Teach without Talking! (Sort of)

No matter what the circumstance, sometimes we just…hate to talk. We hate to hear ourselves speaking for some reason, and it drives us (well, maybe just me) insane! But today, we are going to explore a technique where, if we don’t want to talk for that lesson, we can just have a pre-recorded version of the lesson and show THAT to the kids and catch up on, say, grading. Or sleep. Whichever.

I’m talking about screencasting, and it’s got to be the most valuable tool in a teacher’s toolkit if you don’t want to teach that day, or you would like the students to have access to the lesson itself outside of school. It would be most useful if, say, they didn’t really understand one part of the homework and wish they could remember what it was that you said during that one part of the lesson they decided to space out on. Well, if you make the screencast of the lesson/interactive activity available to them, then voila! It’ll be a cinch for them to actually “relive” the lesson, so to speak, but watching that video.

In this screencast, I show the user how to make a very simple hyperlink in a Powerpoint Presentation and how to link that…link to another slide in the document.


Like I stated before, screencasting is a great tool for students to have the lectures available outside of class should they need to review certain material or need clarification on a part of the homework that they couldn’t ask the teacher.

I personally would not use screencasting while I was teaching. I mean, I would use other people’s screencasts (I just Khan Academy frequently) but I would never use my own. Kudos to all those brave enough to anonymously grace the public ear with their bandwidth voice.

That’s it for now! Toodles~!

Featured Image courtesy of Adobe Spark.

LaTeX: Making Pi and You Look Prettier

I created a screencast about a very helpful STEM typesetting program called LaTeX.  I thought screencasting would be a helpful method for displaying this information because I could show some sample documents of LaTeX code and compare these to the final version in order illustrate how the coding process allows one to create such professional and well-formatted finished products.

I found CaptureSpace to be intuitive and easy to use.  I tried using the “draw” function to highlight certain parts of the screen while screencasting, which worked decently, save for slowing the video down a little and requiring extra time to erase the writing on the screen and turn the feature on and off.  I wager that this feature would come in handy particularly if I wanted to write math on the screen, for example.  I ended up making multiple takes to move more efficiently through my message and found it somewhat inefficient to have to re-record when I made a mistake.  However, in the end, I felt like the screencast turned out decently and conveyed the message I wanted.

From here, I envision using screencasting to create mini-tutorials similar to those on Khan academy: as supplements to class instruction or resources for students to explore extensions to material in class.  In a math class, rather than interrupting class to use technology, perhaps I would create a screencast to display what I would have in class so I can focus on the central material in class without losing the benefits of using technology as a visual supplement.

Featured Image: chucka_nc

An Ode to Not Answering the Same Question 1000 Times

I like the idea of building a set of classroom reference screencasts to answer questions that always come up. For example, how to correctly use semi colons, or how to use whatever program I’m asking them to work with. Slidecasts would also be ideal to for students who are absent, or, since I don’t lecture often, I could make them to review certain topics before a test. However, I will also have to put this information together in other ways so students without access to technology can view it. While it is a good resource that will save me some time, it’s not an ultimate solution.

I see many cool possibilities for student screencast assignments. Student how-to videos can potentially have a bigger impact on their classmates than teacher instruction, and students benefit not only from learning the content, but also up their tech literacy in the process. Language arts isn’t the most friendly subject for screen casting, but I could see grammar, research or figurative language explication topics working.

Despite all the good, there are some challenges around technology access that could potentially complicate the process. Screen casting necessitates a quiet space to record, and if everyone is in the classroom doing this with laptop cart computers, things are going to get pretty loud. Also, with the shift from Macbooks to Chromebooks in most schools, the quickest and easiest way to do this is no longer possible. In a school like mine, where there are no laptop carts, this is not going to be possible at all.  I think it’s a great tool, but may be better used as a project option than as a required activity for the whole class.

I made a screencast that explains how to use parenthetical citations in essays. I chose to do this because I am eternally doomed in Tartarus to answer this question over and over without a single student remembering what I say.  It was pretty easy to do, and I would definitely use this tech tool again for review or some short little explanation like this.

