What is screencasting? (#7)

“Screencasting” is a method of capturing the actions performed on a computer, including mouse movements and clicks on web browser links, in the form of a video.  Using online screencasting tools, the video can be shared via e-mail attachment or a web link, or be uploaded to a server for continual use. Screencasts may also contain audio narration which is recorded simultaneously with the actions are performed on screen or added after the video is completed. Additionally, still images of the computer screen, or “screen shots,” may include captions, highlighting or call-out boxes to draw the user’s eye to a specific place on the image.

Screencasting is a quick and easy-to-use tool that can help you create slick demonstration tutorials in any subject area, using any computer application. The software allows you to record a movie of what you are doing on a computer.  Along with your movie, you can record voice-over audio to provide a series of instructions.

Consider the possibilities. Students in math class can generate tutorials on how to solve problems. Students in Social Studies can create tours through the National Archives or any museum. Science students can be guided through simulation exercises. Teachers can demonstrate step-by-step instructions on how to get started with any software application. Screencasting can be used with any computer application and in any subject area.

Here’s an example of a young student using a screencast to explain proportions:


Once your screencast “movies” are recorded, they can be published in a variety of ways. They can be embedded in other media such as PowerPoint slides or iMovie. Content can be burned onto cd’s that students can take at home and share with their families.

 12 Screencasting Tools for Creating Video Tutorials [Link]


Carr, A., & Ly, P. (2009). “More than words”: screencasting as a reference tool. References Services Review , 37 (4), 408-420.


What’s in that “Cloud” (Blog #6)

“The way I understand it, “cloud computing” refers to the bigger picture…basically the broad concept of using the internet to allow people to access technology-enabled services. According to Gartner, those services must be ‘massively scalable’ to qualify as true ‘cloud computing’. So according to that definition, every time I log into Facebook, or search for flights online, I am taking advantage of cloud computing.” – Praising Gaw (2008)

Cloud File Storage, Sync, Backup   

Cloud computing has been a major topic for years, but more and more companies are pushing it as a way to avoid operating system issues. Cloud computing is simply having all of your files and software hosted on a network somewhere. This means that all you need to acces the files and programs is a web browser. These systems work with any web browser. The system does not care what operating system you are using. You can use Windows, or Apple, or Linux. If you can get to the internet, you can get to your files and applications. Most people have already used a cloud system when they check their email with a web mail system. Cable, Verizon, AOL, Gmail, and Yahoo are all web based email systems that you can accces from any computer with a web browser.

The most popular cloud system is Google Apps. With Google Apps, you can create, edit, save, store, and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You could work on the file on an Apple computer at work, and then continue working on it on a Windows computer at home. There are other cloud systems out there, such as Zoho and Evernote. Many more companies are developing web apps so that they can have users from any operating system.

Schools should look into more cloud or web based applications in the future to eliminate the issues of compatibility between operating systems. Most web based applications offer offline applications that can run even without an Internet connection as well as a way to save your files to your own computer. The other benefit is that most of these systems are low cost or even free.

As the operating system wars heat up with Windows 7, Apple Snow Leopard and Ubuntu Linux, schools need to make sure that no matter what OS their faculty and students use at home, they can access files and applications at school and home. It also helps avoid the issue of “I forgot my assignment file at home,” or “my printer ran out of ink.” By using the web apps, students could just log into their account at school and print it out. Teachers would also always have their files available to them no matter where they are. In many cases, these new web applications will also save on licensing fees since they are free.

Web based applications and files can also be accessed from smart phones like the iPhone, Palm Pre, Blackberry, and G1. This means that you would have access to your files and applications at any time.

What do you think about these?
What do you think about cloud storage?
Are there other services that you would recommend?

Works Cited

Gaw, P. (2008, July 25). What’s the Difference Between Cloud Computing and SaaS? Retrieved November 6, 2011, from Cloud Computing Journal: http://cloudcomputing.sys-con.com/node/612033