Information Overload. We all have it. Including our students. One of my goals as a Teacher-Librarian here at LSS is helping students to work smarter, not harder. That being said, one thing I am interested in is helping students to find alternatives to Google as their first stop for research – alternatives like the library catalogue for books on their topic, or our excellent SD35 online databases. While choosing Google seems easier initially, wading through the results with an eye for accuracy and authority can be extremely time consuming. Getting the word out about professionally reviewed library resources can be challenging though. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some teachers and their classes here in the library, but lots of students may never step foot in the library or, if they do, I may not have the chance to work with them. That’s why I’ve decided to try a new approach to encouraging students to use these library resources from school or from home: screencasting.
Having said that, a successful screencast requires planning and rehearsal. That is truly the hardest part of the process. In my case, because I was aiming for a screencast series, I spent quite a bit of time brainstorming how I wanted to organize and structure the screencasts to start with. I also did some reading about what makes a good screencast and decided that the following tips were the ones I would focus on as I embarked on this experiment:
- Write a script, or at least an outline of a script. Know what you’re going to say.
- Practice your script. Yes, really. It helps a lot, and will help you avoid deal-breaking mistakes, frustration and too many ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’.
- Keep it as short as possible – try not to overload or bore your audience. My goal was a 5 minute maximum per screencast.
- Control distractions: i.e. a cluttered desktop, competing sounds, unintentional mouse movement.
- Open with an introduction and close with a summary.
- Be confident and animated, but don’t speak too quickly.
1. Via our school’s Saints app (which pushes out notifications to students who have signed up for it…and lots of students have)
2. As a link on the LSS Library website
3. As a link on the LSS website’s main page
It remains to be seen how successful this experiment will be. How many students (and staff) will view it? I honestly don’t know. But I can track the number of views I get on Vimeo, and I can also get feedback through comments there. I also welcome your constructive feedback on what you see since I plan to do a series of screencasts in future.
I’m looking forward to seeing how many people view these screencasts and finding out what impact these screencasts will make on library resource usage in the coming year.
- Alyssa Gregory’s “15 Handy Tips for Recording Engaging Screencasts” http://www.sitepoint.com/tips-for-recording-screencasts/
- Conan Heiselt’s “59 Tips for Creating Engaging Screencasts” http://blogs.techsmith.com/tips-how-tos/59-tips-creating-engaging-screencasts/
- Since most people reading this aren’t teacher-librarians, I thought you might want to check out this website for some ideas, tips, and tools for using screencasts in your classroom: Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything Website: “Screencasting in the Classroom” http://www.schrockguide.net/screencasting.html
- Here's How: Screencasting with Quicktime (a screencast on how to make a screencast!)