Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning – people online learning the same thing, at the same time. They are able to interact in real time by communicating through various chat systems.

On Saturday March 17. I participated in a Classroom 2.0 session which was a presentation by Chris Smith(Shamblesguru), and the topic was ‘Screencasting 101’.

Here is a link to the presentation, resources and recording of the ‘Screencasting 101‘ session if you would like to see how it went.

My thoughts on this experience:

  • The chat took place through a program called, ‘Blackboard Collaborate‘ which opened when you signed into view the presentation. The program had a layout for slides and a side bar with a chat. There was audio and options for speaking to others using a mic or video. The chat was moderated by the presenters and they were really good by posting links to what Shamblesguru was talking about.
  • At the beginning, they did a survey of the participants. I found this interesting because the results showed that: the majority of people were ages 50+, English was most people’s native language, most people used Windows over a Mac, and some people used both depending if they were at school or at home. The majority of teachers were in the adult learner category, followed by elementary and then middle years teachers. There was people all over the world participating, mostly from the US, but a few from Canada, and a couple from Saskatchewan. There was 76 people in this session on a Saturday – coming from all different time zones.
  • All of these facts about the participants showed me that you are never too old to continually learn, especially new technologies and that if you have a passion for teaching and learning with technology, that you will participate in these types of ‘professional development’.
  • Most people, including myself participated in answering questions and talking through the chat, and responding to questions asked by Shamblesguru.
  • The presentation showed us many tools to use for screencasting and defined a screencast as a digital recording of your computer screen, a video capture which often contains audio narration.
Some tips that I found important were:
  • Don’t screencast everything and don’t spend hours learning how to do it or perfecting your screencast
  • The best way to learn is to make screencasts with your students – let kids learn too, don’t do it all for them
  • Have students make and share screencasts of their learning
  • Content is more important than how the screencast looks
  • It is useful to storyboard your cast before you record it and to have tabs and windows accessible before you start
  • You can edit your cast, but you don’t have to

Some of the most popular screencasting tools are:

  • Screenr – you are limited to 5 minutes of recording and you need an account, but you could create one account for all of your students.
  • Screencast-o-matic – you can make casts up to 15 minutes for free, 60 minutes if you have an account, this site offers you an editor. The layout is functional, and you can add a webcam shot of you in the corner of your cast.
  • Camtasia – good program, you have to pay for an account, or you can use a free trial of the software.
  • Other tools are Screenflow, and Jing which doesn’t run over the internet


  • You can upload your screencasts to YouTube or host on the programs website. You can also download your screencast – which is good in case you are somewhere with out internet (it could happen).
  • Microphones – use a headset mic or a usb mic which are better than your computer’s mic.

It was a good session to be a part of. I’ve learned about some of the many tools out there that can be used to create a screencast and am now ready to try one myself. The only thing I might have liked to see was an actual example of the presenter recording a screencast. However, if you check out the resources from the session, there are examples which include the Prezi by Shamblesguru and a variety of resources, and links to screencasts that other’s have done already. This should all help you get started!



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