I was very excited to try out this new tool from Techsmith. It’s called Screenchomp and it does something that I’ve wanted to do for a while. It lets your create your own screencasts on your iPad. So, I eagerly downloaded it and set about to create my first screencast.
I did what everyone does when they first grab this application…I doodled on the screen with my finger. It was very responsive to the touch and had a small set of tools to do the task. I did the mandatory “2+2=4″ and got excited. Maybe I could start my own educational academy…
The icon on the bottom left interested me. Tapping that opened access to my photo gallery. I then got an inspiration for my first screencast (chompcast?). A while back, my friend Andy and I embarked on an experiment with Words with Friends to see if we could play and entire game with just three letter words. We were successful and I had captured an image of the screen for posterity. This would make a great background for the story that I was about to screencast.
The image had been captured in portrait mode which is the only way that Words with Friends plays. Screenchomp only works in landscape mode but scaled the image nicely in the editor. A couple of quick doodles to test that I could indeed write on top of the image and I was ready to go. I was about to use the eraser tool to get rid of my testing when I saw the wiper tool. Clicking and holding that gave a neat animation of wiping everything from the foreground. Nice! Clicking and holding on a stylus tool popped up a menu of different colours. Equally as nice. In the back of my mind, I must have been creating the story line because I felt ready to go.
I tapped record – got the preparatory 3-2-1 and I was off. I didn’t use anything fancy – I was just lying on my back on the bed and created a short little screencast.
In one take, I was able to create it. Thanks to all of the previous screencasting that I’ve done, it went well. Actually, I’d have to say better than well. I found that the creation by using my finger considerably easier than using a mouse. With a traditional screencast, my mouse seems to wander a big and I’m always finding myself looking down for the mouse after a while. Not so here.
When I was done, I was presented with a page with my little Screenchomp person holding my movie. It started to play immediately and I was very pleased with the results. There’s no option to save it locally, but two options – one to share on Facebook and the other to host on the Techsmith servers. Then, I hit my first glitch.
Over and over again, I kept getting this error. It didn’t matter whether or not I was going to Facebook or the Screenchomp servers. It was frustrating. I was just about to pack it in when I did a little superstitious behaviour on the last attempt and the save went through to the Screenchomp servers. Success – finally!
I could play it back from the server and it went nicely. A little share button would enable a Twitter post or a link to the Screenchomp movie. No account creation was required. That will go a long way with educators using this with students. The movie loads and plays nicely! There’s an option there to download the original movie in .mp4 format. You can play the original movie right here. That link could be shared with anyone.
Or, you could create it as part of a public gallery on YouTube.
I uploaded it so that I could embed it in this post. Not a problem there either. The Facebook option would be nice as well if a school district allowed that as an educational platform.
The first inclination, I think, that a lot of people would have would be to create tutorials for students. That would certainly work but it misses the complete power of screencasting and digital story telling. Why not hand the iPad over to the students to screencast their own story? The power is in the planning and the creation – not necessarily in the playback.
Other than the hiccup with the upload, I think that Screenchomp is a real winner and a nice additional to anyone’s arsenal. It’s free and available for download from here. Grab it and play with it. There’s a very short bit of learning and you’ll be screencasting in no time.
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