Featured Image Credit: Psychedelic / Abstract Cat by Callum Hoare on flickr


Inequalities with Desmos Graphing Calculator

I used CaptureSpace to record an instructional video on how to graph inequalities with Desmos graphing calculator.  I thought using CaptureSpace was a fairly straightforward process, which isn’t how I normally feel after using a program for the first time.  I was easily able to record my video and upload it to the UP media page.  In the future, I could see myself using a screencast to explain to students how to use technology, such as the Desmos graphing calculator or even certain functions on a Texas Instruments calculator.  I could also use it show mathematical proofs for things that I don’t have time to prove in class.  For example, if I want my students to know that the derivative of sin(u) is cos(u), but I don’t have time to show a formal proof in class, I could give them access to a screencast of me proving it.

One thing I don’t like about screencasting is how difficult it can be to fix mistakes.  For example, when I re-watched the embedded video, I realized that I made a mistake at the 1:33 mark – I said the circle had radius 4 when I meant to say that it had radius 2.  This was a small mistake, so I just let it slide for the purposes of this assignment.  However, if I was sharing a video with my students, I would not want them to be confused by a mistake on my part.  Therefore, I would probably have to go back and re-shoot the entire video just to fix one mistake.  And then if I noticed I made a mistake in the re-shoot, I might have to record yet again!

Featured Image: Sykez Tom

Poetry Annotation: The ‘Sickest’ Way to Read Poetry

For the life of me, I don’t know how I’ll integrate screen captures into my instruction, but at this point in time I think it’s worthwhile especially as more and more schools go 1-to-1 with devices. I wish this was usable on the iPad though.

You’ll definitely see how janky my control over the writing tool is as you watch my video, but I suppose that was a learning experience. So enjoy listening to my awful, sick voice try to explain annotation in a format that flat out does not work.


Featured image by Felix E. Guerrero

Stuck in a Slope? Let’s Find a Way to Intercept That and Get Out.

So, in the video below, I recorded a mini-review about the parts of y = mx + b, or slope-intercept form.  What I hope to achieve here is that people who watch it can get a better understanding of what and  are asking for when they look at y = mx + b.  I also hope for them to be able to plug the slope ( m ) and y-intercept ( b ) correctly into the formula if given those numbers and/or be able to tell which is the slope and which is the y-intercept if given the formula, like y = 4x – 5 for example.  In this case, they would find that m = 4 and b = -5.

After learning and messing around a bit with screencasting, I saw some benefits and a few struggles, but that can easily be overcome with perseverance and determination.  I am also very happy to finally figure out how those people on YouTube do those “How-To” videos that involve going from screen to screen.  Always thought that those people had a really good recording camera that was set up on some sort of amazing tripod and they created the video from there.

Anyways, the biggest benefit I can see is that screencasting can be very useful in filling in any holes that a lesson(s) could have had since, as we know, class time can be quite short (55 – 90 mins) and that not everything can be covered in that span of time.   Another benefit is that after the video is made, it is now a semi-permanent resource that can be accessed by one’s current students and future students if one was to teach the same lesson again.  Another benefit is that the application is easy and free to use (as far as I know) that one does not have to buy much equipment (except maybe a microphone).

The struggles I found are just some personal struggles that I feel like some people share with me.  One struggle is that, even with a script, one can still say too much or too little.  In other words, one can go off-script at times.  Another is that If one is really nit-picky about their recording, then he/she would probably restart every time he/she makes a mistake.  Another struggle is that the “attached” recording equipment can be faulty at times and one would not find out unless they do a test run or until the end, depending on the type of person one is:  “being prepared” or “power on through”.  I would make a new recording for the video down below, but I wanted to show where these struggles can pop up.  And like I said earlier, all of these can be remedied by staying determined and having the motivation to make a good lesson video for one’s students or for the people of the world.

