I seem to bookmark a lot of sites, for some reason, and every so often when I’m a bit bored, I like to review what I’ve saved, try to understand why I saved it and cull the contents of my favourites folder. It’s a safer alternative to tinkering with my computer settings and doesn’t result in my computer going belly-up, having to spend hours getting it back to a semblance of normality and swearing. A lot.

Anyway.

Another benefit of clearing out the bookmarks is that I get to look at the sites I’ve saved and, very occasionally, find one I think might be useful. So, by way of a preamble:

If you’re thinking about flipped teaching or simply want to create a video library of lessons your students can access as-and-when and for whatever reason, the most common tool to use is a screen recorder – software that records everything that happens on your computer screen. You might, for example, have created a PowerPoint presentation that you then want to walk your students through; screen recorders will happily record your narration, mouse movements, annotations and the like and save them out to your favourite video format.

While this is a solution to a particular problem it does raise a number of important problems of its own – not the least being that it’s an unforgiving real-time format; every pause, hesitation and stumble is diligently recorded. These can, of course, be edited out or disguised with fades and wipes – but then you’re into a world of video editing that may not be one you’re particularly keen to enter.

A second potential problem is planning: you have to ensure everything you want to record is perfectly planned because if it’s not – and you want to develop or change something – you’re probably going to have to spend time on post-production work in a video editor. While this may eliminate some of the technical issues it can add continuity issues – such as jumps in the narrative – that are difficult to disguise. Using fades and wipes too frequently can also be unsettling for a viewer, particularly if the video is a few minutes long.

An alternative is to use something like an online Whiteboard that allows you to create video lessons using a range of relatively simple tools, by importing and converting an existing PowerPoint presentation or by combining both. This is where something like theLearnia comes into play.

It’s an online recordable Whiteboard that’s simple to understand, straightforward to use and absolutely free. While it doesn’t do anything breathtakingly brilliant – and the video tutorials, while competent enough really could do with a little bit of audio polish – it does what it sets out to do with the minimum of fuss and maximum of competence.

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