In Praise of Screencasting

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I would hazard a guess that any conversation with a Haydon media teacher in recent years about teaching pedagogy would have soon led to a discussion on the virtues of screencasting. I’m reminded of the observation that ‘the only reason the majority of students come to school is in fact to watch teachers work,’ and if there was one overriding theme running through staff within the department, it is to reject that idea. We don’t work! And whilst this may appear (and is intended) to be a provocative claim, there is some truth to it. The less we work, the more we can help, support, guide, challenge, question, interact……….. The list goes on.

In so many ways, screencasting can help shift the balance of work in the classroom from teacher to student and in doing so frees up significant time for effective assessment. For the uninitiated, screencasting is the capturing of activity on a computer screen, usually supported by narration. In short, we record our computer screens whilst we talk.

Consider how much contact time involves introducing concepts / ideas / facts / information to students. And consider how often we explain the same ideas over and over. Or how an explanation of an idea is understood quickly by some and takes longer to digest for others. And then consider what a recording of this information would mean. It would mean students could watch it before the lesson and then arrive ready to discuss this new knowledge, they could watch it again and again afterwards; a week later, six months later. They could pause it, make notes, rewind it, watch it again. It also means, more class time can be dedicated to exploration than merely transmission of knowledge.

If you’re willing to give it a try, record your next PowerPoint, or your interpretation of a poem. Call up an essay and talk through its strengths and limitations. Record yourself modeling essay structure or demonstrate trigonometry.

You might then be surprised how your role in their learning starts to alter.

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