2 Definitions and background
The specific term ‘screencasting’ was coined by Jon Udell in 2004 (Sugar, Brown & Luterbach, 2010). In its most basic form, a screencast captures the actions performed on a user’s computer screen, generally accompanied with voiceover narration, and transforms it into a single movie file (Yee & Hargis, 2010). In a screencast, the instructor records the screen activities, movements and mouse clicks necessary to complete a specific task (Sugar, Brown & Luterbach, 2010). Given the fact that screencasts are usually narrated during the recording process, they aim to reach the individualized needs of students through a multimedia demonstration that accommodates different teaching and learning styles (Trail and Hadley, 2010). Screencasts are a familiar tool used on the Internet for a wide range of training and instruction (Shafer, 2010). One common use of screencasting is to provide a step by step explanation and demonstration of tutorials of software packages. (Lee, Pradhan & Dalgarno, 2008). Another widely adopted use of screencasts is in recording the didactic components of instruction or lectures and making them available to students in various digital formats (Guerrero, Baumgartel, Zobott, 2013). Finally, Palaigeorgiou and Despotakis (2010) assert that screencasts also provide an alternative note-taking option to students as well as a platform for learning exercises and questionnaires.
Screencasting is an online tool that has endless possibilities for distance education students (Peterson, 2007) and this technology provides an easy and affordable way of creating multimedia instructional materials that are motivating, authentic and applicable in various educational settings (Palaigeorgiou & Despotakis, 2010). Another affordance of this technology is that students can download lectures on their portable devices that they can view anytime or anywhere and they can easily review notes and concepts while studying for exams (Guerrero, Baumgartel & Zobott, 2013). Additionally, screencasts can be viewed on many different platforms because they can be created using a variety of formats and, when they are edited and thoughtfully planned out, the concise nature of the information being presented makes great use of the student’s time (Lee, Pradhan & Dalgarno, 2008). Sugar, Brown & Luterbach (2010) affirm that “the combination of sound and images within a screencast enhances online learners’ experiences compared to the more traditional text format and can be a powerful method of communicating content in an online setting” (p.3).
Instructors benefit from screencasting technology because it allows them to support students when they are at home, especially when synchronization issues arise in the regular classroom (Palaigeorgiou & Despotakis, 2010). Students prefer asynchronous learning and reviewing materials on their own time thus providing the added benefit of more classroom time for individual and group activities as well as interactive discussions (Yee & Hargis, 2010). Screencasts have also been shown to reduce the demands on their instructors because they can be used to respond to student questions or email inquiries, saved, and sent to other students having the same questions (Peterson, 2007).
There is evidence that screencasting improves learning and it has become quite easy to use this technology because of the emergence of improved screencasting software that is readily available for free on the internet (Mathieson, 2012). Tekinarslan (2013) also confirms that screencasting technology enhances learning compared to traditional instructional methodologies and Smith and Smith (2012) posit that “students across all academic levels demonstrated an increase in knowledge acquisition and transfer when using their teacher’s screen-capture instructional multimedia” (p.224). Screencasts are sometimes used to understand the writing process because they provide a step by step digital record of a student’s progress and work (Seror, 2013) and this technology is also currently used in classrooms to create authentic assessment opportunities, increase student motivation, and to promote higher order thinking. (Richards, 2012). Finally, screencasting empowers learners when they create a learning activity using this technology. They become actively engaged in their learning when they plan, collaborate, create content and record a screencast to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the outcomes being taught (Shafer, 2010).
The lack of instructional support that generally accompanies the use of screencasts leads to increased student confusion and the weaker students tend to spend too much time on passive activities or playing with software tools that are simply not important and that do not contribute to their learning (Lee, Pradhan & Dalgarno, 2008). Another constraint associated with this technology is that the proper editing and development of a screencast is a time-consuming endeavor (Mohamad, Ahmad, Samsudin & Hassan, 2011). A lack of preparation and quality editing can lead to screencasts that are boring therefore they must include relevant component processes that encourage students to produce, apply and retain the knowledge in a motivating context (Palaigeorgiou & Despotakis, 2010).
