Screencasting means recording your computer screen as you do something. There are many uses! I create screencasts then add them to Blackboard to “show” students how to do something. These days I mostly use Camtasia since UAA has it available on the keys server. It works great and even allows you to highlight your mouse or zoom in at the right times. From there you can upload it to YouTube or “produce” it in many different formats. Ben Chadwick, UAA’s video expert, suggests producing videos in MOV format at 320 X 240 for uploading to Blackboard. You can then use the Add Quicktime Content to embed your video in a Blackboard item.

Here is an article that compares some popular free screencasting tools: I often have my students use Screenr or Screenjelly (which only allow short videos). I recently had my Photoshop students create screencasts to demonstrate a Photoshop technique and they loved it! Here is one example:


Wikipedia turns 10!

42% of all Americans turn to Wikipedia for information online, according to a recent study by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life project.

“Education level continues to be the strongest predictor of Wikipedia use. The collaborative encyclopedia is most popular among internet users with at least a college degree, 69% of whom use the site.”

Wikipedia, Past and Present study from Pew Internet:


But what about using Wikipedia in the classroom?

1.       Have student build articles or edit existing articles. Wikipedia is strict and will remove anything that violates copyright, isn’t properly cited, or is considered controversial. Wikipedia identifies high quality articles as “Good Article” or “Featured Article.” Something for the students to strive for!  

·         Here is an link to an article on how to write an article for Wikipedia: “Making pages on Wikipedia – the ups; the downs; the rules; and how to do it.”

·         The following link takes you to a syllabus template for instructors using Wikipedia in the classroom:

2.       Host a course on Wikiversity ( Wikiversity provides learning resources for all age groups and all subject areas. Faculty can host courses and, because it is a wiki, students can be given editing access to add their own material.

[John Orlando, Faculty Focus online newsletter: ]


In New York Times article “Wikipedia: Friend, Not Foe,” Crovitz and Smoot conclude that Wikipedia can demonstrate to students the process, importance, and excitement of real scholarship. It can also show them that knowledge isn’t settled, as there are always more questions to ask and differing perspectives. Read the full article at

In an EDUCAUSE webinar  in January entitled “Wikipedia in the Classroom: Changing the Way Teachers and Students Use Wikipedia,” Yonatan Moskowitz of Georgetown University concluded that it’s worth it to use Wikipedia in the classroom. Students get excited about it when their research is used to improve an information resource that they and their peers use daily.



Remember that there are some pretty cool “employee e-learning” resources in UAonline. Here’s how to find them:

·         Go to > Log in > click Employee Services > click Employee E-Learning > click SkillSoft > click submit

·         I recommend looking at Books 24 X 7. I was able to find a number of good ebooks on Second Life!



Posterous doesn’t let you embed code so click this link to view my Voki: (Hit the play button to hear my message. Then hit the back button in your browser to return to this blog.)

Voki can be used to create talking avatars that can be embedded into your Blackboard course for an audio announcement (or sent in an email). There are lots of characters to choose from including animals and politicians. Voki also has a special section for Education and a Teacher’s Corner to share how you can use Voki in the classroom:  Have fun with this!

Promethean Training Tomorrow

Please join me in PSB 217 on Friday, March 4, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. for another Promethean training with new and interesting lesson ideas for a variety of content areas and age groups. The more the merrier!

[Promethean is an interactive whiteboard that works with ActivInspire software to allow students to actively participate in their learning.]

What educational technology are you interested in, reading about, and excited to try? Please comment!