I have blogged briefly about Jing before, just after I returned from the inaugural, and the one and only, National Summer School for Teachers of Mathematics a couple of years ago. It is a freely downloadable software program that allows users to capture whatever is on their computer screen via a single shot, audio or video with audio. It will capture up to 5 minutes of video screencast material. It then allows you the opportunity to either save the ‘creation’ to ‘the cloud’ via a link or to your own hard drive as a .swf extension file.
In the past, I have used this program to create demonstrations on how to use a spreadsheet to generate sets of random numbers to do simulations in probability. I’ve embedded the link to ‘the cloud’ in a worksheet that was delivered to students digitally. This worked quite well (despite the surreal effect of hearing your own voice emanating from 25 laptops at the same time!).
This year, I have found an even better use for it. I noticed that some of my Y12 students were having difficulties with factorising cubics. I used OneNote and Jing to create a “how to” on factorising cubics using my tablet pen on my notebokk computer and then saved the file to the class wiki so students could access this at any time they liked. Most recently, after correcting their first test, I have created a series of 4 screencasts relating to common misunderstandings I picked up from their completed papers. I’ve done one on “Show that” type of questions, one on finding maximal domains etc. I know that McDonald’s MathsOnline is a similar thing (and, of course, much more professional!) but Jing allows you to show the method you prefer for your own students and allows for the flexibility that MathsOnline does not.
I’m very excited by the possibilities this allows.