Screencasting offers opportunities for out-of-class learning

Posted on: February 28, 2013 | By: Casey Brown | Filed under: Tech Tips

While the world has been familiar with online video for a while now, “screencasting” is a relatively new term AUGUST 24, 2011 - Directory photo for Crystal Anderson. (photo by Kim Walker)in our technological vocabulary. Screencasting is similar to a screenshot, but instead of having static images, it’s a video of what is happening on your computer screen. This can be a powerful tool to teach people using visuals and audio. At least that’s how Dr. Crystal Anderson, a professor in the English department, uses it.

“In my classes, I’m trying to get my students to do digital writing,” Anderson said. “In order for them to do digital writing, particularly in a blog environment, I needed to teach them how to do a blog post, but I didn’t want to use class time to do it.”

Anderson researched methods to teach her students while they weren’t physically in the classroom, and she found the perfect solution: Screencast-O-Matic. This free online recording application allows her to record and document information. Now, her students can learn outside of the classroom and then bring that knowledge into class.

“I could focus less on teaching the students the technology and more on getting students to use the technology in the classroom, where they can get oversight and guidance from me,” Anderson said. “We can use that classroom time more effectively.” Anderson admits screencasting was strange to get used to at first because she had to learn to create a video and read a voice over at the same time. However, she sees how students have benefitted from this out-of-classroom resource.

“I think students like it because they get to watch the tutorials on their time,” Anderson said. “With Screencast-O-Matic, I put my tutorials on YouTube, and [the students] can watch those anywhere. So, it gives students a degree of ownership over that part of the learning process.”

MORE: 7 Things you should know about Screencasting

For now, Anderson is using screencasting as a tool to teach tutorials outside the classroom, but she can see a future for it in other parts of her professional life. She can use it in her research in Korean pop culture to record websites that may be here today and gone tomorrow. Also, Anderson is trying to explore ways for her students to use screencasting to create classroom presentations.

Dr. Anderson uses Screencast-O-Matic in her research on K-Pop.

No matter the application, Anderson suggests faculty use it as a resource for any classroom.

“I would definitely recommend Screencast-O-Matic to faculty, particularly faculty who are looking to incorporate technology into their courses but are unsure how to balance classroom time with technology instruction,” Anderson said.

Stay tuned for more postings about screencasting in the near future. If you are interested in incorporating screencasting in your classroom, contact Teaching and Learning Technologies at 336.278.5006 or

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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