Thursday, March 19, 2009

Jing screen-capture service

Ever need a simple FREE way of walking someone through a simple procedure on the computer? Or wanted to provide a quick orientation to your website or your online course? Or wanted to share a quick review of a couple of slides from yesterday's lecture?

I can't tell you how many times I've walked somebody through a procedure on my course management system by getting on the phone and saying, "see that little button to the left? Yes, that's the one. Click it. Now what do you see? . . ." Or how many times I've emailed a student a message something like, "remember that slide from yesterday's lecture with the big purple circle in the middle? That was the nucleus. Do you remember the darker purple area inside it? That was the nucleolus. And yellow area represented . . . "

Wouldn't it be SO MUCH better to quickly run through it myself on my desktop while recording a short screencast . . . and send it right to the student? Then post a link to the same screencast on my course website so that other students can find it?

Wouldn't it even better if it such a thing were SIMPLE and FREE?

Have I got a deal for you . . . some of my friends at HAPS Institute have been using this FREE software and screencast sharing service called Jing. When I started getting jinged with these nice little screencasts showing me how to get up to speed on a new course management platform, I got hooked.

The FREE version of Jing does pretty much everything you need it to do. For a mere $15 per year (about $1.25/mo.) you get a few more nice little bells and whistles, like an option to post directly to Flikr or YouTube.

Here's a little sample of a quick Jing presentation I put together within just a few minutes:

[NOTES: Be sure to select "Large size" at the top of the player for the best quality. Also move your mouse off the player, which removes the navbar along the bottom so that you can see the material on the bottom of the screen. My Jing also includes a small webcam shot of me in the lower corner. That's certainly not required, but shows you another way to use the software. All I did was open my webcam capture software and position it alongside browser window I wanted to demonstrate.]

Here's a video that gives you a short intro to Jing:

[The video player embedded here may not appear in your news feed or emailed newsletter. Go to The Electronic Professor blog to access the video viewer. Go to my The A&P Professor website to learn how to embed the video in your PowerPoint or webpage . . . or simply link to it from your own email or webpage.]

Also check out these resources:
A few important notes:
  • There is a five-minute limit to each video clip. So these are useful for those "short and sweet" demos. Camtasia, made by the same folks that produce Jing, would be an option for longer presentation.

  • You can also do still image video captures with Jing. You can add labels and arrows and such to these screen captures.

  • Where you send the final capture, how it is stored, and so on is completely customizable
Why not *comment* on the blog to share your proposed uses for Jing? Or perhaps you have some Jings you can share with us?

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