Using technology to make your life easier!
Screenr is a free screen recording application that requires no installation and works right through your browser.
I generally do my fair share of screen recordings usually to show people how to use applications. I use the great free tool Jing to do this and have loved it but it does require a few simple steps to install it and get it working. Screenr takes an easy process and makes it even easier somehow.
You literally only need a Twitter account and a browser to be recording short tutorials (5 min max) with Screenr that have a surprisingly great quality. Once you have recorded you are left with the option of Tweeting your recording, although you can elect not to tweet but you still need to sign into Twitter (hence needing the Twitter account). From there you can access the raw files for that you recorded or get the embed code to put it anywhere you like. All this is done platform independent because it is all browser powered.
Screenr also has a bookmarklet that makes it easy to quickly and easily record wherever you are as long as your browser is open. This truly is such an easy tool to easily incorporate into your routine that could save tons of time in giving direction to students or other instructors. Screenr videos will also play on an iPhone and other mobile devices which is great for getting your tutorials to people wherever they are.
I don’t see this tool replacing Jing or Camtasia (the granddaddy of all screen recorders and possibly the most expensive as well) but it does simplify and speed up the process of screen recording and sharing. If you don’t already have Jing or Camtasia then Screenr may be the right fit for you, heck I will probably be using it more often than I use the other tools because it fits so well into my workflow.
Here is an example of a short screenrecording I created.
I would come up with my own reasons to use this in education but honestly early in the writing of this post I found another article that shows great ways of how to use Screenr for education so here it is.
The following is a cross post from learn.lethbridecollege.net and it is being re-posted to the easierway site because this clearly represents an easier or more effective way to learn history, civics and current events and should be considered a glimpse of what the future of learning may hold.
iCue, which stands for “Immerse”, “Connect”, “Understand”, and “Excel”, is a free, online, collaborative learning environment for students and lifelong learners ages 13 and up that includes discussion forums, games and activities, and hundreds of current and historic videos from NBC News.
iCue was originally designed with Advanced Placement students in mind by NBC and the MIT Education Arcade who are conducting research study to find out how iCue can help students learn. Originally designed with Advanced Placement students in mind, students in high school through college and lifelong learners of all ages will enjoy watching the NBC videos, playing the games, joining discussion forums and trading Cue Cards while they learn.
The system can be used by a wide assortment of learners at many levels but does offer the following courses as a starting point:
Ember is a free service that lets anyone create a custom playlist of videos from the top video sites like YouTube, Vimeo etc. on the web. These compilations are do not alter or change the original video in any way nor do they make a copy–the system works by linking existing videos together in viewer that allows the user to scroll through and select all or specific videos to view.
A picture or in this instance a video is worth a thousand words so take a few moments to view the Embedr compilation on 21st Century Learning that I put together in just a few minutes.
Skype is an internet phone, a video phone and a screen sharing app (with beta version) that sits on your computer and is free. Now technically it is not a Web 2.0 app because you have to download it but it is the tool that is most entrenched in the market.
With Skype you can phone any other computer that is running it and talk as long as you want for free. Video chat is also included when you call computer to computer. Skype also allows you to to call a land line but it will cost you (pre-paid) a very minor fee (2.4 cents a minute). And of course that means you can make calls worldwide for that price.
An added bonus with Skype is the ability to make conference calls via voice or video. And to round out the features Skype also includes an instant messaging service with the added bonus of being able to text message someone’s cell phone from your computer.
For the brave you can also get a cell phone that is Skype enabled which will let you use it on your cell phone to save money.
How can Skype help in Education?
As always you can voice your ideas as a comment on this post at the top and keep an eye out here for more information on tools like Skype that are fully fledged Web 2.0 (all online) and are just as good as Skype.
Jing is one of the easiest tools to use to create screen captures and record and add voice overs to any onscreen activity. One can easily share what they have captured or recorded over the web, via IM or email.
The program works on both Windows XP/Vista and the Mac OSX. The free version offers all the features of the Pro – the Pro version just makes it even easier to share your videos at a higher resolution and allows you to export to the .mp4 format which enables you to edit the video in any video editing tool. Jing is made by TechSmith, the same folks who make Camtasia, and the videos are shared through screencast.com.
Up until recently I have only used the free version but decided to upgrade ($14.95 US) to get access to the higher quality video and the ability to export to .mp4. The following is an example of the video capture I created in just a few minutes:
Setting up Google Forwarding – View in “Full Size” for best quality
A few educational applications for this tool would include:
Ustream is an online service that lets you stream live or recorded video to a worldwide audience. The service is all hosted on their site, you just record/broadcast it and it is available to all. All you need is a web cam, microphone and an internet connection. As an added bonus whoever is watching can chat with the broadcaster or with each other live. This opens up plenty more opportunities.
So how could someone in education utilize this tool?
Again these are just some of my ideas and I would love to hear your comments or additions to this topic.
Because I continuously experiment with Netbooks, Unbuntu (Linux) virtualized installs of XP, Vista and other OS’s on my MacBook I have to often set up Firefox and add all my favorite extensions and plugins. Diigo (Tyler is writing about this extension) is always one of the first extension to be added followed immediately by Google Video Chat.
Since its release late 2008 I have used this lightweight one-to-one desktop videoconferencing system virtually daily. If you are fortunately enough to have a Mac, Netbook, or a newer PC laptop with a built in webcam and mic then this system just works. You run the plug-in install, restart Firefox, log onto your Gmail account, click on a contact to chat with and you can turn any chat session in to a video chat–assuming the person on the other end is set up as well.