I have been looking forward to learning about screencasts!

Will Richardson (2010) writes that screencasting, “…involves capturing what you or your students do on the computer with an audio narration to go with it” (p. 123). I always appreciate the option of a narrated step-by-step guide when learning to use a new tool, and was curious about creating my own. I wanted to create a screencast to show my students how to use Xtranormal, an online animated-story generator. 

I’ve never made a screencast before, so I was unsure where to begin, other than that Joanne and Jenn had mentioned Jing as a tool for creating them. So began a series of hiccups and aha moments, along the road to my first Jing screencast, which I managed to complete today!

The following is a rundown of my experience using Jing and Screencast.com for the first time, told in oldie-but-goodie “Oh, that’s bad.. Oh, that’s good” fashion.

  • The first hurdle was downloading the program, which I was unable to do on my computer at work, due to administrative restrictions. (Oh, that’s bad.)
  • I put in a work ticket, and our IT department downloaded it for me. (Oh, that’s good!)
  • It was a bit late for me to work on my project at work. (Oh, that’s bad.)
  • I decided to install the program on our home computer. (Oh, that’s good!)
  • It turned out that the process was a bit cumbersome, requiring a preliminary installation of another program, a reboot, a download and registration on yet another site, Screencast.com, a DNA test… OK – not really quite that far. (Oh, that’s bad.)
  • I got through the rather complicated process, and managed to get the program working. (Oh, that’s good!)
  • My laptop microphone is not wonderful, making the audio in my screencast sound somewhat like I was recording from another room, from inside a paper bag. (Oh, that’s bad.)
  • But the site offered good tutorials, and the program was easy to use, so I made my first screencast in under 20 minutes! (Oh, that’s good!)
  • Creating the screencast was simple enough, but figuring out how to save, upload and access it proved sightly more complicated. For some reason, screencast.com kept bringing up error messages and closing, and finding the URL to link to the screencast was akin to finding a needle in a small town with no map. (Oh, that’s bad.)
  • Finally, I located the URL, sent it to myself via email, and it appears to have worked! (Oh, that’s great!)

I look forward to sharing it with my kiddies next week, as they learn to use Xtranormal. I was wrestling with the initial idea I had for the students to use it as a way to reflect on a field trip we will be taking next week. It felt forced, and I decided I was employing the wrong tool for the purpose at hand. So, rather than have them use the program as a reflective tool, I’ve chosen to have the students use Xtranormal to create an animated dialogue directly from the pages of the book they are using for a project. I think this will be a fun way for them to connect with their book near the beginning of the unit.

Stay tuned for more about my Xtranormal adventures  in future posts!

I’ve shared my first attempt at a screencast “how-to”, for Xtranormal, below.


Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


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