PodScreenMathSlideSketchCasting

Richard Ziade is experimenting with a video form he calls sketchcasting. A sketchcast is a recording of a whiteboard session plus voiceover. I’ve seen some very effective educational uses of this technique, and it’s interesting to compare Tim Fahlberg’s mathcasts to Richard Ziade’s sketchcasts. When Tim Fahlberg demonstrates the solution to a math problem in one of his mathcasts, the visual repertoire of numbers and symbols is fixed, and the creative contribution is sequencing and narration. When Richard Ziade delivers a presentation as a sketchcast, the visual repertoire is open-ended. We all know people who like to sketch and who communicate effectively that way. Richard Ziade is clearly one of them. Microsoft’s Steve Cellini is another. In meetings he invariably leaps to the whiteboard and draws pictures of the ideas being discussed.

It’s great to see all these forms evolving and — crucially — becoming more accessible. TechSmith’s Jing, for example, aims to make screencasting more spontaneous. SlideShare makes it easy to produce and share slidecasts, which are audio narrations of slide decks.

As words suffixed with cast proliferate — pod, screen, math, sketch, slide — it can all seem a bit bewildering. But with a range of choices, people who want to produce rich media can gravitate to the forms that match their skills and inclinations. And for those who watch and listen to these productions, it’s not complicated at all. You click the link, you watch and/or listen.

9 Comments

  1. Do we need tools geared toward each type of “cast” or presentation? A sketchcaster is sometimes drawing lines, sometimes writing vertically, etc. We also need integrated tools for presentation capture. For example, one can create a sketchcast using generic screen capture and drawing software and a video editor, but that is a hassle and raises the barrier to entry. We should also be able to capture our presentations transparently. Why can’t I click “record” at the start of a PowerPoint talk? Jon, are you keeping a database or tagged list of presentation-capture tools?

  2. “Do we need tools geared toward each type of “cast” or presentation?”

    We shouldn’t, but nowadays often we do, and yes, that’s absolutely a barrier to entry.

    Here’s one key example: the video codecs that work best for screencasting are very different from the ones tuned for motion video.

    When it comes to smoothing out these kinds of wrinkles we have a long way to go.

  3. My students and I began creating mathcasts two years ago after with Tim Fahlberg – what a great guy! I’ve always called them mathcasts since that’s the term Tim used, but in fact we use a combination of techniques and many of our mathcasts are sketchcasts about math.

    Camtasia Studio will install a record button into PowerPoint so that you CAN just click record at the beginning of your presentation and record it. I also love Camtasia because we can use it to screen capture, edit, and then produce our mathcasts in a wide variety of formats.

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