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Lindsay Warwick
CELTA trainer, materials writer and teacher … read more
Lindsay Warwick

TechSmith Jing

TechSmith Jing is a screen capture tool that both teachers and students can use to capture images and create short videos on their computer.

What you can do with TechSmith Jing

TechSmith Jing is a screen capture tool that takes a photo or video of whatever’s on your computer screen.

To capture an image of something on your computer, you simply select the appropriate area of your screen and click a button. You can also highlight or add shapes and text with the screen capture tools.

To capture a video, when you press record, the program records your voice and whatever’s happening on your screen at the same time. For example, if you click on a holiday photo, talk about it and then click on another photo and talk about it, this is exactly what the program will capture.

You can then click and share your image or video via Screencast.com, or save to your computer and share by email or on your school learning management system (LMS). With images, you can also copy and paste into another document (e.g. Word) before sharing.

Anything you capture with TechSmith Jing is saved in your history, so you can reuse it at a later date.

How to exploit TechSmith Jing

For me, the screen capture tool is the most useful. If you want to label an image for a vocabulary lesson (e.g. furniture in a room), then this program is an effective one to use. Learners could also capture images and add text captions and labels, for example: This is a picture of my town; cathedral; market; etc.

In terms of video capture, both teachers and students can use TechSmith Jing. Blended learning and the flipped classroom are increasingly popular, and screen capture is one of the best ways for the teacher to create videos that explain language points. Also, as the tool records what’s on your screen, you can show learners how to use other online tools. The teacher can then share the video online for homework or as part of an online component of a course. By asking learners to watch these videos outside class time, it allows more time in class for checking understanding and practising language. It also provides support for learners who want to review the language at a later date, and can encourage learner independence.

Teachers may also want to consider using TechSmith Jing to create oral feedback on written work. By displaying the written work on the screen and then capturing it while you mark the work, you can explain why you’re making corrections or why parts of the text work well. I personally feel that I can give clearer, deeper and more effective feedback using a screen capture tool, if only to save my poor writing hand. And now that I’m used to using programs like this, I can do it more quickly too.

Students can also use TechSmith Jing to create their own videos, which they can share with you or with each other. They can present and talk about images (e.g. Cambridge English: First Speaking exam practice, a presentation of holiday photos or storytelling). They can show features of their favourite website or they can practise a presentation that they’re soon going to give in class. I like asking my students to record themselves and then listen to identify their strengths and weaknesses. This helps with personalised goal setting as learners become more aware of their skills.

Practicalities and limitations

TechSmith Jing is a free downloadable program that requires you to sign up. If you want students to use it, they’ll need access to the program and to sign up too. The program allows you to make videos of up to 5 minutes and you can’t edit videos within the program.

If you share using the Screencast.com website you can share large files easily. Your videos are private and can only be seen when you share the link to the image video with your student(s). This option is the most beneficial because video is saved as an swf file, not as an mp4 file. Students will need Adobe Flash Player to view videos or anything you share via Screencast.com, which means they can’t access them on some devices (e.g. Apple).

TechSmith Jing is a very useful tool for capturing images and videos of your computer screen quickly and simply, but it does have some limitations. You might consider a paid-for tool if you want to save videos as mp4 files or record and edit longer videos.

For learners

  • Share and add text to images of what’s on their computer screen.
  • Record themselves speaking, presenting or reflecting on strengths and weaknesses.
  • Watch teacher-created presentations at home to learn about language, skills, topics and more.
  • See and hear the teacher giving detailed feedback on their work.

For teachers

  • Create videos that explain language points for online components of blended learning courses or flipped learning.
  • Support weaker learners who need to review language at home.
  • Provide detailed, more personalised spoken feedback on written work.
  • Speed up your feedback on written work (with practice)!
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