So, I can see myself using this in the future definitely.  It was a lot of fun, though I did not enjoy hearing my own voice coming out of the speakers.  The idea of making these was challenging.  You know, making sure all the basis were covered, my “recording room” was quiet enough to record, my script was a draft of what I wanted to say (Reminder Points), and so on.

Enjoy the video! Hope you learned something or laughed at my mistakes!

Featured Image: Wikimedia


I did my screencasting assignment on showing how to do research from the UP databases. At first I wanted to do multiple videos, however that desire quickly changed. I realized how scattered that would be because doing research on the internet involves going back and forth to certain websites. So I decided to just make one long video that comes out to be roughly around 3 minutes. After a few takes, I realized how awkward I seemed to be while just being a voice while talking over a website. This was just something I had to get used to. Quicktime makes it incredibly easy due to its user-friendly-ness, so that helped out a lot.

I have learned that there is so much use in screencasting. I feel that I would have understood how to do research at UP if I just saw a ten minute video online on how to use the databases rather than going to an hour and a half class on how to research. Also, when trying to find my “embedded” code in order to put the video on this blog, I went to different videos on YouTube to see where the code was. The multiple advertisements I saw while searching for the code seemed to be all screencasted. It was here when I realized just how much everyone uses this tool. I think this is an immensely useful tool to use. I would definitely encourage teachers to know how to use screencasting because they can convey things to students via video in a much more applicable way than talking.

Here is my screencast video about doing research at UP!

Featured Image is called “Typewriter” by Charlene N Simmons

What is a Nearpod, you may ask?

Instead of Screencasting for my students, since earlier in the year my kids did a Screencasting activity for social studies, I thought I would screencast something that teachers could use in their practice that is related to technology.  Earlier in the year during a PD on Smartboard activities, I was introduced to this great website called Nearpod, which is a website that allows you to create interactive PowerPoint presentations that students follow along with on their own devices.  The one major hindrance for this resource would be that students would need their own device, like a Chromebook or an iPad in order to be able to participate in the lesson.

Nearpod is a great tool for increasing student engagement because there are lots of interactive slides that you can build into your lessons, while also teaching students any concept that you might come across in your curriculum. I just thought I would share it with you guys, especially those of you who are secondary and may use PowerPoints  a lot and are looking for a way to get your kids more engaged.  In my Screencast, I show the viewers what a Nearpod lesson looks like both from the perspective of a student going through a Nearpod lesson, as well as what a Nearpod lesson looks like from the perspective of a student.

As for Screencasting, like I said earlier, the tech coach at our school came in earlier in the year and taught our kids how to use Screencasting to talk about these PowerPoint presentations that they all put together on Google Slides that showed what they had learned about the Revolutionary War up to that point.  They then posted their Screencasts to some website that they all had access to using their district Google accounts that were then accessible by QR codes that their parents could scan with their phones during a Tech Night that the school hosted in December.  I would love to do another Screencasting activity with my students, I just don’t know when we will have time before I’m done student teaching.


Featured Image Wesley Fryer

What would I even use this for?

So Screencasting is something that I kinda sorta knew existed but never really bothered with it. Well, I finally bothered with it! I decided to mess around with Screencasting by teaching how to navigate a scientific research database. Looking back on my Biology Minor I really wish that one of my professors had told me how to navigate different research websites. Because of that it became my focus for practicing screencasting. Overall it was pretty intuitive on how to use it. In the beginning there is a bit of noise in the background so if I continue to use this I might want to invest in some sort of microphone.

My challenges are currently a lack of technology in my classroom. However in an ideal world I could see a couple uses for screencasting. I could teach my students how to use different applications like quizlet or edmodo which I both implement in my classroom. I could also show them different reliable and safe science websites.  By giving the students access to these videos they will be much more safe online and be exposed to routines that I implement in the classroom. This could free up valuable classroom instruction time, definitely a benefit!

I feel that I have only recently been exposed to screencasting so I really do not know all the opportunities that it could have for my future classroom but I plan on finding out!

Featured Image


Attribution: librarianpond