Mark Glynn suggested that I have a look at some screencasting applications as I wanted to do a voiceover for a Prezi about my use of Twitter. He suggested I use Screenr or Jing. I had a look at both but chose Screenr for its ease of use – there’s no software to download so you can use it as long as you have internet access and Java. From my quick look at Jing it looks like you can do more with it but Screenr was perfect for what I needed.
You can create Screenr screencasts without an account but I chose to sign in with my twitter account so that I could save my screencasts. There’s a quick tutorial to show you how it works and this is really all you need. It is a very easy tool to use. The three steps to creating a screencast are
Resizing the frame allows you to include only that part of the screen that you want seen. As I wanted to do a voiceover of a Prezi I opened the presentation and sized the frame to fit. Next comes the actual recording. This bit I personally had a little more trouble with but practice will make perfect :-) The technology is simple but deciding what to say isn’t! The other thing to remember is that, with the free version you only have 5 minutes to record. When I started out I thought I wouldn’t have enough to talk about for 5 minutes but it turns out I had the opposite problem – too much to say and not enough time to say it in! Who knew :-) Condensing my thoughts on Twitter was difficult but very worthwhile as it made me focus on what I really wanted to get across. The other problem I had was that I kept fluffing my lines (aka stuttering and stumbling over what I wanted to say) but as I said above I’m hoping practice will make perfect. Lots of my early attempts ended up on the cutting room floor and the final version isn’t perfect but then neither am I :-) Once you get to this stage it’s simply a matter of pressing done. You can then share the link to the screencast or you can choose to publish to Youtube. All in all a very easy process.
My plan for the coming year is to use screencasting to do voiceovers for some of my notes to help my students. This was one of my resolutions last year when I set up this blog. Unfortunately I didn’t achieve it during the year but I have high hopes for this year.