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Ask the Experts: How Do I Use Class Time Efficiently?

Q: I always seem to run out of class time. Is there a tool to help me perfect the timing of my lessons?

A: My own classes are 44 minutes long, but, oh, what I could do with just five more minutes! I’ve come to realize that being an effective dance educator means being an efficient one. One way to do this is to have your demonstrations, along with your lectures, prerecorded—that way, you know exactly how long they are. If you do most of your projection from your computer, you can create a screen-capture video of what is being displayed on your monitor while you lecture. This will also allow you to put your lessons online. (For those interested in utilizing the flipped classroom, see March DT or dance-teacher.com—this is a great tool.)

So, how do you make a screen-capture video? If you have a Mac, you can do it with QuickTime, which is automatically loaded on your computer. Within QuickTime, just click on the File menu and choose screen recording. You can select with or without audio. For Windows users, Microsoft has a Screen Recorder utility that you can download. It, too, is easy to use. There are plenty of free third-party software options if you would like a little more functionality. Screencast-O-Matic is a great one for both PC and Mac users. The free version allows you up to 15 minutes of recording, and you can save your video in numerous formats, including as an FLV—which SMART Board users can embed in their Notebook pages. What I like best about Screencast-O-Matic is that it lets you frame just the part of the screen you need. Note that if you use Notebook with your SMART Board, it, too, has similar screen capture capability, but it is only for use in the software.

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

 Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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