Innovative Mobile Apps for Teaching
By Huei-Lien (Elaine) Chen
A Little History
Since the software company TechSmith began developing screencasting tools, or applications, back in 1987, synchronizing PowerPoint slides with audio and visual recordings has become more and more commonplace. Today, a PowerPoint presentation with embedded audio and or visual videos wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.
Screencasting applications come either browser or client-based. Browser-based users record, save, and share content directly via any web browser using an account they have set up on a service website such as Screenr, Screentoaster, or Screenjelly. Client-based users download and install a client’s proprietary (not free) software—examples being Adobe Captivate, Camtasia, Snagit, and Echo360 Personal Capture—before doing so. Note: Jing is a free download but has a five-minute recording limitation that generally won’t meet anyone’s lecturing needs.)
Either way, once created, the end product is editable and can be published on any service website or be distributed through video-sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo.
There are several hitches regarding the above-mentioned client-based software that are worth mentioning: 1) Due to licensing fees, your IT department may not support them and, 2) more importantly, none of them are ready for mobile devices like a tablet or smartphone.
Create Instructional Content On-the-Go: Innovative Screencast Apps
In the world of Internet traffic, mobile devices now dominate the market. This has fueled an increasing demand from teachers at every level for apps that allow creation and sharing of instructional content both on and from those devices. So if client-based apps for mobile devices are unavailable, where does one turn?
Luckily, mobile technologies are keeping up. Educreations and ShowMe, two new iPad apps, prove the point. Powerful mediums for communicating ideas and delivering content, these innovative Apps—free from the App Store—allow lectures and interactive tutorials to be voice-recorded on-the-go, wherever you—and your iPad—find yourself.
Both provide browser-based and client-based channels, meaning that you can create a narrated presentation through either a preferred web browser or an iPad. Mobile device users will find their ability to record while writing and or drawing, as well as the instant sharing capabilities, very handy.
Generally speaking, Educreations and ShowMe are very similar. Both apps make it easy to record, save, and publish.
- Educreations allows you to pre-load multiple images before beginning your recording and easily add new blank pages for adding new content. ShowMe only allows you to pre-load one image at a time. This means that when you are finished recording the content that accompanies the first image you must pause, erase the image you were working with, load the next one, and then resume recording.
- ShowMe has a cool eraser tool while Educreations has an undo/redo tool. Depending on your preferences, you may like one more than the other.