As I shifted through the article choices returned after a filtered search through our library site, I was surprised to see that even some of the most recent articles were already somewhat out of date. One such article for example, Screencasting for an Audience of One by M. Jacobsen, referenced tools such as Screenjelly-an application that has since become obsolete. So, with acknowledgment to the ever-changing world of technology, I decided to try to find something that would show what using a screencast could look like as opposed to a list of possible application tools.
Enter yet one more article, but this time one focusing on the use of screencasts in a social studies classroom; Cast from the Past: Using Screencasting in the Social Studies Classroom, written by researchers Catherine Snydera, Lawrence M. Paskabc & David Besozzid. The action research study follows a social studies educator as he uses screencasts in three ninth-grade World History classrooms. His goal was to increase student-centered learning while meeting the needs of as many learners as possible. What he found however, was an increase in student engagement, instruction in career and college technological skills, and facilitation of special education students’ needs. A feat that many find difficult, at best, due to the high demand placed on childhood education classrooms indicated by standardized testing requirements. But, the research did also note the identification of a few drawbacks as well….
The tool was used to present various information and students’ were then able to take notes at their own pace. They could pause, rewind, re-review later-it was like having the professor/teacher in their pocket when they needed him. Class time would be used to ask and discuss any questions as well as spend time on learning activities devoted to the topic. Many noted their appreciation for more activity in class, some realizing the greater learning that took place, and others just noting that it was more “fun”. A few still mentioned that they were not as excited about the extra homework they had as a result of the screencast integration, others even mentioned that they could have trouble accessing it while a few noted that they thought the screencasts were boring/non-interactive. But then, one has to wonder, what would their academic results have looked like in a traditional style classroom vs. this method? Do they simply learn better when in a traditional style classroom? OR, is this just new and different and the realization of how much more they ended up taking away from the class not really hit them yet? Hmmm….perhaps a point for further study….
I am inspired by what I found in this study and, while the example is in a high school vs. a higher learning environment, I would be remiss not to note that many childhood education programs are identifying ways to focus teaching on the student and their learning, vs. a the traditional behavioral methodology. So in this action learning (adult learning), flipped classroom/student-centered (adult learning), integrated classroom example I challenge anyone not to look at the methodologies and the insight that was used in this study and tell me how they can’t fit it to their own educational world. Give it a shot and be inspired by what technology might do for your classroom-as long as it is up-to-date 🙂