From pencil and paper, to chalk and board, to onscreen inking


The interactivity of inking on screen is a current technology that has become more popular in the past several years. Stemming from the use of screen inking on Kahn Academy, many faculty wish to produce videos with a similar look and feel to them. The want to create a video where they are  explaining a concept and able to write “on the board” while recording it all on video.

The main challenge that is associated with this technology is how steep of a learning curve the initial concept took to produce. Items such as the movies from Khan Academy and RSA Animate sparked a form of creativity that many faculty wanted to reproduce but were unable to comprehend the various tools it took to create those films. Khan Academy states that it currently uses Camtsaia Recorder, SmoothDraw3, and a Wacom Bamboo Tablet. Previously Sal Kahn used ScreenVideoRecorder and Microsoft Paint to capture his initial videos.

Most faculty find this style of video presentation appealing because it best mimics the traditional style of board and lecture instruction. It allows for the visual content and steps to be shown while accompanied by audible content reinforcing the concepts being viewed. It also benefits the student who is consuming the information. By hitting both audible and visual learning styles many students retain the information better than they would by just listening or just viewing.

However, the fascination of the technology and the style of video capture can tend to outshine the content. If you look around on the internet enough you will find many examples of those who are trying to use a similar approach to Sal Kahn where the content is rough or could be successful through another form of technology. We all can fall prey to what seems fancy and updated, it is the job of the Academic Technology department to assure that faculty know what goes into producing videos similar to Khan’s style and when it is appropriate to use and when it is not.

While Kahn states now on his website how he creates his presentations and what software he uses, it does not speak towards the learning curve that one will have while attempting to produce similar videos. One tool that has come to my attention that is very attractive for use on our campus is Office Mix. It is a free add in for Microsoft PowerPoint. The learning curve is less steep for faculty members because they are working off of a piece of technology that they are already familiar with. The aspect of annotating and live inking a screen becomes a rather simple task that with some practice can be done using one piece of software. While the software is becoming easier for faculty to use and reproduce ideas that were once more proprietary there is still the aspect making sure that the technology fits the needs of the lesson.

For more ideas and information check out these links: