Show and tell at the same time – screencasts

Computer screen in blue

Image CC by ampeddesgin from OpenClipArtLibrary

Have you ever needed to show someone, who wasn’t sat next to you, how to do something on a computer? This could be how to find certain things on a website, or how to search a particular library database. By using certain software to capture what’s on your screen, you can produce simple videos (screencasts) which can then be embedded into your library website. There are several benefits of this such as learning by visual and audio example, complicated processes more easily explained visually, ability to reach a wider audience than in person, and users being able to learn how to do something even if the library is closed.

Librarians particularly in college and university libraries have been making use of screencapture software to do this for a while now and I had the opportunity to make my own screencast recently in order to create a short presentation on social media and organisations for a training event I couldn’t attend.

Using screencast-o-matic I made a very short (20 seconds) test one which can be viewed here. (I made it at my desk in an open plan office so was speaking quietly and didn’t have a plan of what I was going to say!)

My presentation on social media and organisatins was also made using screencast-o-matic and I then uploaded it into Vimeo. Not only was it well received at the training event (brag brag, sorry!), but it can now be viewed and used again and again, which makes it an efficient use of resources. At 15 minutes long it is at the maximum of what the free screencast-o-matic software allows, and it is probably long for our now attention-drained cyborg nature (about two-four minutes seems to be the optimum time for YouTube videos, although this is disputed by some).

The timing of making this screencast was perfectly matched with it being the same week for me to learn about screen and audio casts on CPD23Things. If you’re interested in making screen or audio casts there are useful links on the 23Things blog post, and you could also check out JISC Digital Media’s useful pages on screencasts with an introduction to screencasting and screencasting workflow (it’s all in the planning).

A more detailed description of my learning and top tips can be found in my 23Things blog.

If you’re looking for examples of libraries using screencasts there’s a list on this American wiki (although some are dead links) or just search YouTube for library screencasts.

Now that I’ve got the screencasting bug I’m hoping to make some more – watch this space!

About alysontyler

Civil servant, yoga teacher and former librarian.
This entry was posted in Communication, Digital things, Presentations / talks, Screencasts, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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