The Whiteboard Recording
Sometimes, we might want to sketch out a solution, and a picture is worth a thousand words. Explaining technical details over email can be very time consuming, so creating a quick narrated explanation can be a time saver. It's also a reusable resource, so if many students have the same query, you only have to record it once.
We can do this online. Here is my current whiteboard. You can add pictures, PDF, text, even put on a square or graph-paper background.
I can use the free (yay!) Microsoft Whiteboard application to draw things out, whilst providing a narration. Run the whiteboard app, and the Xbox session recording. Here's an example:
This narrated problem solving is pretty much what I do in face to face "office hours" sessions, where I go through a lot of paper. I find that doing it on paper is good because if it's only one student talking to me, then I can give them the notes to take away. Obviously this is not possible if there is a group of students, so this online method has some merits. I do have a whiteboard in my office, but it is in an awkward spot, and isn't that large. Groups of students often use their phones to take photos if I do that.
I am intending on producing quite a lot of these very short clips - I'm aiming for 5 minutes maximum. Ideal equipment would be a tablet, to do the drawing on. I'm getting a graphics tablet to act as a substitute. Not as good as a tablet PC, but considerably cheaper. I've had some success with using a stylus and writing directly on the laptop touchpad. You do have to enable the tap mode, overwise you have to press too hard to get the stylus to write. If you want some entertainment, here's my first ever attempt, using the stylus on the touchpad method. As you can see, it is not very polished!
There are many other whiteboard applications available. A particularly good one, available on MacOS, Linux and Windows is the OpenBoard app, developed by Swiss Educationalists.
Now go and draw something!