Screencasting – presenting your screen

Photo: AMagill on Flickr (CC BY)

On Thursday, I ran a remote training session on screencasting. The session introduced screencasting (broadcasting your screen), its educational uses (narrated slides/lectures, on-screen demos, worked problems, feedback, digital storytelling…), screencasting tools (screenr, screenjelly, Jing, Camtasia Studioslideshare – not screentoaster as it’s on it’s last legs) and how to use them. Over the next few  weeks, we’ll be supporting participants in creating  their own screencasts, so it will be interesting to see what they produce and what problems they have to overcome.

If you want to know more about the session  my slidedeck is below, or if you’re really looking for a way to avoid doing any work, you can relive the session through the magic of elluminate. On that, despite seeming to go pretty well when done live, it isn’t the most enjoyable of viewing experiences (even controlling for the cringe factor of having to watch myself). Ideally, I’d produce a slicker, shorter narrated presentation and demo, but somehow I don’t think that will happen, which is a possible downside of recording more live stuff and simply reusing it for playback. It’s also remains a slightly odd experience to present remotely from an empty room.

Moving home is easy – a new blog

If you’re reading this in situ, then you might notice things look a little different around here. That’s because here is somewhere new as I finally took the plunge and setup a self-hosted WordPress install. I’ve happily used hosted blogs on and JISCinvolve for a few years. While these make blogging simple, I like to be able to customise the design, choose my own plugins, hack around with a bit of code – all of which are easier and more fun with your own setup. If you’re thinking about it too, the process was very straightforward. Once I had a domain, installation of WordPress really did only take 5 minutes. Adding and activating new plugins and themes is simple and quick too. Importing all my old posts from a backup took under a minute. Talking of which, I removed all those posts from my old blog and left a note that I’d moved over here, so as not to incur the wrath of google.

What did take far longer than all of this sorting out all my social media/network profiles that list my blog address, as well as a few places using manual <rel=”me”> links. A bit like moving home in the real world and remembering to update all your contact details. The changes haven’t been picked up by Google social graph yet, so I guess this real-time semantic web thing isn’t quite here yet?

JIF 2010

I’ve started preparing my session for the JISC Innovation Forum on how JISC projects can engage with their communities though social media and networking. I’m interpreting communities as including project team, other projects in the programme and the broader community, with that having implications for different approaches that are likely to work. I’m going to try my usual mix of evangelism and pragmatism, as while I think there are benefits for some projects, having done some programme support I’m also aware of the challenges projects face and the dangers of extrapolating from success for one project to make guidelines for all of them. I’m hoping to facilitate an open session where people can raise these issues, even if I don’t have all the answers. If you have any advice or experiences that I can share from your projects, I’d love to hear from you.

Boom and bust – cognitive surplus or deficit

Clay Shirky is doing rounds promoting his new book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. He is certainly an engaging speaker who tells a good story about the social meaning of technological developments. In this case, that the things many of us willingly do, create and share online, even the seemingly trivial, are helping to build a better, more cooperative world. It’s a powerful idea, but not everyone thinks it’s one that’s based on sound data or observation. So is there a place for this kind of storytelling based on what I’ve seen called ‘anecdata’? Watch the video and decide for yourself…

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