Several of my colleagues use Screenr to create podcasts. Tonight I tried it for the first time and it is very simple. You don’t need to create an account to begin recording. However, since I have a Twitter account, I logged in this way so I can organize any future podcasts. You can log in connected to Facebook, Yahoo and Google as well.
I used a USB headset to record my voice but you don’t need to have any fancy hardware. Most computers have a built-in microphone and that would work just fine. You just have to make sure to keep the area by your computer quiet or the microphone will pick up nearby sounds. By using a headset you have more control over the amount of sound in your recording. If you are going to purchase a headset I recommend a USB-type because the sound quality is better. In addition, look for a headset that has easy access to volume and mute controls, either along the cord or in the headpiece. You’ll find this very helpful.
Screenr prompts you to outline the area to record and once you do that you’ll see the countdown 3 – 2 – 1 and then you can begin recording. You can pause the recording, continue again, but when you are finished you choose DONE and you’ll see a preview of your podcast. At that point you can watch the video and decide whether to keep it or try again. When you are happy with the podcast you add a brief description and then you choose PUBLISH. The computer will take a few minutes to do this and presto, your podcast is ready to go. You can download the mp4 file, publish to YouTube and you can get the embed code to add to your blog or website.
I think that teachers could use this tool easily in the classroom. Teachers could post podcasts via their school website as support for students and parents at home. I recently heard someone suggest that teachers consider recording a podcast to leave for a supply teacher, either as supply plans or to be shown to students for a specific lesson. Ultimately, as with all technology, I recommend that students get involved. Students could collaborate and design podcasts to summarize or teach a topic as one way to demonstrate their learning. One thing you’ll need to remember, though, is that there is a 5 minute time limit for these visual podcasts. So if you think it will take longer than that, decide the best place to break your podcast into parts 1 and 2.
Here is my first podcast so you can see what it would look like. This is an introductory podcast on how to join an Elluminate webinar, the basics of the screen and how to log out.