If you have a Smartboard or a Promethean board then you already have the software to allow you to make screencasts. A screencast is a way of capturing everything that you do on a computer screen with audio narration, and save it as a movie file to share later.

By using this technique you could run through a presentation and capture it with your own voice over the top. It could allow teachers to record parts of a lesson, or to create revision guides. If coupled with the interactive whiteboard it would also record all your handwritten annotations as well. You’d need a longer microphone lead, or you could plug a USB microphone into the USB port on some newer smartboard models.

Even better, you could get pupils to create their own screencasts to demonstrate what they know.

I used the Smart Recorder bundled with Smart Notebook to record my lesson starters talk the other week.

Here’s an example of a screencast produced by a teacher to demonstrate mathematic principles, it comes from the Mathademics YouTube Channel:

In Smart Notebook

Look for the small blue/white Smart Notebook Icon in your system tray, or look in Start -> Programs -> Smart Technologies -> Smart Notebook -> Smart Recorder (or similar path)

The Smart Recorder tool will open and look like this:

By clicking on the narrow button next to the record button you can choose whether to record the whole desktop,  a chosen area or a chosen window, depending on what you want to demonstrate.

Hitting the record button will start the recording. Hit the stop button when done and it will ask you for a filename and save the file. Still need help? Here’s a guide I found.

In Promethean ActivInspire

From the Promethean Toolbar click on Desktop tools.

This will minimize the ActivInspire software and leave the small floating tools icon. Click on this to open it up and select the screen recorder tools. Again you can choose whether to record the whole screen or a chosen area.

What to screencast?

Using the screen recorder tool, pupils could:

  • Make audio stories – move clipart characters on the “stage” of an IWB page to tell a story.
  • Explain how they carried out a particular piece of work
  • Make revision guides
  • Produce instructional guides
  • Make a tourist guide to their area combined with Google Maps / Street View
  • Role play in a foreign language

and much more.

In both cases the recorded screencast can be used as-is, or could be edited in video editing software such as Movie Maker to add other elements before being published. Upload to YouTube to share with the world, or put onto the school Learning Platform / VLE to share with a smaller audience.

There are other pieces of software out there that will do screencasting, but if you already have one of these two boards you should already have something on your computer which, for free, will do the same job!