Courtesy of a pointer from Stephen's Web comes a wonderful overview of Screencasts and Screencasting from Graeme Daniel of wwwtools for teachers. Not sure why I hadn't heard of this site before, but I'm definitely watching it now. Graeme goes way beyond the cursory compilation of links to provide a look at the history of screencasting and how it's being used in education, from K-12 to Higher Ed, for Library Users and Librarians to ICT Skills and Instructional Design. I have to note the same thing that Stephen did; Graeme's conclusion on usability that states,
From the examples we've seen, it's obvious that current technology is up to the task of producing high-quality, quick-loading screencasts, with crisp imagery, audible and clearly enunciated sound, and a well-structured message. However, the relative ease of putting a screencast together can be something of a trap, and a considerable number of candidates for possible use as examples were discarded because they were taking forever to arrive, screenshots were too indistinct, sound levels were too low, speech was impossibly fast, or messages were poorly put together.Well said! The more pedagogical(?) links in this review nicely complement the huge list of software-based links in Jeremy Wagstaff's look at the topic for the Wall Street Journal.
A little more attention to planning detail and quality control would have made a lot of difference to final usability, and ultimately to audience impact, in these cases.
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