Saturday, June 10, 2017

Digital Literacy and Screencasting

As mentioned in my recent posts, I’ve been exploring various types of literacy and their application in my fourth grade classroom including the use of visual representation and comics. There are five essential elements of digital and media literacy as outlined by Hobbs and Moore in their book, Discovering Media Literacy. I’ve outlined them here and will refer to them throughout this post.
  • Access: locating materials responsibly and understanding those materials
  • Analyze: comprehending messages in a variety of formats and evaluating the credibility and quality of those messages
  • Create: using digital tools and technology to make content in a variety of formats
  • Reflect: making responsible choices and evaluating one’s own behavior and work
  • Act: taking action to solve problems and address social issues


Screencasting is recording anything on your computer screen. It’s one of the easiest ways for students to interact with content and create videos. Most frequently, people make screencasts to demonstrate how to do something on their computers as a video tutorial. In the past, I have made screencasts showing my students how to download spelling lists from our class webpage. I’ve seen other teachers make screencasts to show the steps of long division and the process of analyzing characters. I’ve considered using screencasting to create video conferences to review student work when we can’t meet face-to-face. Screencasting is a great tool for teachers because it allows you to publish videos and students can replay them as often as they need.

For students, screencasting allows them to either create their own content or interact with already created media and become co-authors or evaluators. Here are a few ways students can use screencasting:
  • Students could watch a video while screencasting and narrate their evaluation of the author’s use of a concept being taught in class.
  • Students could listen to and analyze the author’s message of a video or song by creating a screencast.
  • Rather than giving an oral presentation in front of their class, students could narrate a presentation from their computer and publish to a much larger audience.
  • Students can become the teacher and create a tutorial about a skill they have mastered.
  • Screencasting can be used to create a guided digital portfolio tour where students show off their work.

The options are pretty endless since students can make a video from anything on their screen.

Next year I would like to have my students apply screencasting as an assessment tool for their learning about digital citizenship. Digital literacy, according to Hobbs and Moore, is using the internet and social media responsibly. Google’s Be Internet Awesome resource teaches students simple rules for safe and responsible internet use. This free teaching tool allows students to play games to learn five main principles of digital citizenship including evaluating the safety of websites, personal privacy and security, and kind online interactions. It’s also paired with a free curriculum for teachers.

To incorporate screencasting, I would first have my students complete the Be Internet Awesome course so that they have the digital citizenship knowledge they need for their project (access). Next, I would have students choose a project they would like to complete:
  • Surf the web with a friend while making a screencast. Use a script and have a conversation about a digital citizenship principle that you notice online (create, analyze).
  • Create a short presentation about one principle you learned about. Write a script and narrate your presentation (create). Explain when you would use this principle in real life (analyze).
  • Narrate over one of the games in Be Internet Awesome. Write a script and explain the principle you learned from this game (create). Explain when you would use this principle in real life (analyze).

Once students have selected their projects, I would model using the screencast tool screencast-o-matic. After students have finished their projects, they can publish them to our class website and share feedback (reflect). These projects can also be shared online to teach others about safe and responsible internet use (act).

Here is an example I made as a model for my students. I used screencast-o-matic to record. I chose the first project option. In my video, I look over an email from an unknown sender and determine the content should not be trusted based on various criteria I learned from Google’s Be Internet Awesome program. In all, this screencast took less than 15 minutes for me to plan and publish.

Extra Resources

If you’re interested in exploring the topics of visual, digital, and media literacy, see my symbaloo web mix for my favorite resources and readings on these topics and others such as classroom film festivals, color theory in marketing, free stock photos, and graphic novels for kids.


  1. Amanda,
    Thank you for publishing your learning journey. Yes, I will be joining you. I am currently taking EDW200 class for my teaching license renewal through IUPUI. It is my hope to be competent enough to create a blended learning environment for my future 7th and 8th grade students. I have been out of teaching for 6 years, so I have a lot to learn and quickly! Our teacher for the course is Megan Tobin. Perhaps you know her? I believe you can find her via twitter. She would probably love to learn of your summer journey. Or perhaps, with your permission, I could share this blog with her. Please let me know.

    1. Hi Linda,
      I hope you enjoy learning about blended learning as much as I have. I am currently pursuing my Master's in Curriculum and Education Technology through Ball State. I don't know Megan Tobin, but feel free to share my blog with her and your classmates. I hope my blog gives you helpful information and resources. I'd be happy to collaborate with you in the future!