Thing 17 has been rescheduled for next week so we are skipping straight ahead to Thing 18, which is all about creating screen captures and podcasts.
I had never heard of Jing before now, but having installed it and played around with it for five minutes, I have to say that I think it’s brilliant. It’s really easy to use and not only does it allow you to take instantly shareable screenshots, it also allows you to make videos of yourself using the Internet or using programs on your computer. As such, it has fantastic potential for the creation of instructional videos. Although information literacy training isn’t part of my current role, I can definitely see myself making use of this tool in the future in order to teach groups of students how to use library catalogues and databases. Making an instructional Jing video to show to multiple classes would save me from repeatedly having to demonstrate the same processes, and this would also free up my teaching time to enable me to give one-to-one support to any students who were struggling.
The only negative thing that I have to say about Jing is that I found it very difficult to embed the videos into my WordPress blog. However, I discovered a little programme called the Vodpod Bookmarklet which enables you to do this, and so here is my Jing video:
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I’ve never created a podcast before, although I do occasionally download music podcasts on to my iPod using iTunes. I’m familiar with Audacity because my partner uses it all the time to record DJ demos and to convert vinyl records into mp3s. Having never used the program myself, I decided to commandeer his computer in order to have a play with it.
Overall it seems pretty straightforward to use – if you want to make a podcast you can pretty much just hit record and start speaking. Unfortunately I don’t own a proper microphone, so instead I decided to record a piece of music in order to play around with the settings. Once the music was recorded, I selected the ‘normalise’ option in order to eliminate any high frequencies which might overload the speakers, and then I amplified the recording in order to increase the volume. One useful feature of Audacity is that you can slow down a recording of a voice without changing the pitch – this means that if you find yourself speaking too quickly during your recording, you can slow yourself back down again in the edit and your voice will still sound normal. You can also combine different audio files together, so if you make a mistake when you are recording your podcast you can simply re-record that section and paste it in without having to start again.
Having had a listen to some of the podcasts on the Podwhating? course provided by Edinburgh Napier University, I definitely agree that podcasts could be used very effectively for educational purposes. Podcasts can be downloaded and listened to on the move and students might potentially find it very useful to be able to listen to educational or instructional podcasts on their mp3 players or mobile phones.
For completely non-educational purposes, however, I have decided to turn my rather silly Audacity recording into a podcast using SoundCloud. For your listening pleasure, here is the genius that is the Trololo Song remixed into the singing style of a chipmunk (people should not let me near pitch shift controls, I am highly irresponsible…)