VPython Screencasts

This year I’ve decided to have my AP Physics C students (15) make screencasts explaining the workings of and reasonings behind their VPython programs. I got the idea from college physics professor Andy Runquist, who makes his students do similar screencasts for their Mathematica assignments. What I like about screencasting is that it gives added insight into which students understand the physics and the coding of their programs and which do not.

We’ll be using Screencast-o-matic because it is easy to use and it’s web-based (no software to download and install). Another reason is because Screencast-o-matic allows for “open submissions” — i.e., students can record and submit their screencasts directly to a designated channel without having to create an account or upload their video to YouTube. Which is great because all the screencasts will be in one place and I don’t have to worry about getting/managing links from students.

To help students with screencasting, I’ve made a tutorial video, along with examples of good and bad screencasts.

Screencast-o-matic Tutorial

Low Quality Screencast

High Quality Screencast

Happy Screencasting!

8 responses to “VPython Screencasts

  1. Frank,
    I was at yours and Andy’s AAPT talk and I was planning on doing the same for my physics class this year. I purchased a portable wand scanner so the kids can scan their homework in my classroom and email the image to themselves. Did you investigate other options besides Jing and Screencast-o-matic?

  2. Mr. Noschese,
    I am a student at the University of South Alabama, and I was assigned your
    blog. I really enjoyed what you have to say and your idea’s make very good sense. I feel that it is very important to know who understands and who does not.

  3. Mr. Noschese,
    I am also a student at the University of South Alabama assigned to your blog for the month of October. I had never really thought of the idea of using screencasts in the classroom, but I think it is a great idea. Not only does it allow you to see who is progressing and who is not, but it also allows you to teach your students a technology skill and, in a sense, a communication skill.

  4. Mr. Noschese,

    I am a student from The University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. I am taking EDM310 and I have been assigned to comment on your post. I am going into Science education so I can see myself using some of your techniques. Technology has come along way since I was in high school. I am not a traditional college student!

  5. Mr. Noschese,

    I am also a student at the University of South Alabama taking EDM 310. Our class blog can be found here, and my blog can be found here. I never knew how to make a screencast before watching the tutorial included in this post, and it seems really easy! I would definitely like to incorporate the use of screencasts in my classroom one day. I think they could be really useful when explaining how to accomplish something on the computer. I could record it ahead of time, so I don’t have to worry about working out any problems while I am teaching. Instead I can keep the lesson going smoothly. Thanks for the great tutorial, and I hope you and your students are having a great year!


  6. Mr. Noschese

    I am a student at the University of South Alabama in EDM 310. I was assigned to your blog. I like the idea of the screencast. I am interested in looking into how I could incorporate in this in my classroom and any grade level. The way this is set up, allowing students to easily access the assignments, is a great way to see where each and every student is progressing. Thanks for giving me the challenge to look into this technology.


  7. Hi Mr. Noschese!
    I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama and I was assigned to read your blog post. First let me start off by saying, “Congratulations on your Presidential Award”! That is AWESOME and says a lot about you as a teacher and a person. Your students are lucky to have you as an instructor.
    I have never taken physics but I know it is hard so I think this screencasting project is a great way for you to keep track of whether or not your students are understanding the subject and the coding programs. This way you can help the ones who do not understand to well and are afraid to speak up. I also really enjoyed watching the tutorial videos on how to use Screencast-o-matic. It was thorough and easy to follow. I actually wish Dr. Strange would post some video tutorials for his class. I think it would help those students who are lost in our class as well.
    Thanks for the information and look forward to learning more about you through your blog.
    Jamie Lynn Barbour

  8. This is pretty neat. This is the modern version of students showing their work. With everything going to digital the ability to see where students go wrong is diminishing.

    I am fortunate with the software we use we can track what students are doing along the whole way. Unfortunately not everyone has this luxury and its nice to see the innovations teachers are making to give students the best instruction.

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