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January 7, 2008 / Ben Chun

Screen Broadcasting

So, you want to show someone exactly how to do something on a computer? Then you need to broadcast it to their screen. Describing this stuff in words is painful: On the Format menu, select Bullets and Numbers and then choose on of the six options shown, or click the Customize button to change the… I’m already asleep, and I’m the one writing this. Using an LCD projector to show instead of telling is better, but it depends on a student looking away from their screen, taking note of what you’re doing, then translating that information into actions on their own computer. Showing students directly on their own screen takes away one of those levels of indirection. There’s nothing else to look at. It’s happening right in front of every pair of eyes. And it’s happening in exactly the same place you want them to do it later.

I wrote previously about iTALC and its utility in facilitating classroom procedures. Today, I used it for instruction for the first time. I used the “demo mode” (that is, broadcasting my screen to all of theirs) to show how to use the “Bullets and Numbering” features in Word. Granted, this is not very interesting subject matter for anyone — particularly me. But I did my best to make the assignment somewhat relevant to the students. And based on the student work that was turned in, the instruction was effective. If you teach anyone anything with computers, you owe it to them (and yourself, and whomever is paying you) to figure out how to get this kind of instructional technology working in your lab.

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