Screencasting – What to Do and What NOT to Do

So, I tried my first screencast earlier this week.  I used Jing (which is *FREE*) and made a short video (less than 5 minutes – because that’ all the time you get with Jing).  I’m going to share the video here… I’d really like for this to be a NON-judgement zone (unless you like the video 😉 ).

Now, what TO DO: (1) DO TRY!!  I was afraid to try for fear that my voice would be weird, that my voice would be crackly, that I wouldn’t explain something right and I’d have to do the screencast over and over and over.  Well, I did try three or four times, but that was all it took – for my FIRST one EVER!!  (2) Plan ahead.  Plan what you want to say.  Plan your props (if you need them).  Plan your windows/clicks.  Plan.  Plan. And PLAN some more.  (3) Have fun!  I think this tutorial for my kids will be more useful than I anticipated!

Now, what NOT TO DO: (1) Don’t freak out.  They are YOUR students (unless you put your video out there for the word to see, like I’m doing) and they will love you.  They might laugh at you, but that won’t be anything new if you have fin with your kids and are as bluntly honest with them as I am with mine.  (I do try to limit their giggles at me, when I can.)  (2) Don’t try and shove EVERYTHING into one video (that’s what I did).  I will be going back and separating this video into about 4 or 5 different shorter videos.  This way, I think I can get better explanation.  I am keeping this video, however, so my kids can see how long this project should take them in class.

So, go on!  Try your own screencast!  You’ll be glad you did!



Google Apps in the Classroom

About seven years ago, my district started to incorporate Google Apps for Education within out middle schools and high schools.  When I discovered what this Google Education thingy was, I wanted in on it.  I emailed our new Director of Technology (a friend of mine) and shared with him that it might be nice to have an elementary classroom be a part of this pilot they were running with some teachers and classes.  He let me in.  I’ve been “in” ever since.

My kids were amazing and we did amazing things!  We had script writing going on, where students were writing (together, yet separately) the Friday morning announcements.  We had an A/B Anchor crew and a 1/2 Anchor crew.  They alternated weeks and had two weeks to plan their script, interviews, and practice.  At that time, that about more than I could handle as that was outside my literacy time and managing the Anchor crews (which changed EVERY WEEK) was a daunting task.  However, with the live editing and sharing of documents, I was able to manage the crews and everything went well.

Well, this morning, at our staff retreat planning meeting, I offered up to do this again.  What was I thinking??  Oh yeah, make the students accountable.  Give them the power.  This time around, I’m also going to train a tech crew and we will go “live” with announcements on Friday mornings!  I will be planning rehearsals, script writing sessions, and tech training.  All so I can turn the control over to the kids.

Using Google Slides, Spreadsheets, and Docs has made teaching so much easier.  I don’t have to worry about printing.  Kids don’t have to worry about their dog eating their assignment (I did have this happen once).  Parents don’t have to make a special trip to school to drop off their kid’s project.

As I use these learning tools throughout the year, I will try to remember to share some of the spectacular outcomes.  If nothing gets posted, I guess that means nothing worked well.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Here’s to using more Google Apps in the Classroom!