ACHPER,  feedback,  formative assessment,  Professional Development,  Teacher Reflection,  Technology in PE

Screencasting – state your purpose, find your app!

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231 by Jaypeg CC BY NC

Screencasting is the ability to narrate an audio (and sometimes a video of yourself too) over your computer or iDevice screen so you can talk and share your screen at the same time.  This can be a very valuable tool for sharing feedback or instructions/tutorials with your students.

There are many different apps out there that will allow you to screencast.  The challenge is choosing the right one that you like and then learning how to use it.  I have found that the most important question to answer is: what is the purpose of your screencasts?  If the purpose is achieved in under 5 minutes and you don’t need to edit your video then there are LOTS of free options out there and you are sure to find a program that works for you.

If your purpose is to create a more lavish screencast and you are likely to need to edit your content or to add content (images or links in the final video) then you are probably going to need to buy a program that offers these extras.

Lifehacker recently ran a poll to find the top 5 applications for screencasting and the top two positions were held by CamStudio (windows only) and then Camtasia Studio.  CamStudio is a free web app and Camtasia you need to purchase.

Other apps you might like to try include:

Quickcast – free for Mac users.  I like the simplicity of it and it gives me quick record options as well as a longer time option.  It gives me a title and exit page  (I can add my name and student name or topic) and publishes automatically online.  I can see the view count quickly and it updates quickly.  Quickcast saves the original video both online and in your Documents folder for multiple access or sharing.
QuickTime – comes with Mac, it is free and I am told it is very easy to use.
ScreenFlow – was voted #3 on the Lifehacker top 5 list.  You can trial before you buy it ($99) and it allows you to edit the video before you send it out.
Screenr – free web app for Mac/Windows.  Sign up for an account and you can share your work with others.  View count is quickly updated.  I started with screenr and liked it’s easy set up.  I found that it didn’t run with Java, but this may have now been fixed up. UPDATE: Screenr is now retired!
Screencast-o-matic – has free and paid options and you can compare the list on their website.  I used the free version of this one as you could change the mouse to be bigger or different picture which added to the fun for my students.  You could also download the files and store them locally or upload them to other sources (eg. you could have students turn in a screencast assessment to a Dropbox or other).
Camtasia and Snagit by TechSmith for Windows or Mac – paid licenses (Camtasia is a screen recording and editing suite and Snagit allows just for recording of the screen).  As I am a fan of Coachs Eye, I am interested in Camtasia, but I am not in a position to have the money to purchase at this stage.  If I decide to do a bigger Flip Classroom in PE this is the sort of app I would purchase – allowing me to edit my videos and add to the screen (eg. a quiz or embed another video) to enhance the quality of my work.  I have been trailing Snagit and I highly recommend it.  If you are at a Google school and use Chrome (or even if you just use Chrome!), Snagit allows you to record your screen and then it automatically saves in your Google Drive folder or to YouTube.  Easy for sharing!
Kaizena is another app worth checking if you use Google Chrome and Drive.  This app allows you to make edits/additions etc to a Google document and you can choose to write or to screencast and then save this to the document to share directly with students.  The app is well maintained and is very focused on student learning and responds to feedback on making it a better app for teachers.
Coachs eye – on iTunes or and Andriod.  Coach’s Eye allows you to film something (eg. throwing a ball) and then to narrate over your film as well as using tools to annotate the screen.  you can then save and upload your video to DropBox or Google or other spaces for sharing with others.  This is a great way to record skills in action in your classroom and have students take video journals of their work and then narrate and compare one lesson to another to see changes in their work.
Explain everything – on iPad and Android is a neat app that allows you to create a presentation using every medium you can think of!  You can then screencast over your presentation for sharing with others.  I used this with my own children to create a presentation of their Student led conferences using video of their Action moments and photos of their others as well as text and fonts and then they and I narrated different parts of the screencast for sharing with friends and family back home.  I would like to try and use this app with my students to create an instruction template or as a small portfolio of something we have been working on eg. strategies for team work in invasion games.
Screencastly – a screencasting app developed by Jarrod Robinson as he created Vidalyze for PE teachers and students.  The app works through Chrome and easily saves to Google Drive.  It is free and is well maintained!
Screencastify – a free (with their logo) or paid app for Chrome users, it is simple to install and use and integrates with Google Drive.
There are others out there on the market, both free and paid.  If I missed your favorite screencast app, please let me know in the comments below.
Just remember to consider the purpose of your screencast so that you can choose the right product based on your device, budget and audience.
Happy screencasting!

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