Developing Screencasts for Physics

Bridging the gap between physics and non-physics students.

Stephan Caspar
3 min readJul 20, 2017


Explain Everything captures diagrams and annotations, workings out and illustrations and simultaneously records voice as you talk through the idea. With a little more mastery you can create slideshows and animations, incorporate photos and video, add music and sound FX.

The results are the creation of useful and compelling content that you might add to your Blackboard site or webpage.

From the series on Population Growth — Elinor Irish

Dr Elinor Irish, Lecturer, Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton has been using Explain Everything to develop a series of screencasts for her Physics class. This is an interdisciplinary module that includes physics and non-physics students taught together. In part these screencasts were produced as a response to requests for derivations to be put on Blackboard for later reference. Using an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil she was able to create objects and upload them to Blackboard using Panopto.

This last part provided Elinor with a way to capture statistics on number of viewers and views. Last year she found that 80% of students accessed the materials and viewed them, with traffic increasing just before exam time. Strong evidence that they were being used for revision.

The response in the end of year survey was very positive, with comments about how helpful the derivations screencasts were and even the suggestion that other lecturers would benefit from using this technology.

There is an opportunity to capture the teaching that you provide and enhance the learning for the student.

“The real question” as Elinor puts it “ whether this has improved (the students) understanding.” This is trickier to gauge but the evidence suggests that the non-physics students have particularly benefitted. The distribution of marks between physics and non-physics students is much more even after introducing the screencasts.”

The Physics students are in red with other colours representing non-physics students.

It’s clear that the screencasts have been positive for students and the evidence favours continuing with this approach.

There are opportunities for educators to adopt the use of screencasts in a variety of ways, whether they create drawings from scratch or incorporate media into them in a more interactive way. The creation of new objects can lead to a build up of resources that students can go back to whenever they want. If you incorporate lesson capture, demonstration videos, podcasts, 3D images and other interactive elements, then there is an opportunity to teach in a blended way, to create a course that brings together the online with face to face to provide a more accessible offer for students.

The Digital Learning Team in iSolutions will support you with the creation of online resources and guidance for delivering blended learning; whether that’s getting you started with a tool such as Explain Everything or Thinglink, or working with you to create online video or audio podcast. We are able to provide accounts for Explain Everything which is hosted in the cloud and available to download from the App store.



Stephan Caspar

Rides bikes, speaks French, designs things, thrashes axe, paints shed, films, teaches and learns.