Welcome to week 12 of 23 Things Kansas. I’m Sharon Moreland, Technology Consultant for the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), and I will be your guide this week to the wonderful world of Screencasting.
According to Wikipedia, that wonderful free online encyclopedia, a “screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration.” So, basically a screencast is a video recording of your computer screen, mouse movements, and keyboard strokes, with (or without) narration. Here’s an example – An overview of an online catalog.
Sharing and Productivity
Screencasting helps you help patrons, staff and even software developers. How? Do you have an online catalog that allows patrons to place their own holds? Record a 5 minute how-to video demonstrating the process and post it to your library’s Web site. Screencasting can also be used with IM reference to answer questions about subscription databases – the staff at K-State’s Hale Library shared this tip at the 2008 Unconference. Use it to help train new employees. For example, you might have a trainee watch a screencast on how to add new patrons to the catalog and then follow-up with Q&A. Think about all of the software programs we need to be familiar with, including any and all of the wonderful Kan-ed and State Library databases, and then use screencasts to demonstrate how they work. At NEKLS, we use screencasting to record problems we encounter with our Koha ILS and share those with the software developers. Why try to explain in writing what you can demonstrate in a two-minute video? Talk about efficient! Educators have also been making fantastic use of screencasting to provide feedback on papers and create brief instructional videos. Here are more ideas for how to use Screen Capture in Education.
A recap of some uses for screencasting:
- Demonstrating library-related software, including the online catalog
- Sharing bugs and software problems
- Answering reference questions
- Software tips and tricks
Tools for Your Consideration
- Jing! – After downloading the program to a PC or Mac, you can create and annotate screen shots (stills of your computer screen) or take 5 minute screencast videos that are saved as .swf (Adobe Shockwave) files. You can upgrade to Pro for $14.95 a year. Videos can be downloaded to the computer or stored for easy sharing online at screencast.com.
- Screentoaster.com – Set up an account, hit record – here’s the demo.
- Screencast-o-Matic.com – After setting up an account, you can create 10-15 minute videos that are easy to upload to YouTube.
In January, the EmergingTechEd.com blog compared a dozen different screencasting tools, if you want to explore further.
Tool Instructions and Activity
Rather than write out the instructions, I’ve made screencasts! Seemed appropriate.
Step 1 – Finding and installing Jing
Step 2 – Setting up your Screencast.com account
Step 3 – Capturing a Video
Click to see How to Use Screencast-o-Matic.com
Activity: Let’s keep it simple – share a link to a screencast you created in the comments. Then, post it on your blog and write about the experience. How can you see using screencasting at the library? Think of all the great tutorials we will be creating this week! Exciting.
Carry over from Week Nine: Come chat with us by joining the #23thingsks IRC channel. Type your nickname and click Connect. See this screenshot for help on where to click to start chatting. This multi user chatroom is hosted on Freenode (what is IRC?). I’ll be in the channel when I’m at my desk.
Things to remember when screencasting:
- Be aware of background noise, both visual noise on the computer screen and auditory noise.
- Log out of chat, email and any other programs that might pop up or otherwise interrupt you while you’re recording on your computer.
- For training or demo screencasts, go through the process a few times to make sure everything works as expected.
- Be aware of patron privacy – if you want to share your video with the world and it happens to be about your online catalog, be sure to use fake patron accounts – some of our favorites are Nick Fury, Charles Xavier and Barack Obama.
- Tell us what you’re doing with your keyboard and mouse, since we can’t see your hands even if we can hear the clicking.
- Test your mic and sound quality – is it loud? soft? hissy? high? low?