Thursday, 8 October 2009
Screenr - Screencasts an eLearning tool
Books are great and training sessions are even better but when you have a limited time to learn and upgrade your own skills I for one am glad for the wealth of information available online. It is part of my job to make sure my skills are up to scratch with the software being used by students. Recently we were upgraded to Office 2007. We are all teaching ourselves and each other while dealing with the start of the new term. I tried to use some books but they give you tasks that may be great in a classroom but have no motivation for me when I am self-teaching.
Until last month I’d never heard of the term ‘screencast’. I stumbled across a site that allows you to record and share screencasts with your Twitter followers. I was searching for PowerPoint 2007 videos and found screencasts. What's a screencast? To answer that question I decided to look up a definition or two.
The first definition is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration. Although the term screencast dates from 2004, products such as Lotus ScreenCam were used as early as 1994. Early products produced large files and had limited editing features. More recent products support more compact file formats such as Adobe Flash and have more sophisticated editing features allowing changes in sequence, mouse movement, and audio.
Just as a screenshot is a picture of a user's screen, a screencast is essentially a movie of the changes over time that a user sees on his monitor.
Another definition from yourdictionary.com explains it thus:
Screen recording software that turns screen output into a video to teach an application or to promote a product by demonstrating features. Users can also make videos of screen sequences to log results for troubleshooting. Screencast programs may allow narration during capture, and advanced versions allow editing and annotation after the capture.
The site I discovered is called Screenr. There I found a number of very useful screencasts to help people like me who like visual explanations and demonstrations. One of the screencasters appears under the name elearning. He can also be found on Twitter as @elearning.
I used two of his screencasts to learn about some advanced skills and while doing so observed how to access the various tools and features of PowerPoint 2007.
The first one shows how to use gradient fills to “create interesting and dramatic lighting effects.”
The second one shows how to create "Interactive, animated scenarios using motion paths in PowerPoint 2007".
Want to see more? Visit Screenr
I think the effects demonstrated really make a difference to your slideshow. I created an instructive presentation using motion path animation and the gradient fills to great effect. As it is specifically designed for our students it is not suitable to share in this post but it is already being implemented on the VLE. With the help of elearning's screencasts and my transferable skills, I consider myself upgraded in PowerPoint 2007. I hope you find these screencasts useful. Now to tackle Excel....