[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="290"] Camtasia 2 from Techsmith is an easy to use tool for creating screencasts.[/caption]
One of the things I have come to understand this year is that our kids live in a DVR/Netflix kind of a world. What I mean by that is that the concept of "It's not on right now" is not a part of their mindset. One of my educational technology gurus Steve Dembo from Discovery Education shared this once during a talk and it got me thinking. If I wasn't in front of a TV at 8:00 PM on Friday night, I missed the Dukes of Hazzard. This was even before the days of watching my dad fight with the VCR to set the timer. If I didn't see something when it aired, it was gone. This isn't true for us now or our kids. There are a number of ways to see programs they didn't see originally air or just want to see again.
I have begun to try and find ways I can turn my teaching more into this reality. On MrLosik.blogspot.com you will find an increasing number of screencasts I have made and will continue to make for our different lessons. We know that a child's attention span in minutes is their age plus 2. In other words a Kindergartener has an attention span of seven minutes (5+2) and a fifth grader has an attention span of roughly thirteen minutes (11+2). By recording a screencast, students can replay, rewind, and fast forward through the lesson to review parts where they may have lost concentration or just need to see it again. I have had a number of students tell me they have used the screencasts at home and that it is helping. I also have been studying the traffic on the blog. We are at nearly 190,000 page views and the vast majority are coming not only away from school but away from Hamilton. It is great to know other kids and teachers across the country and globe are finding this a useful resource.
(I have found Camtasia 2 for the MAC to be an easy to use tool for my screencasting needs.)