I recently started using Jing for producing quick and easy screen recordings to help show students how to use certain software functions. What I like about Jing – as opposed to Camtasia, even though they are both made by Techsmith – is that the Jing controls are semi-hidden at the top of your screen until you are ready to use it. When you’ve finished recording a clip, Jing lets you upload it directly to the screencast.com website where you can create your own repository of videos. It will even generate the HTML code or give you the URL so that you can share it. Pretty nifty I think. The beauty of using tools like this to produce small, bite-size videos is that if, say, a student sends you an email asking how to do something with a piece of software you can, in the space of 5 or so minutes, record the answer (including audio commentary if you wish) and send them a link to the video which they can then play and replay as many times as they need to until they are happy. Obviously this is going to save everyone time: no making appointments, finding the student in a computer lab, showing the student how to do it over and over again… and to top it all off, once you make one of these recordings you can reuse it time and time again. Eventually you could even have a list of recordings posted on a website somewhere which students can use as a study aid or as a sort of FAQ/helpdesk.
The free version of Jing is limited to producing 5 minute clips but this is plenty of time for most tasks and in any case, you really shouldn’t be producing anything longer anyway. I wanted to see how quick and easy to use it was out of the box so for the first one (shown below) I kept it simple, didn’t use audio and relied on the default settings. The results are really very good – the picture quality is great (it looks a little dodgy in places but that’s because I’ve resized it after the fact) and the files weren’t excessively large. I didn’t add any audio to the first one but will add it to future recordings. Overall I’m very impressed with Jing. OK it’s not overflowing with functions but what it does it does very well and thanks to the sheer convenience of this tool it’s now a firm fixture in my toolkit.
If you’ve never tried screencasting or creating screen recordings before, Jing is a really good and easy-to-use option which will have you up and running in no time. More experienced users will love how quickly and easily you can create recordings.
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