Screenr Presentations

One thing that I have been doing for years is using Keynote on the Mac to create videos of presentations that I have given. What I do is use Keynote to present, and record that presentation. Keynote then allows me to export my presentation (complete with transitions, animations and videos) with my recorded narration as a complete video file. I can then take this video and export it for any other device that I need to use it on.

I did this initially at the first JISC Online Conference back in 2006, I have since then used it with various presentations, such as this presentation at the MIMAS Mobile Learning Event.

I haven’t really promoted this process in the college as it really does require that you use a Mac and use Keynote. As with most FE Colleges we use in our classrooms, Windows PCs and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Though I have found and see many applications which convert PowerPoint presentations into Flash animations, they were difficult to use with a live presentation, you needed to record individual audio files for each slide, or time each slide accurately to a recorded narration for the whole presentation. It was a bit of a challenge and not really a practical proposition for a typical classroom teacher.

So though Keynote could do it, I hadn’t really seen a possibility that could work until Ron Mitchell made a comment at a MoLeNET meeting about doing all the above using Screenr.

So what is Screenr?

Screenr
is a web service that allows you to make screencasts quickly and easily, then have them posted to the web.

Once on the web, you can either share the URL, put it in an e-mail for example, or on Twitter.

You can embed the video into a webpage on a website or on a VLE. This is in the Flash format. What about if you have a smartphone or an iPhone, well Screenr ensures that the video is available in an MP4 format which will play on the iPhone, other smartphones and internet capable video devices.

Screenr also allows you to share your video on YouTube.

Finally one useful aspect is that you can download the video as an MP4 file. This can then be embedded into a PowerPoint presentation. You can also import this video file into iMovie and edit it, add titles, other video, to create a new video. If you have the appropriate MP4 codec on your Windows PC you can import it into Windows Movie Maker and do something similar.

So what you would do is as follows:

  • Start Screenr capturing your screen (full size screen).
  • Start your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Deliver your presentation.
  • Stop Screenr.

Screenr will then take the video of the presentation, combine it with a recording of the presentation and convert it into a video file, before posting it on the web.

You can then do as I said above, embed it in the VLE, share the URL via e-mail, allow learners to see it on an iPhone, or download the video in MP4 format to do other stuff with it.

One note though is that the service works basically with a Twitter account. You don’t need to use the Twitter account, but just thought I would point it out. For an alternative look at ScreenToaster which doesn’t require Twitter and has a 20MB limit (as opposed to a time limit).

Five minute limit

Yes there is one big problem with Screenr and that is the five minute limit!

The only real solution (apart from using other tools) would be to create lots of five minute presentations instead.

What I like about Screenr over other similar tools (like Jing) is that it doesn’t require you to download an application or install anything. Go to the website, click create screencast and then everything is simple after that. That means it is practical to use it in a classroom situation to record a presentation, as you don’t need to install an application on every computer in every classroom. One note though, if you want decent audio, then you may want to consider how you will capture that audio in the classroom.

I recently discussed screencasting on an e-Learning Stuff podcast.

5 thoughts on “Screenr Presentations”

  1. Great summary of Screenr, James. I’m a fan of Screenr and have used on a number of occasions and drawn some conclusions of my own:

    The five minute limit is great for tutorials! Much more than this can be too drawn out and if providing a tutorial for a busy staff member, or an easily distracted learner, keeping it punchy is key.

    For best viewing, set your resolution lower than full screen, preferably fairly small. If you set your screen resolution high, your viewers can miss some of the content, particularly if you happen to be watching on a laptop or netbook. You can always drag the window around if you want to change the focus.

    Experiment with audio; it may be hardware specific. I’ve used a headset with reasonable results. A built in laptop microphone is sometimes not sensitive enough. In my best efforts I have used a Logitech QuickCam Pro which captures audio really nicely.

    The best thing about Screenr is just how easy it is to use. We shared some Mahara tutorials (http://maharaguide.wordpress.com) with our students who immediately found them really useful. We have subsequently encouraged them to make their own tutorials using Screenr, which they completed within a two hour teaching session. You don’t get that speedy turn around with big cumbersome desktop tools. Better still, learners commented that creating them was fun!

    I suppose it would be nice to have a webcam capture along with the Screenr tool, and more practical zooming / focus functionality, but perhaps this is asking too much?

    Get screenr-ing (?), readers!

  2. Hi James,

    Nice write up on Screenr – it is a great tool. I just wanted to mention a tool we make called iPresent Presio. It is a Windows desktop app that allows you to import a video file and a PowerPoint presentation – which you can then synch each slide to the video. The result is a webcast presentation with a table of contents. Presio also allows you to record Live (from your webcam/mic) and synch slides at the same time.

    Presio does not support PPT animations, instead it takes a static screen shot of each slide after an animation has occurred. The output is just standard HTML with an embedded Flash, WMV, or MOV video. Presentations can be any duration.

    Anyhow, great blog, thanks.

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