Video recording for student learning

You’ve had a fantastic lesson, including a demonstration that is essential to students’ understanding of the content. Wouldn’t it be great if the students could take home your explanations of content, or demonstrations so that they can listen to you over and over again? Students use iPods now as an extension of themselves and we worry and curse about how often they have earphones in. If we could access that tool in order to get students to study, in a way that is both visual and audio, in a quick and easy way, this must surely lead to greater success in retention of information. There are now a number of methods to do this through the use of easy to use video tools: You Tube, screen casting, document cameras and Powerpoints.This video combines all three as a sample:
In the interest of practicing what we preach, all of the following has been recorded and placed on YouTube. You can access the pre-recorded demonstrations and all the following links by going to
There are a number of examples on science demonstrations on You Tube that can be used within the classroom, for pre-reading or homework activities that get the students to visualize what should be happening as well as reading it. Students can be asked to watch a video as a precursor to what will be happening in the classroom, and asked to take notes on observations that they made during the video, questions that they had or can be asked an exam style question that requires them to analyse the information presented within the video.
Some examples that already exist on the web:
• Dr Carlson
• They Might be Giants (who can forget the elements song)
They Might be Giants
• Steven Spangler Science
Steve Spangler
Screen casting is a useful tool for showing content that is available in digital form. This allows you to essentially videotape anything that is shown on the screen. This is particularly useful when doing demonstrations of software, but can also be used to model writing skills within a word document, or by recording your interaction with programs such as Google earth, where you can point out particular land features or even just explaining an assessment task. This means that not only do all students across a year group get the same message, students can be just-in-time learners where they can access the content when they need to know, which makes it more relevant for their learning. These are also good when there are common misconceptions about a topic you can explain, or questions that are repeated from a number of students.
There are a number of tools for screencasting that are freely available for both Mac and PC users. Jing is the most common, which is a free downloadable program, but this limits the recording to five minutes. It is, however, very easy to use, and simple to install. The process of using Jing has been recorded and published on You Tube.
Screencasting Jing
Other programs include Camtasia for Windows, Screenflow for Mac (my personal favourite, because it allows you to edit in screen) or even just Quicktime, which has a new recording feature.
Document Cameras are a form of webcam that plugs into your computer to allow you to record yourself writing and drawing on paper. This is similar to an overhead projector that you can either project on the wall while you are in class, or pre-record. This is very useful when it comes to doing things like drawing mind maps, diagrams, solutions to problems (exams, homework), annotation of documents or focusing on writing skills for literacy. You can also use these as a macro lens for viewing very small items on a large screen for close ups when the class is previewing items. You can use any web cam for this task and make your own tripod, or purchase one for a classroom, but the most economical and portable way to do this, is to use a Point-to-view camera (link). This will cost you about $80 (link) and comes complete with a mini tripod that allows you to direct the camera directly at the page that you are writing on, plug the camera in and record directly using software such as Quicktime.
You can capture a lecture given, either prior to the lecture or in class. An example is…. This is very easy to do, particularly if you have a mac, using keynote. When you play the keynote, instead of going to Play→Play Slideshow, you run the slideshow by going to Play→Record Slideshow. This will record your timing and progression through the slideshow and also your voice as you speak during the lecture. When you have finished, you simply go to File→ Export and use the settings on Image 4. The full process has been recorded and available on the link above. If you are using Powerpoint, the process is exactly the same, except instead of File–> Export, you need to go to file–> Make Movie.
Keynote recording


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