Our boss* recently introduced the English department to Jing, a free screen capture program that has real potential as a teaching tool and means of conveying feedback to students. I recall hearing about Jing at a TEDxOrlandoSalon meeting last year, but alas, 52 reminders to buy eggs and cream buried it in my iPhone notes. I am glad to have been reintroduced to this program. With Jing, you can take screen shots of anything on your computer, and the free version allows you to video 5 minutes worth of unedited content, and then upload it as a flash video file to screencast.com, which provides uses with 2GB of storage for Jing videos. The pro version of this program allows users to upload to YouTube and edit video files.
So, while the free version has its limitations, I actually think it’s pretty rad that the program restricts uses to 5 minutes, which from my experience is about as long as someone in the online learning environment is willing to devote to a learning asset. Unlike the live environment, in the online world, one can simply close the browser, hit pause, mute, and move along to the next video. The five minute constraint forces speakers to not only truncate their messages (#1 on my resolutions list–truncate!) but also will reinforce the importance of opening strong and closing clearly. It’s also a sneaky way of integrating practice (it’s way harder to just ramble when you have only 1 five minute take to work with…unless you don’t mind recording 52 takes of one how to video or student feedback video).
The department was tasked with creating two Jings as part of our holiday homework. I created a brief tutorial on Compfight.com as well as two analyses of effective podcast presentations submitted to my online class. Fellow superteacher Alex Rister, created this brief tutorial on using Dafont. Even though she made it about Star Wars instead of the clearly superior Star Trek, it still rules.
The possibilities for Jing seem fruitful, and I’ve thought of several more ways I’d love to integrate it into the various iterations of my class as well as this blog. What would you Jing?
* Our boss happens to be amazing, supportive, and intelligent. In an effort to maintain objectivity, I add this as as asterisked fine print element.