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A workshop on screencasting

May 30, 2014

On Monday, I’ll be leading a workshop for our Math department on creating screencasts. Our 9th grade math program uses the Exeter 1 and 2 Curriculum, and they are looking to augment it with screencasts that students will view. The content of these screencasts mostly undecided, but could contain some of the background material and definitions students might need to get started with a set of problems, or might contain challenges that extend problems or try to hook students into thinking more deeply about a particular problem.

I’ve tried to develop a very interactive workshop that starts by getting our faculty experience learning via video by watching three great talks about by

From there, my hope is to launch them very quickly into designing ideas for possible screencasts for a given page of Exeter problems, and then to go out and create a prototype video in less than half an hour.

After all the videos are created, faculty pairs will pitch them, Shark Tank style, to a group of students I’ve assembled that will help us to see how engaging they are and offer suggestions for improving our next revisions.

I’ve created a Google doc with a fairly detailed outline of the workshop, and I’d love any feedback you may have. You can comment directly on the document, or you can view it below and simply leave a comment on this post.

One of the things I’m most interested in is other teaching or technical tips for creating and using screencasts.

Here’s my list of tips so far:

Basic tips

  • Write a script, or at least an outline of what you want to say before you start recording. It will save you a ton of time.
  • Never make a video longer than 10 minutes (there are those who argue this limit is even shorter).
  • Include an index at the start of the video that gives students times of various parts of the video.
  • Try to stick to the the principle of one concept per video.

Learning tips

  • Frequently ask students to pause the video and a try a problem for themselves. You could even ask students to email you a photograph of that work.
  • Create a space for students to be able to ask and answer one another’s questions about the video. Youtube comments are a good start. Canvas can also do this.

Advanced tips

  • How to create a link to a particular location in a video (great for making an interactive index).  Just add “#t=Xm&Ys” to the end of the link, where X is the time in minutes and Y is the time in seconds of where you want to link to. You can also use this handy site:
  • How to add annotations to a Youtube video. add callouts links and hotspots over your videos.
    • This is an awesome tool for asking a question, and then putting possible responses up on the screen and asking the students to click the appropriate response, which will link them to different videos that can then follow up on the student’s answer. Here’s a great example of this: Buoyancy Quiz.
  • If you have students create their own screencasts, you can easily ask them to submit them via a google form, or in an assignment canvas.
  • You can enable variable speed playback on Youtube. This lets you watch screencasts at 1.5 and 2x speed, which can be great for watching student submitted screencasts.

Thanks for any suggestions or feedback you may have.

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