Archive for November 24th, 2007

With the software applications become increased complexity and more visually oriented and learners are growing larger and more distant, teachers need a tool that will assist them in delivering learning objectives and help them with the demands of software demonstrations. Screen-capture based video software appears to be one tool for developing prerecorded presentations that can be used to assist instructors with software demonstrations as well as allow students for further review. A screen capture video is a recording of movement on a computer display, including any “click” or selections made by the instructor. In addition, screen-capture software allows a voice over to be added as the computer is used. The screen-capture videos can then be played back by either the teacher (in-class demonstrations) or the student (self-paced demonstrations). Furthermore, these videos can be streamed to allow anytime anywhere access across the Internet.

Video has played an important role in teaching and learning. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a moving picture is invaluable for explaining and demonstrating the complicated content on today’s computers. Prerecorded videos of computer-based steps have proven to be an effective means of showing how software applications work. Screen-capture based instructional video is one of the most powerful tools for creating effective training, tutorials, and presentations. The digital video technology and screen-capture software allow teachers to easily create and record original, high-quality prerecorded software presentations that can be used for in-class demonstrations and run by students for further review at their convenience on the Web. Students can follow the videos and then practice on their own and complete the assignments. They can learn complex computing techniques and tasks via digital videos or access material when they miss a class due to illness or unexpected circumstances. The screen-capture software is a very effective way of delivering software instruction and is ideal for student-centered learning and an online learning environment.

There are many screen-capture video software. Camtasia is by far the most popular and powerful screencasting software. You can use Camtasia to create any type of video (training, demonstrations, presentations, online courses, etc.) with inclusions of screen recordings, audio, voice narration, PowerPoint, Picture-in-Picture and webcam video. Also, you can edit and enhance your video with callouts, titles, credits, zooming, panning, quizzes and additional audio tracks. Finally, you can publish and share your screen-capture videos in Flash, AVI, QuickTime and a variety of video formats on the Web, CD or DVD.


However, Camtasia is not cheap. Even with educational discount, it still costs about $179. So, if you and your school have limited budget, you may consider Camstudio, a free, open source option. CamStudio allows you to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files. In addition, you can use its built-in SWF Producer to turn the AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs). My experience of using CamStudio is positive. It is very easy to use and the quality of recorded video is quite good. I think Camstudio is an excellent tool for teachers and students. Particularly, it is FREE.


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