Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teaching with YouTube & Screencast-O-Matic

This year I have been so excited to start using YouTube more regularly in my classroom. As a science teacher, I feel the abundance of video resources online are incredibly useful for reinforcing concepts I teach the girls. However, it can feel a bit overwhelming with so many videos available. Being new to the YouTube scene, I decided to start small. I created a "6th Grade Science" channel and then I made several playlists that corresponded to the units we cover.

One of the great things about creating your own channel is the use of playlists. Students can safely navigate to your page and click on only the videos you want them to watch (ones that you have previewed and deemed worthwhile), without the distractions of other (perhaps more questionable) channels and videos. Students do not need an account or password to view the channel. Simply an internet connection. 

Also, you have the option of uploading your own videos. While this may seem daunting at first, it is an incredibly useful tool. I create my own recordings of lecture topics using the free website Screencast-O-Matic. Through this site you can easily record your voice (and your face, if you have a webcam) while displaying a screen (such as Microsoft Powerpoint or Word). Your mouse movements, keystrokes, and window transitions are all recorded. It's like having a video camera over your shoulder while you work on your computer! Click here for instructions on how to create your own screencast of a Powerpoint presentation. (Coming soon!)

These recordings, called screencasts, have completely transformed the way I teach. It has allowed me to provide the girls with an additional resource when they are at home and not able to consult me for help. Since my lectures are organized by the lesson numbers in our textbook, I create a screencast for each lesson (typically they are between 5-10 minutes long) and upload them to our class YouTube channel. The girls are able to watch them whenever, wherever. Many of my girls (and parents) have commented on how helpful it is when they are studying for a test in my class. If they need clarification on a topic, they can find the appropriate screencast recording, and BAM! Suddenly it's as if I am standing in their room explaining it to them just like I did in class!

Check out one of my screencasts below:

I've also used this screencast technique to make a recording of a review game we play in class, then post it on our channel that afternoon so the girls can watch (and play it) again as they study for the upcoming test. 

Finally, as if you needed another reason why a class YouTube channel and screencasting were amazing, both are obviously super-helpful to those students who have to miss class due to doctor's appointments or sickness, etc. So far this year my girls have said that it is far easier to catch up after being absent in my class (as opposed to other classes) because of the resources I keep on our class YouTube channel!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this...did you use a tablet to write on your PowerPoint with a pen? Thanks!