Pencasts: Bringing the Whiteboard Lecture to Blackboard
Pencasting-the act of sharing uploaded handwritten pages and
audio recordings as a single interactive file.
Pencasts are playable from the beginning like a video file, or a student can click on a specific area on the page to pick up with the lecture at that very point. Viewers also have the option to download the pencast as a PDF making them accessible to a wide variety of learning styles and student needs. The best way however to explain a pencast is to see one. Visit http://goo.gl/YCDF7 to view a pencast on how to make sushi.
For instructors, creating a pencast is as simple as writing lecture notes in a special notebook with a Livescribe pen while speaking. The Livescribe pen records the writing and the audio at the same time which allows the recorded lecture to play back precisely along with the audio and visual in tandem. Instructors may tap anywhere in the notebook to review what they have said and when the pencast is made available, students have the ability to click on the playback screen exactly where they want the lecture to pick up.
Livescribe pens are available from the Livescribe website and Best Buy. Costs range from $119 for a 2G pen up to $229 for the 8G pen with pro-pack. Additionally, there are several applications that can be downloaded to the pen upgrading it from a recording device to a learning aid.
Making recorded content available to students takes just a few minutes and links to recorded pencasts can be added to Blackboard. Some items to consider that will improve the quality of your recordings are:
- Practice-It takes a few runs to become smooth with the content.
- Script-It helps if you are well versed in presenting the content or if you have a script to work from. Scripting your presentations will make them run more like a tutorial than your live class lectures.
- Pre-draw large diagrams-You can pre-draw some of the content with the pen but without turning on the Recording feature. The pre-drawn image will then be available for viewing (like in the sample link above) allowing you to further write and lecture on the page while adding to the drawing.
- Keep recordings short-It is better to create several shorter videos than one super long one because of the potential for technical issues and ease of fixing errors of content.
Pencasts are an excellent way to provide supplemental content to a statewide online course or enhance a face-to-face offering. Providing students with pencasts allows them to review content at their pace and allows instructors another way to provide recorded lecture content when a class must be missed.
* image source: www.livescribe.com/
*Tips derived from an article with the Frederick County Public Schools: http://sites.fcps.org/trt/sites/default/files/LiveScribe/8%20Tips%20to%20Improve%20Pencasts.pdf