The Value of Screencasting

Building on our recent digital artifacts discussion I thought we might take a minute to look at the value of using screen casting in the classroom.  When I first learned about screen casting my initial thought was “what a great tool to use in math!”  I began to create quick tutorials for students to help them learn concepts and strategies.  These were shared on our website so that any student (or parent) who needed to could access them.  I would use QR codes on class charts to provide quick access to certain tutorials and make the charts come alive.  And all of these things were great, but…

I was starting to feel like my own little Khan academy.  Sure it was personalized to our curriculum and the learning we were doing directly in class.  But I  couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that this was a tool that should be in the hands of STUDENTS!

You see, unless you can sit and watch kids solve and think through problems there are essential pieces of information that you miss.  I would look at papers and see erasure marks, sometimes down to holes in the paper, and wonder what process had taken place to get the student to the end goal.  Where was their understanding breaking down?   If they caught a mistake in their process how and why and when?  I thought perhaps if I could get them screen casting that I would have answers to these questions and I could be a better math teacher.  In the end, I was right.

Let’s look at an example of a screen cast from a former student of mine.  In this screencast she is doing something that we call an “interactive” screencast.  This is where the student is creating the screen cast for an audience and is tasked with engaging the audience to solve the problem, then provide an explanation as to the correct answer.  It’s one of the many formats we brainstormed as a class so that students understood that screen casting is not just a digital quiz to be turned into the teacher, but that we often have different purposes and audiences for creating them.

As you watch think:

  • What does this student already know?  What is she able to do?
  • What questions do you have about her process?  What do you assume she had done mentally that we don’t see?
  • What evidence do you see that she understands the concept?  At what level does she understand it?  (Is there evidence that her understanding goes beyond just being able to apply an algorithm?)
  • What feedback would you give this student about her screencast?  About her math process?
  • What are some next steps for this student?

We’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments!


4 thoughts on “The Value of Screencasting”

  1. Very fun for the girl to create a girl on the page to make it more personal for the screencast. Also, I like how the girl had done an introduction to the screencast to let you know what you would be watching. What program did you use for the screencast?


  2. There was evidence that the student knew about numerators and denominators (she didn’t actually say the word denominator). She knew that to multiply fractions you needed to multiply numerators together and then the “unders” together to get the answer.
    She didn’t mention that 8/2 was equal to 4, in fact she may have read it as 2/8 or two eighths at first. She did know that 8/8 was one whole in its simplest form.
    I would ask my students to think about and explain what multiplication actually is. One point that could be mentioned is that it is repeated addition e.g. in this case it could be said that the problem involved working out the total if we calculate 4 groups of 1/4 or 1/4+1/4+1/4+1/4=1. This is made easier because 8/2 is actually a whole number. To do it like this, the student would also need to be aware that 1/4×8/2 is the same as 8/2×1/4 in the same way that 3×2=2×3
    It is not so easy to think this way when both numbers are actually fractions. e.g. 1/2×3/4 =
    I would like to see a diagram of what is happening. I would also like to hear the use of the word “of” e.g. one half OF three quarters.
    Soon I’d ask if anyone can see a short cut that ALWAYS gives the correct answer.
    I am confident that someone will see it.
    I am not sure whether the student understands the concept of multiplication of fractions or just knows the quick way to get the answer


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