During the Summer 2012 semester, I decided to have my Math for Education students use Jing to send me a diagram of something that they were supposed to do using Geogebra. If you aren’t familiar with Jing, it is a free screen-capturing and screen-casting tool from the people at Techsmith, located in Okemos, MI. And if you aren’t familiar with Geogebra, simply put, it is a free alternative to Geometer’s Sketchpad, but it can do lots more.
First off all, I have to say that I had always wanted to use Jing and screen-capturing with my students, but I wasn’t sure from what angle I wanted to approach it. Many instructors have students create their own screencasts (a fairly well-known example is Mathtrain.tv). Of course, I already use screen-casting on the instructor end by creating screencasts for my students on topics they are struggling with or by providing video feedback on student assignments. I just hadn’t ever had my students do the screen-casting.
Frankly, I was worried. I was worried about how students who didn’t have easy access to a computer would complete the assignment and I was worried about the amount of class time it would take students to learn about Jing (some students insist on writing down every single detail). And of course, there were a few students who struggled. For example, A librarian told one of my students that her Geogebra file was damaged, but what actually happened was that they librarian was trying to use Quicktime to open the Geogebra file instead of Geogebra.
Overall, this was a very good exercise for me and my students. I learned a lot about what my students actually knew about the topic based on the drawings that they submitted and so the next time we worked on something in Geogebra together in class, I was able to clarify a few of the details of what the students needed to do in the computer to get the diagram that they were supposed to get.
And of course, this was a very low-stakes assignment. I didn’t want to put a lot of points or pressure on students for an assignment in which they could have very well had a friend or relative complete at home without me even knowing. And I made sure to stress the importance of the fact that this is the type of software they will need to know how to use when they are teachers in the classroom.
If you are interested, here is a link to the Jing Screen Captures taken by my students.