For my product, I am analyzing two digital tools (YouTube and Google Drive) that can be used in for educational purposes in our classroom. I will look at the affordances and constraints found within both of these digital tools. I will be looking at the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning as it intertwines with Cognitive Load Theory and being mindful of both theories when utilizing YouTube. When discussing Google Drive, I will be reflecting on the principals of Vygotski’s Collaborative Learning Theory. These theories help navigate and discuss the affordances and constraints found within these digital tools. You can access the screencast here. In this post I will discuss the process of using Screencast-O-Matic for this product and a brief analysis of the constraints, affordances, and uses of this technology in the classroom.
My product is made using Screencast -O-Matic (a combination of screen recorder and video editor) through Google Chrome. This tool gives you the option of recording the screen, yourself, or both. Screencast-O-Matic can be used to make recordings for students or create how-to videos (like teaching your students how to set up a gmail account). The Screencast-O-Matic is accessible for both Macs and PCs, but it does take some time to download (especially if you have to download Google Chrome first – Mac users this is you) so plan accordingly. Once you have it, it gets easier to use each time. This tool is worth using because of the link to Google, accessibility, easy to use, and it is easy to share your videos with others. Within the product, I focus on two other digital tools: YouTube and Google Drive, and I discuss and analyze their constraints and affordances within the classroom.
Screencast-O-Matic was the best tool to use for this product because it allowed me to show you the tools, navigate the tools a little with you, and use my voice to discuss and analyze the tools with you. Figuring out which tool to use was not an easy task, but it is important to find tools that have a purpose in being used. This products takes us on a tour of two digital tools and analyzing the affordance and constraints within each of them that can be beneficial or cause trouble in using it for educational purposes. In the video, I mention that YouTube can be a distraction (with kids being on it in class-which they shouldn’t be but it does happen). This tool that is being used in the classroom for educational purposes can also be used to distract students – that is a reality we have using technology in our classes, but the benefits definitely outlay the “what-ifs.”
Screencast-O-Matic affords me to be able to talk, show, and give examples during my presentation. Screencast-O-Matic can also let you show yourself to your viewers which provides a personal and social touch even when discussing more academic materials. Some more affordances of this tool is its ability to help one communicate clearly with others through recordings and editing the video in order to make it better quality. During my video, I walk you through (show you some aspects of) each tool giving an overview of the constraints and affordances; then, I use theories to help analyze these affordances and constraints and how the tool can be used in the classroom.
Some constraints are that you are only able to see what is on the screen and you cannot change from little you in the corner to bigger you in the center during the video (mine wouldn’t show me at all for some reason). So, if I have a good bit to say, the students may just be staring at the screen for too long and losing interest. If you notice, on the YouTube part of the video, there was little navigation and mainly me talking. It would have been better if I could have made myself full screen when I was not navigating a page in order to help keep attention on me rather than a screen that isn’t doing anything. Another constraint is the 15min max time. This is a good and bad thing. Bad-you have a lot to say and you get cut off. Good-the students have a limited capacity of information they can take in and actually retain in a class. This max time helps us as teachers to be mindful of this and make sure our information is the vital parts.
In this past weeks readings of Jones and Hafner, Understanding Digital Literacies, I came across the term cultural tools. My initial thought was that I had never thought about the tools we use as being a part of our culture, but they most definitely are. Think about the silver ware we use versus the utensils being used by other people in countries all over the world. Some may use the same but others have their own tools. After reading through the text, my next thought was the establishment of technology as cultural tools as well. These tools are an “extension of ourselves.” Whether we are using Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, Google Drive, or any other technology, it is a cultural tool that helps us do something we couldn’t do or would have to do differently without it. Jones and Hafner wrote, “The ability to use such tools, according to Vygotsky, is the hallmark of human consciousness.” This means that these cultural tools make us smarter because ignorer to use them, we have to learn how to navigate them first, and that is what we are doing here.
Using the Screencast-O-Matic technology in the classroom gives us the opportunity to change the location of our classes if need be. Imagine no more make-up snow days! This tool allows us to go about our day (as long as the power lines cooperate) and continue our lessons from the computer. Utilizing this tool for an assignment is also a good way to include the technology in the classroom. Jones and Hafner discuss digital literacies and how literacy is both cognitive and social. Thus, digital literacy is the same. It is great being able to know the technical terms and navigation of a digital too, but digital literacy is achieved through making a effort to utilize the tools in the social world. Allowing students to use Screen-O-Matic (or YouTube or Google Drive) invites them to participate in the social engagement and developing digital literacies.
Making a screencast can help students master the material. A fun project could be assigning students to create a screencast that shows them explaining a process or material to their peers in a creative way. Let them choose how they will display the information on their screen, but they will be teaching it to the class. This provides the students with more time with the material, fosters learner independence, and encourages critical thinking. A final positive take away: presentations are done online through Screencast-O-Matic which helps save time in class. One advice I would have for teachers using this method (Screencast-O-Matic as the presentation): be sure to provide feedback to their presentation and also think about creating an area where other students have to make comments or notes on the presentations as well.
What ways would you use Screencast-O-Matic in your class?