a tool in Google Docs). A Google form lets you create an easy to use web form to track student results. A Google form is automatically connected to a spreadsheet with the same title. When you send or share a form, recipients’ responses will automatically be collected in that spreadsheet. To create a Google form, sign up for a Google Account and follow the Google steps in creating a form. Two form methods (screencast summary and question forms) can validate student interaction with a screencast as the student writes a screencast summary and goes through questions and answers.
1. In order to access the Google forms, add a hotspot to a callout or graphic. A good resource to create a button is cooltext.com which is a free graphics and button generator website (Figure 10).
On the button create a hotspot to the Google form (Figure 11).
Types of Google Forms
1. Screencast Summary:
Have students write a summary response about the screencast content. Students can stop and write every few minutes so that they can “chunk” the information for better understanding and reflect on what they have just learned (Figure 12 – Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/27990320).
For example a summary response using the summary criteria for “The Battle of the Bulge”: “In this screencast I learned about the Battle of the Bulge. Specifically, we learned where and when the battle took place, the nature of the attack, the German objectives in the battle, strengths of the allied and axis forces, casualties of the American, British and German forces, American Commanders that led the battle and why this battle was important. I really understood how this was such an important battle in World War II. I am still a little confused about the German objectives in planning this battle. This screencast lecture can be related to other battles in World War II”.
2. Screencast Questions:
Using this form, create questions related back to the presentation objectives for students to answer (Figure 13).
Battle of the Bulge Completed Examples
Can’t see the video? View on Screencast.com
Can’t see the video? View on Screencast.com
Screencasts have emerged as a prominent teaching tool on the Internet. They are an effective way to share ideas, deliver content, and obtain student feedback. A screencast can be used in any class as a part of real-time instruction or as the lesson itself as in the flipped teaching model. With the flipped teaching method, instructors use screencast videos to deliver their lectures, assigning them as homework. Then, in class, students can ask questions as they work through problems that they normally would have done at home without teacher help.
Creating an educational screencast using the Screencast Presentation Model (SPM) is a model anchored on a PowerPoint presentation. The SPM model is practical systematic approach (see examples at The Teacher Cast Academy) in creating a screencast that can facilitate learning across any curriculum area. Screencasting is a remarkable instructional tool. Give it a try!
- Paul McGovern, “Screencasts and Education,” The Screening Room, July 1, 2010.
- Catherine Sutton-Brady et al., “The Value of Using Short-Format Podcasts to Enhance Learning and Teaching,” ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, vol. 17, no. 3, November 2009.
- Simon B. Heilesen, “What Is the Academic Efficacy of Podcasting?” Computers & Education, vol. 55, May 31, 2010.
- Sandy Winterbottom, “Virtual Lecturing: Delivering Lectures Using Screencasting and Podcasting,” Planet 18, June 2007.
Michael F. Ruffini is an Associate Professor of Educational Technology at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate educational technology courses in the Department of Educational Studies and Secondary Education. Michael completed his Ed.D. degree at Widener University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org