Without a doubt, there is nothing like having a lecturer demonstrate how to use software right in front of you. But now there is new software available that can capture what you do on screen to support teaching of creative software packages such as; video editing, image manipulation, web authoring and animation. This resource covers some of the benefits, technical considerations and links to screen recording software sites online.
Screen recording technology overview:
Lecturers delivering advanced software processes in creative digital media often rely on traditional classroom techniques. Some of these techniques can leave major gaps in learning. The humble handout, for example, doesn’t easily reflect the changes or movements that take place on screen. The customary demonstration at the start of the lesson might be too quick for some students or they might not remember all the stages once they begin their own practical application of the technique.
Like many lessons on creative techniques, teaching creative technology often starts with a demo on a large screen for the whole class. Confident students will stop the lecturer to ask questions or to repeat sections, but many will get the end with significant gaps because of the tremendous amount of steps, clicks, pop-ups and information. In many cases this will mean the lecturer will have to move between learners and repeat the demonstration multiple times throughout the session.
There is the opportunity to stop, backtrack and, more importantly, ask questions. Another method of teaching complex software technique is to capture what you do on screen and narrate the actions you are taking to create a video demonstration. This is possible through the use of video screen capture software like CamStudio.
You may have been trying to develop your own skills and learn independently by typing a software name into YouTube and found loads of videos where you can see the screen being used, well making your own can be really easy.
While they might be the lecturers’ little brother, video demonstrations can also bring lots of benefits, not least in terms of distance learning. Many videos of how to use software can be found online but lecturers often teach in their own particular way and want demonstrations to reflect the kind of project or topic they are covering.
Producing your own screen captured video demonstrations can support course delivery in many ways. Absent or late students can use these to learn independently if you store them remotely and provide your class with the links. Repetition of demonstration is also reduced as learners can refer back to the video instead of the lecturer, which also means the lecturer can focus on higher learning objectives.
There are many software packages available that will allow video capturing of what you do onscreen. These range from those used in industry with highly advanced features and need to be paid for, others are free and relatively simple with minimal features. The kind you need will depend on the budget of the establishment and your personal requirements. However, starting out with a free version will give you an insight into the possibilities and will certainly enable many enjoyable learning experiences for your students.
• Have a little mess around and don’t expect to get it right first time.
• Try to include creative options that learners could take at different stages or they might all end up with identical work.
• Don’t be put off by having to record your own voice, be natural and allow for some mistakes.
• Store your video demonstrations on the centre’s VLE to promote inclusivity. If a learner misses a class then they can watch it online and ideally try it at home.
• Leave video demonstrations running throughout a class on the IWB or big screen so learners that arrive late or those that missed sections can quickly get up to speed.
• Recording the demos you give to a class means you don’t have to spend extra time developing resources.
• Have a Check that the software will be compatible with your operating system.
• Decide if you need selective or adaptable capture size or advanced processes like zooming as not all software supports this.
• Make sure the video format is compatible with your editing software.
• Try out different video compressions as video is memory heavy and trying to shrink it down can quickly make it pixelated and poor quality.
• Some capture software incorporate their own editing programs.
• Editing software is pretty much essential in order to cut out the mistakes.
• Hands free microphones make capturing audio much easier.
• Having a quiet space to record audio is recommended.
• Only a few packages will allow re-recording of audio.
• Students will need headphones to be able to hear the audio.
What to create video demos of:
Creating video demonstrations can be time consuming. There are ways of minimising the impact this has on your lesson preparation time:
• Don’t create videos for every single process or option that you plan to deliver.
• Create video demonstrations of processes that your students will use a lot of throughout the course so you don’t have to repeatedly demonstrate it yourself.
• Consider the complexity of the process you want your students to undertake. If the process will leave many questions open then they are going to need you there to support them.
• If the process you want to demonstrate will be used across multiple courses then see if you can pool resources with other lecturers.
What if my department can’t afford or won’t install screen capture software?
There are web pages online that will capture video of what you do onscreen. All you need is broadband internet connection. Here are a couple of useful links for internet based services:
Free video screen capture software:
TechSmith Camstudio – http://camstudio.org/
Blueberry BB FlashBack Express – http://www.bbsoftware.co.uk/
NBX Free Screen Recorder – http://www.nbxsoft.com/screen-recorder.php
Webinaria – http://www.webinaria.com/
UltraVNC Screenrecorder – http://www.uvnc.com/screenrecorder/
Paid video screen capture software:
Here are some industry capable software packages that have advanced features and will be used by those continually making video demonstrations:
TechSmith Camtasia – http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp
Adobe Captivate – http://www.adobe.com/uk/products/captivate.html
BSR Screen Recorder – http://www.thesilver.net/
Super Screen Recorder – http://www.free-screen-capture.com/screen-recorder/
Wondershare Demo Creator – http://www.sameshow.com/demo-creator.html