Thursday, March 1, 2018

Screencasting Using a Smartphone

Last semester, I played around with having students create a screencast using their smartphones. In Latin 1, my colleague Bob Patrick had designed a very basic presentational speaking unit involving some Latin phrases and sayings. At the end of the unit, students had to choose one of the phrases, draw a picture of it, and then to present to the class what phrase they chose, why they liked it, and where they found an example of this phrase from one of the stories which we had read that semester. It was a very basic script which they were following, and the presentations lasted less then 45 seconds, since they only had a semester of Latin.

I was wanting to experiment some with the presentational aspect of the unit and decided to have students screencast their "presentation" for me. Here is what I assigned, in addition to directions for how one can screencast from a smartphone.

Latin 1 Presentational Speaking Directions
  1. Record yourself “delivering your presentation” on your device. For this, you will do a screencast. The recording will be of your picture, with you narrating the three sentences. Your recording will be no longer than a minute.
  2. You will be speaking your three sentences IN LATIN, so please practice saying these sentences aloud and slowly.
  3. Using your device, take a picture of the picture which you have chosen to present. Take a horizontal picture if possible.
  4. Create a screencast of your picture on your phone - You can use Snapchat or see "To Screen Record from IOS 11" directions below.
  5. Save the recording to your device's photo album.
  6. Submit your recording in the Latin 1 eClass “Sententiae” dropbox
To Screen Record from IOS 11
  1. To set it up, head over to your Settings>Control Center>Customize Controls>Screen Recording. Tap on the green "plus" icon next to it to add it to the Control Center.
  2. Show your picture on your device’s screen.
  3. Swipe your screen so that the control panel is now showing.
  4. Press on the screen recording icon for 5-10 seconds until you see a pop-up screen. 
  5. Tap the red Microphone Audio icon at the bottom of the screen. Now, you’ll record your screen, as well as the audio from and around your iPhone.
  6. Press the record button AND swipe away the control center screen so that your picture is showing - you have three seconds before recording begins.
  7. A red bar will show at the top, signifying that recording has begun. Narrate your three sentences with the picture on your screen.
  8. Tap the red bar when you are done. Press STOP to finish recording.
  9. Your screencast is now saved to your photo album.

Example of students' screencasts

  1. While I know that there are websites and apps such as Flipgrid which allow students to upload videos/screencasts of themselves, most of them require payment. At this moment, I am not interested in spending money for these apps/websites just yet.
  2. Although the screencasts which students created were quite rudimentary since it was my first time doing something like this, I can see students creating screencasts in the target language for very short formative presentations.
  3. Students liked creating a screencast to deliver their presentations, because they said that they would have been nervous delivering a presentation (even though less than 45-seconds with a script) in Latin to the class. They did not feel nervous at all creating a screencast.
  4. Since the students were turning in their screencasts to me and not presenting in front of the class, ideally I would have liked to have housed their presentations somewhere online for students to watch, to comment, etc. so that these screencasts had an actual audience. However, as we did this unit at the end of the semester right before finals, I ran out of time to do something like this.
  5. Those students who did not have access to a smartphone delivered their presentations to me one-on-one.
  6. Many student had never created a screencast on their smartphones and remarked how easy it was to do and that they wish that they could do more of this in their other classes. 
  7. There are some IOS compatibility issues with posting these screencasts on sites like YouTube and even here on Blogger, so unfortunately, screencasting on a smartphone is not 100% without its problems. I hope that these problems will be fixed with iOS 12.

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