Thursday, August 02, 2012

wrapping screencasts in popcorn.js to enhance learning

My work over the last month has been to create screencasts for the Mozilla open badges initiative. I am building screencasts to provide online tutorials describing the different technical aspects of the Open Badges Infrastructure (OBI). There are many scholarly articles discussing the effectiveness of screencasts on learning; a google scholar search on "screencast learning" provides a good listing if you would like further reading. One aspect of the screencasts I have been working on for a while is how to deepen the learning around the screencast. In a number of my previous projects, including CLEBC and AIM language learning, we enhanced screencast learning by including; chat, discussion, in-lined formative questions, and links to related resources. All of these enhancements helped in creating a more complete learning module by providing multi-modalities to learning.

What I believe is the most important is the clustering of resources into a succinct module. The idea being that the screencast is "surrounded" by many resources specific to the subject and contents of the screencast. Another technology currently being released by Mozilla is popcorn.js. This technology allows screencasts to be greatly enhanced by adding resources and screen elements as the video progresses. Popcorn is well described on the related Mozilla site;
"Popcorn.js is an HTML5 media framework written in JavaScript for filmmakers, web developers, and anyone who wants to create time-based interactive media on the web. Popcorn.js is part of Mozilla's Popcorn project."
What popcorn.js provides is the ability create a comprehensive learning module where a screencast is clustered with other related resources. These additional resources can be explored while the video is in progress or referenced after the video is complete. The main point being the resources are available through links and are presented within the context of the progressing video.

To view the use of popcorn.js to enhance learning visit this growing repository of popcorn wrapped screencasts;

Related readings: