“Screen Monitor recording” Classroom Benefits

Jing vs Screencast-o-Matic

Christeraxe

By Sandi Berg – Senior Math teacher

Jing vs Screencast-o-Matic

I love screencasting.  For me, it has many benefits in my classroom.  First of all, as a senior high math teacher, especially in the Pure Math stream, it is very difficult to find a sub who can help my students.  When I finally do find a good sub, they’re usually snapped up by a school very quickly.  This can be quite frustrating.  However, I have found the solution to my problem…screencasting!  I can record myself teaching a topic to students.  All the sub has to do is double click on my video and voila!  It’s like I’m right there.  The problem with screen-casting?  It doesn’t exactly fit with the whole concept of exploratory learning.  It’s a sit and git lesson.  Once I start teaching the new curriculum, this will change the way I prep for subs but for now, when I’m missing, this is the best way to guarantee my grade 12’s are getting the information they need.  The other great thing is that I actually recorded all of my class examples and posted them on my moodle site.  We use the Absolute Value workbook so I contacted the company to make sure this was ok.  They told me that as long as it was 1) located on a secure server so that only the students in my class could access it, 2) every student must have purchased the workbook, 3) I must be teaching my students face to face (not an online setting) in a traditional classroom setting.  I was also given permission to share my videos with other teachers as long as they met the above requirements when they share those videos.

This isn’t the only reason I use screencasting software.  Last year, in my Pure Math 10 class, I had students create a math problem for a topic we were reviewing.  They then used screen-casting software to record themselves working through the problem.  After that, we posted the recording on our moodle site.  This way, any of them could access the recordings if they were having trouble.

Up until recently, I have been using Jing.  I really liked this program but found it had a few issues that caused me so much grief that I finally decided to explore other options.

Jing

  • Extremely slow start up time.  I would have to open it up, walk away for a few minutes, and then return to use the program.  Now, this is partly because my school laptop is having issues but I noticed a slow start up (but not as bad) on my personal laptop as well.
  • Must be downloaded.  This is fine for me but when I’m trying to run this with my students, it’s a pain to have them temporarily install it.  Our tech department doesn’t like to install programs onto our image unless it’s been tested thoroughly first so I wanted to use it quite a few times with my students before making this request.
  • A user account must be created.  I created a school based one for my students to log in, though.  All of my students were able to log in at once so this was great.
  • 5 minute time limit.  Have you seen some of the Pure Math 30 examples?  I would have to split my explanations in half in order to record them.
  • Freezing.  This was the final straw.  I’m starting to see a lot of program crashes when I hit “stop recording”.  I thought maybe my file was corrupted so I uninstalled it, downloaded a fresh copy and reinstalled.  It kept freezing.
  • I upgraded the Jing Pro version for $14.95 for a year, (retired in 2013) is now Snag-it for $50. and can capture on the run of anything on screen. Good for fifteen minutes to an hour recording. This allowed me to record in other formats but I found my students preferred the original format as their computers would automatically open it! They would have to make changes to the opening settings in order to watch the other videos.

So, recently I have been exploring Screencast-o-Matic.  I haven’t had a lot of time to play with it but here are some of the things I have noticed with the two versions;

  • No account needed but you do need an email address.
  • When you are finished the video, you can export it to a variety of sources
  • The free version gives you 15 minutes to record.
  • Must have internet access to record the video as it is online. (in the cloud servers)
  • The free version prints a small watermark at the bottom of the video but it doesn’t detract from your video.

Based on what I’ve listed as my pros and cons, it’s pretty obvious which program I’ll be using now but that does not end my quest for the perfect paid or free screencasting software.  The software must meet the following requirements:

  • Preferably online but not absolutely required
  • Free
  • Allows at least a 10 minute video
  • Easy to use
  • Stable
  • Easy to download the videos
  • Downloaded quality is reasonable

What Screencasting Software are you using?  What are it’s pros and cons?

Mention in the comments below your concerns.

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About christeraxe

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