The previous post on this blog features a series of screencasts I prepared for a presentation/workshop I hosted for an institute-wide PD Day last Friday.
Given that I was so flu-ridden on the day I was wondering if I was going to actually be able to stay up on my feet for the whole session, the screencasts could have come in very handy in the event of a presenter collapse... From a prone position on the floor, I might have been able to just click on play and let the attendees watch the presentation up on the screen while I crawled feebly for the exit.
However, what really struck me with this experiment was just how beneficial it can be to "perform" your presentation or workshop in advance via video or screencast.
For one, it's an excellent way to rehearse your material. Sure, you could do this in front of a mirror, but actually recording it gives you that very real feeling of a live performance, on the spot, and you can go back and listen/watch your performance, get a feel for the timing, delivery, etc. It's a confidence builder as well as (to some extent) a bit of an early warning system!
Once you've screencasted your whole presentation, it then makes for great review material to follow up a live, in-the-room workshop. This review mechanism is facilitated in multiple ways:
- Attendees can relax, go with the flow of the actual presentation on the day and not worry about extensive note-taking or handouts (they can review the material later at their own leisure);
- Your pre-recording means that if something goes horribly wrong on the day (for example: you're allocated a room without a beam projector despite your specific request for one), you can still refer workshop attendees to the screencast version;
- It's really interesting, for yourself as the presenter (and possibly for your attendees as well) to compare the live in-the-room performance with the recorded version, especially in terms of how well the presentation ended up wrapping around the actual needs and influence of the audience on the day;
- If you pre-record your presentation in specific parts or segments, you might look at playing one or two of them during the actual workshop so you can give yourself a short break, move the eyes off you for a little and give you a chance to wander around and see what people are doing;
- As per the parts/segments idea above, if the parts all have targeted ideas or examples, you might be able to cherry pick from an overall bank of screencasts to put together future presentations.
Beyond all that, I guess, screencasted versions of your presentations or workshops allow you to share your work or ideas far more widely. If your material is worthy enough of an audience of 40 on a given day, why not make it available to 4000 other people on any day of the year?
If workshops and presentations are things you do regularly (or want to do more) I really recommend considering some screencasting for a bit more of an edge when it comes to rehearsing and reviewing your ideas.