Whether you want your local students to have a way of meeting outside of the classroom, your distance learning students to remotely collaborate in their study groups or for you to conduct seminars online or have one-on-one conferences with your research students, the technology available to us today affords us with many free and easy solutions that connect people, and that allow for the sharing of videos and images as well as text and sound. The types of technologies focused on here are screen capture, screencast and screen share technologies along side video conferencing applications. These types of tools are more and more often being bundled together – so teach yourself what each technology does so that you can decide which ones are important to you.
In this post, I’m not going to go into great detail about the ways in which you could apply these technologies within an educational context. Instead, my intention is to build an evolving list of resources to which you can refer each time you find yourself looking for a new way to connect with your students (or to have them connect with each other).
Because the technologies below can seem similar to one another at first glance, it’s important to have as clear an idea as possible about what you want the technology to do for you. If you’re not sure exactly what it is you’re looking for, browse through the list and start to develop a familiarity with the capabilities of the tools. To help you get comfortable with their features, I’ve included links to demo videos and/or tutorials where they are available.
Just to clarify for those of you who might be unclear about the difference between Screen Capture vs. Screencast vs. Screen Share tools:
Creating a screen capture (a.k.a. ‘screenshot‘ or less eloquently as a ‘screen dump‘) is basically the process of taking a static (still) photo of your screen (great content to add to help documents and other instructional material that mix text with images). A screencast is a way for you to capture moving images (videos) of what you see on your screen and share them with other people so that they can see what you see (useful for demonstrating tools or for giving overviews of resources and course websites to distance learning/remotely located students). Participating in a screen share means to either have access to someone else’s computer or to give access to the other members of your group (lots of security issues arise in this scenario, but some people find the function useful).
Screen Capture / Screencast
Video Conference / Screen Share
And remember, if you’re a MAC user, you can easily take quick pictures (screen shots) of any part of your screen by simply pressing COMMAND SHIFT 4 and highlighting the area you want to capture. A .png file of your selection appears neatly on your desktop.
Have I missed a tool you want to share with others? Add a comment and let me know!