Screencasting for the Masses

Posted on 12/27/12
The Module Off

I've read The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7 cover to cover, I've read through countless docblocks of code comments, and through endless blog posts here on the Drupal Planet. All of these text-based learning materials have been absolutely essential to me continuing to grow as a Drupalist. That being said, I've also found that the screencast medium has immense power to engage me and to present new information and techniques with extraordinary clarity. Sites like Drupalize.me, Lynda.com, Modules Unraveled, and many more are so popular because young Drupalists hoping to learn the ins and outs of Drupal flock to this visual type of learning. Screencasting allows for the type of learning that's usually reserved for conferences and camps to happen in everyone's office around the world, and I'm glad that the Drupal community is using the medium so well.

It takes a lot of work to put together a screencast (or series of screencasts) on a topic, so how can we convince more Drupalists to do it!? I've started a new place for the community to do just that. The Module Off is a bi-weekly Drupal module development challenge. Anyone can submit a module and a screencast in answer to the challenge. The best example module with the best explanation wins a prize! This prize for this challenges is a generously donated Nexus 7 android tablet! My hope is that this motivation will help all of us Drupalists to do more screencasting so that we can all learn more from each other.

The first challenge calls for a little AJAX work and some date manipulation. Think you got what it takes? ;)

Comments

I agree that screencasts are essential for growing the Drupal community and kudos for pushing this idea and launching the Module Off site. I note that you don't include a screencast yourself to demo the idea. It would have been helpful. When I click over to the Module Off site, everything indicates that the focus is on module development. Screencasts are not so easy to make, and I think that's the reason they're not more widely used as a Drupal teaching tool. If part of the goal of Module Off is to encourage more screencasting, you might consider adding a section of advice, tips, and tools for making them, and also perhaps a second contest open to any Drupal-related screencast. I personally think module development is the area where they are least needed and effective; on the other hand, 1-2 minute screencasts geared to front end developers and site maintainers would be incredibly useful. Along with your examples above, I would recommend the screencasts that Johan Falk did for Node One (http://nodeone.se/sv/learn-drupal), especially his approach of breaking up big topics into 10-minute segments. Finally, as a contributor to The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7, kudos for your cover to cover reading!

mkadin
12/29/12 2:25 pm

Not a bad idea at all. Maybe we should include some contests that are about explanatory screencasts of existing module. Also, I should have included those Node One screencasts in the original post as they have been so helpful, and were totally free!

My original purpose in adding the screencasting component to the Module Development challenges was to have people explain their code, but so far, the submissions haven't been doing that. They've been just demonstrating their modules. I want to see some real learning come out of the screencasts, so I'll try to adjust the language on the site to better explain the purpose.

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