Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Screencasting, video tutorials, screen recording... it what you like but the practice of recording what you do on your computer and making it available online is really beginning to become more widely used. I've been tracking things over the past couple of years - in addition to doing it myself and I've amassed quite a few bookmarks that mostly just sit there and get looked at by me when I need them. So, I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favourites.

First, best to start off with the software for screencasting in the first place. I use Camtasia 5.1 (now it's at 6.0) but am aware that lots of other people like Captivate (more bells and whistles?). Then we've got free apps like Wink (not bad) or Camstudio (the first one I ever used) or a new player called ScreenToaster (which I first saw on demogirl). Can't forget Jing (ahead of its time?) either of course. There's more on the wiki page but that's not exhaustive either. You get the idea; the tools are out there, take your pick.

Where did the term 'screencast' come from? If you believe the web then it's Jon Udell and in this case I've no reason do doubt it. However, maybe it should be Deeje Cooley we all thank.

What do people do with it all? Well, all sorts really. Demonstrating software for promotional purposes on YouTube (ArcGIS 9.3), creating training DVDs like KnowGIS (I've got it - very high quality), archiving tens of thousands of videos some of which are free (there's a lot here!), and the Idaho State Tax Commission also have their own take on screencasting GIS (I'm not making this up (but I am particularly proud of this find) - see). Not forgetting the web's uber-tuber demogirl herself (shameless promotion I know but it's a very useful blog).

What do I do with it and why am I into screencasting? I record software skills with voiceovers to help students learn and I'm into it because it works. It works very well, if it's done correctly. I'm now in the process of trying to widen my audience but that's for another blog. I hope with all the new capabilities that the method will be more widely available and that it won't just be techie-nerds who do it. Enough.