Screencast applications have been on my list of tools to examine for some time. Many of the how-to videos I have employed for
professional development are available on YouTube and were created with screencast applications. My delay in learning to use screencast tools to make presentations is partly because I mistakenly categorized screencasting as a type of moviemaking tool. Using some of the editing tools with maker-maker applications was difficult and time consuming. To make a screencast presentation you can open and close any window and play any source while narrating the recording, and editing skills are not required. This is very different from making a movie-maker presentation. Everything shown on the computer desktop is part of the presentation; whatever I open, close, or switch over to is recorded along with my narration and audio information. Screencasting is not only simple to use, there are lots of free online applications available, such as Screen-O-Matic, CamStudio, and Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). OBS comes with a number of features, such as overlays to video input and multiple sources for picture in picture – WebCam use. For the novice, I suggest using Screen-O-Matic or Cam-Studio. All three applications provide an online publishing option with a URL link. The publishing options also include publishing directly to YouTube, or presentations can be saved as video files. My students require online instructional support. Having an online step-by-step visual presentation that resembles face-to-face instructions will better enable my students to navigate an online project, such as a WebQuest or an online content course.
Student publishing will be part of a major online project I am planning for my students. The majority of my students have minimum interface navigation skills. Using a tool like Jing is adequate for a particular assignment I have in mind, however I have decided on using Blabbarize. Blabbarize is similar to Jing, but will better allow my students to be more creative, thus more engaged in learning. Blabbarize is an easy to use publication application with a very cute twist. Using a single picture or
drawing of something or someone, the application provides talking animation to the image. Students will have to record their voice narrations and upload one picture. In a group setting and several assigned student leaders this is a manageable project even with only a few available computers. The recorded information will depend on students’ selected topics and images. With such a diverse student population, this will also be the perfect opportunity to include a cultural or language learning component that is student directed. Examples of student published projects using Blabbarize include book reports, science projects, and biographies.