If you read blogs about educational technology, you probably have seen a post somewhere in the past week about a new online application called Screencast-O-Matic.  

This new Web 2.0 product allows you to very easily create free screencasts, which are audio-narrated “tours” of what you see on your computer screen (they don’t have to narrated, but it works much better if they are).   These would then be hosted by Screencast-O-Matic and easily accessed online.

Screencasts that I have seen are primarily used to show how to use various computer applications.  They are wonderful teaching tools, especially for technological dummies like myself.

Seeing this new online tool got me wondering about how it could be adapted specifically to English Language Learners, and some experiments we could try during summer school.

It seems to me that my students could use Screencast-O-Matic in a number of atypical ways.  One way could be to “click” on a number of different pictures online, have them displayed on the screen, and then have the student describe them for a screencast.  

There’s another way that’s particularly intriguing to me because of my recent interest in using online video games for English language development.  I’m going to  have students play video games using “walkthroughs” (instructions and hints about how best to “win”) and create instructional screencast “walkthroughs” that would teach other students how to play the game.

I don’t know if these ideas will fly, but I’ll give them a try.  Let me know if you have additional suggestions.

I have the link to Screencast-O-Matic on my Examples of Student Work page under Student Screencasts.