Given that screencasting is a relatively new technology, there is a very limited field of research about how it impacts on teaching and learning (Richards, 2012). Therefore, there is a succinct need to develop a better understand of the relationship between screencast design and the learning process and the design must be based on current research findings instead of teacher preferences (Mohamad, Ahmad, Samsudin & Hassan, 2011).
The most obvious challenge or drawback associated with screencasting is that it is not an interactive process and, in a recent study on the topic of screencasting, participants clearly stated that a more interactive educational experience would improve their ability to remember procedures and information (Veronikas, & Maushak, 2005). Similarly, Palaigeorgiou & Despotakis (2010) maintain that observational learning associated with screencasting requires a student to replicate what they see on the screen however the long-term retention and transferability of this knowledge is being questioned because of students’ poor performance on post-tests.
Teachers who use screencast technology must use a student’s perspective to increase student engagement and interest and account for the differences in cognitive ability of their students (Mohamad, Ahmad, Samsudin & Hassan, 2011). In the end, teachers must be vigilant with their use of this particular technology because some content and application skills can be developed through the use of screencasting yet some content cannot and should not be taught with screencasting (Veronikas & Maushak, 2005).
6 Works Cited
Fernández-Toro, M., Furnborough, C. (2104). Feedback on feedback: Eliciting learners responses to written feedback through student-generated screencasts. Educational Media International, 51(1), 35-48.
Guerrero, S., Baumgartel, D., Zobott, M. (2013). The use of screencasting to transform traditional pedagogy in a preservice mathematics content course. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 32(2), 173–193.
Lee, M., Pradhan, S. & Dalgarno, B. (2008). The effectiveness of screencasts and cognitive tools as scaffolding for novice object-oriented programmers. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 7(1), 61–80.
Mathieson, K. (2012). Exploring student perceptions of audiovisual feedback via screencasting in online courses. American Journal of Distance Education, 26(3), 143-156.
Mohamad, A., Ahmad, Z., Samsudin, K. &Hassan, M. (2011). Does screencasting teaching software application need narration for effective learning? Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(3), 76-82.
Palaigeorgiou, G., Despotakis, T. (2010). Known and unknown weaknesses in software animated demonstrations (Screencasts): A study in self-paced learning settings. Journal of Information Technology Education, 9, 81-98.
Peterson, Elaine. (2007). Incorporating screencasts in online teaching. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 8(3), 1-4.
Richards, R. (2012). Screencasting: Exploring a middle school math teacher’s beliefs and practices through the use of multimedia technology. International Journal of Instructional Media, 39(1), 55-67.
Seror, J. (2013). Screen capture technology: A digital window into students’ writing processes. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 39(3), 1-16.
Shafer, K. (2010). The proof is in the screencast. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 10(4), 383–410.
Smith, J., Smith, R. (2012). Screen-capture instructional technology: A cognitive tool for designing a blended multimedia curriculum. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(3), 207-228.
Sugar, W., Brown, A & Luterbach, K. (2010). Examining the anatomy of a screencast: Uncovering common elements and Instructional Strategies. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 11(3), 1-20.
Tekinarslan, E. (2013). Effects of screencasting on the Turkish undergraduate students & apos: Achievement and knowledge acquisitions in spreadsheet applications. Journal of Information Technology Education, 12(1), 271-282.
Trail, M. A., & Hadley, A. (2010). Assessing the integration of information literacy into a hybrid course using screencasting. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning 6 (3): 647–654.
Veronikas, S. & Maushak, N. (2005). Effectiveness of audio on screen captures in software application instruction. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 14(2), 199-205.
Yee, K. & Hargis, J. (2010). Screencasts. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 11(1), 9-12.