A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Graphic display of how many books kids in Brussels read for the Summer Reading Program, 2010As this picture demonstrates, sometimes a picture really does a better job conveying a message. In this case, a visual display of hundreds of starfish, one for each book read, has a much bigger impact than just stating that the children of Brussels read 241 books during the 2010 Summer Reading Program. The effectiveness of a visual presentation is exactly the reason I’ve recently added the screen capture tool Jing to my list of favorite Web tools.

I will admit that I had heard of Jing before this month. But I’ve been too busy and distracted with school and work to try it without having a good reason to do so. Well, for a reason, you can’t beat a school assignment to create a presentation with audio where the instructor strongly suggests you use this free program. As with every other time one of my assignments pushed me to try a new tech tool, I was really glad I finally got around to trying it.

Jing is perfect for those times when it is just easier to show someone than to explain with words. You can capture a screenshot and immediately a link to it to anyone. You can even markup the image before saving and sending it. So you can take a shot of a map and then draw your own “X” to mark the spot. Or you can create videos of up to 5 minutes, complete with audio. Choose the area of your screen you want to capture and narrate as you go. You can do something as basic as record a Powerpoint presentation with audio or capture actions as you do them. The tool lets you stop and start, so you can switch windows or cut to the next step.

I can imagine lots of applications for this, both personally and professionally. How many times have you tried to explain to someone how to do something on their computer when it would be so much easier to show them? This would be great for recording a walk-through of how to set up an account and download e-books for your library. Or use it to introduce databases offered on the library website. You can save the video to Screencast.com or YouTube. What a great instruction tool!

As an example of what you can do, here’s a link to my class presentation on metadata in to Digital Photo Collections:

Controlled Vocabulary in the Metadata of Two Digital Image Collections


About booksnquilts

I'm the Children's Services Coordinator for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library in Central Virginia.
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