Three ways to create narrated content, explanations or demonstrations on a MacBook for your snow days

Snow days can cause a lot of joy for your students, but a headache when it comes to instructional planning.  Just when you have student’s knowledge built to a point, Mother Nature buries your school and community in the powdery white stuff.

Fortunately, there are some technological solutions that can help users of OSX devices (MacBooks, iMacs, etc.) still deliver instruction. Below are three ways to take existing lessons and turn them into narrated content, explanations or demonstrations that your students can view virtually.

  • Record narration to your Keynote: On your Mac, you can record narration synced up to the slides you already have. From the Play menu, select Record Slideshow. When students download these Keynotes, they just click the Play button as if they were to be presenting it. For more details on how to record the self-playing narration, check out Apple’s support site.
    Keynote - Play - Record Slideshow
  • Record narration to your PowerPoint: You can also use your Mac to record narration synced up to the slides you have in PowerPoint. After students download this file, students start the self-paced PowerPoint with narration by playing the presentation in Keynote. Microsoft has a thorough how-to  for Mac users at on their Support site and one also for PowerPoint users who are on Windows machines. NOTE: Because of some compatibility issues, double-check that the recorded PowerPoint actually plays through Keynote on your Mac. Use the File > Open to force it to open in Keynote and see that it will work on students’ Macs.
  • Record your entire screen (and any open apps) with QuickTime: Believe me, this is the most under-realized tool on your Mac… and it’s easier to use then iMovie! You can make quick screen recordings that you can QuickTime logoupload and send to students. If you stop to think about this one, you can really deliver a lot of different lessons by recording your screen.  You can record your reaction to websites in Safari, switch over to model writing in Pages, or demonstrate how to use any other application (a PhET simulation or Smithsonian interactive, perhaps?) on your Mac.  A video tour of how to do that can be found on YouTube.  (Ignore the last minute or two about YouTube since if it is blocked for students.)  The great thing is: you don’t need to know iMovie to make some basic edits, either!

For some teachers, putting your image out there can make you nervous, which is why I did not even get into Camtasia.  These three approaches can make your instruction float right into that snow day, but make sure you communicate well to students and parents about your expectations.  With your presentations already made, all that’s left to get ready is your charger, a warm blanket and your coffee mug.

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