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One great thing about a summer enrichment program is the flexibility it affords to try out new concepts, tools, and teaching techniques in a low-stakes, high-curiosity environment.

Perhaps the most powerful new tool that we explored last summer is screencasting — recording anything displayed on a computer (video, text, websites, etc.) with a simultaneous voiceover. Traditionally, screencasting has been used as an instructional technique, often to teach students how to use a new computer program or web tool. At PVK, we use screencasting for student analysis. This is particularly beneficial for quick assignments and for working with younger kids whose abstract thinking skills still outpace their print literacy skills.

In our fourth grade class, instructor and Media Education Lab research fellow Emily Bailin used screencasting to give students the ability to analyze and critique music videos while they watched them. Students collaborated to write a script while watching the video several times. Then they performed their screencast in front of the class. The activity took only an hour and a half, and at the end of the process we had four amazing screencasts about videos by Public Enemy, Queen Latifah, and KRS-One. Here’s an example:

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