Monday Tech Minute [4/14/14] - Screen-capture

Every Monday morning, check this blog for three quick reasons to try out a new little piece of technology. These are all tech tips that I have used in class or that I am excited to try out very soon. If you missed last week's post about using Google Drive in the classroom, check it out here

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Monday Tech Minute - Screen-capture

The screen that you work with is a powerful thing on a computer. Often it becomes an ever-changing canvas on which you try to work your magic. Like art, sometimes one creates unadulterated sloppiness. But eventually, hopefully, mercifully, that sloppiness will occasionally turn into something that transcends; something, perhaps that can touch another person's life. 

And sometimes, you just need to show a student how to connect to their email account.

Either way, screen-capture is a technology that has become increasingly diverse and easy to use, so let's look at three ways that you can use this in a classroom setting. 

1. Simple instructions with images
This is a great place to start with screen-capture technology. Our fantastic tech specialist, Colleen McLain (@colleenmclain) uses this frequently to give teachers step-by-step guides to a new piece of technology or a new system. I have also used them with my class to give an example chapter outline using the CRISS strategy of turning headers into questions and then searching out those questions in the reading. You can look at the example I'm talking about here. I created this by snapping a few quick pictures of the pages that I wanted to focus on, taking a screen-shot of the specific header I wanted, and placing it like a picture into my document.

What I love here is that the student gets to see, in color, the details that I'm discussing with them as they learn a new skill. They can quickly follow the type of questions that I'm looking for - in this case DOK 1 and 2 level questions as they are doing a simple chapter outline. When students have questions, we are referencing the exact same point in the text as we converse. 

2. Labeling a map
OK, as a social studies teacher, this could be my favorite! It is so easy, through an add-on such as Jing or Smart Notebook, or through the Grab feature if you're using a Mac. I use Jing at school largely because it has both the capture feature and the ability to annotate an image quickly and easily. If you read my first Monday Tech Minute on using Google Maps, you saw a few examples. 

My class is finishing up a project on revolutions, so we are referencing the events going on in Ukraine often to provide a modern-day example. We'll be looking at the map below while we listen to an NPR interview to start our day today:

3. You can make your own videos similar to what you may find at Khan Academy
This is, in my opinion, where screen-capture technology is truly unleashed. If you're unfamiliar with Khan Academy at this point, check out their site here to see what I'm talking about. As cool as these videos are, they are also largely impersonal for the kids in your class. By using the screen-capture feature, you can record your computer screen and voice to create a simple instructional video like this one from last school year when I taught Physical Science:

Or you can give higher-thinking guidance to a group of students working on a project, like this video that guided my students through a debate question they had to prep for during the We The People competition:

Go try it out for yourself. Like Project-Based Learning, using screen-capture technology front-loads the work for the teacher. I promise that you'll appreciate the benefits of taking this time. 

Do you have a piece of technology that helps you teach or learn? Share it below in the comments section! Don't forget to check in again next Monday for another tech tip!

Love it? Hate it? Leave your thoughts below and let's talk about it!

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