Thursday, January 15, 2009

Use ScreenToaster to Create a Video Lesson

ScreenToaster is a screencasting tool that I previously mentioned when it was still in its beta phase. This week ScreenToaster left beta, remained free, and added some more useful features. ScreenToaster is a completely web based application that allows you to record what is happening on your computer screen at any given time. The latest updates to ScreenToaster now allow you to record audio to accompany your screencasts. You can also now choose to record all of your screen or just a portion of your screen. When your recording is complete you can save your screencast to your computer, upload it to ScreenToaster, or upload it to YouTube.

ScreenToaster is completely free and quite easy to use. It is a great product although it doesn't have quite as many features as Jing. The trade-off between using ScreenToaster and Jing is that to use ScreenToaster you do not need to install any software.

Applications for Education
My uses for screencasting tools have always revolved around the idea of creating video tutorials for software that you are introducing to students. Today, I found a great example of another educational use for screencasting. ScreenToaster user JoeRobinson32, who appears to be a geography teacher, created and posted on ScreenToaster a video lesson about plate tectonics. In the video Mr. Robinson gives a brief introduction to plate tectonics then gives his students directions for an assignment about plate tectonics. I watched this video and thought that it was great example of how screencasting could be used to deliver a lesson to students online. If you're teaching a class completely online or teaching in a traditional setting screencast lessons are a great idea. For those people teaching in a traditional setting, creating a screencast lesson is a good way to provide students who miss class due to illness with a way to hear and see you explain material.