Pencasts for Introductory Macroeconomics
A 'Pencast' is a video of someone writing on a notebook page, while describing what they are writing. It is made with a special ballpoint pen, called a SmartPen and made by LiveScribe, that has a small video camera looking at the tip and a microphone to record audio.
The Pencasts below teach common material in Introductory Macroeconomics, covering nine topics from the course (each topic includes 2-8 Pencasts, for a total of 40 Pencasts). The style of these Pencasts are friendly and inviting, and emphasize intuition behind graphical modeling and problem solving, which is effectively taught by practicing problems with students. Each Pencast is short (2-9 minutes in length, most are 4-6 minutes) with a specific focus. Some focus on a specific aspect of a concept, like what shifts an investment demand curve; others describe a worked out example, like how to use and compute the expenditure multiplier.
These Pencasts can be used to complement face-to-face lectures or they can enhance an online class. Students in my face-to-face class reported appreciating that they could return to my lecture to listen again to worked-out problems that were tough to learn the first time. In my online class, I use the Pencasts to complement the readings and online quiz tools.
Jump to Considerations for Using and Creating Pencasts below.
Production Possibilities FrontierIntroduction to Production Possibilities Frontiers
Shifts in Production Possibilities Frontiers
Computing Opportunity Costs using Production Possibilities Frontiers
Supply and DemandIntroduction to the Supply and Demand Model
Shifts in the Demand Curve
Shifts in the Supply Curve
Example: Supply and Demand for Food (Part 1 of 2)
Example: Supply and Demand for Food (Part 2 of 2)
Example: Supply and Demand for Ethanol
Market Dynamics When Price is Below the Equilibrium
Market Dynamics When Price is Above the Equilibrium
Measuring the MacroeconomyMeasuring Real and Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
Measuring Inflation using the GDP Deflator
Measuring Inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Measuring Real Value using Price Indices
Loanable Funds MarketRelationship between Saving and Investment
Introduction to Loanable Funds Market
Shifts in the Investment Demand Curve
Shifts in the Saving Supply (Part 1 of 2)
Shifts in the Saving Supply (Part 2 of 2)
Productivity Curve (Economic Growth)Introduction to Productivity Curve
Shifts in the Productivity Curve
Short-run Fluctuations with the Expenditure Multiplier ModelDeriving the Expenditure Multiplier
Multiplier Example: Boost in Consumption
Multiplier Example: Drop in Investment
Causes and Consequences of Changes in the Multiplier
Short-run Fluctuations with the Aggregate Supply / Aggregate Demand ModelIntroduction to Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand
Effects of Consumer Confidence on AS/AD
Effects of a Currency Depreciation on AS/AD
Government Responses to a Recession
Monetary PolicyDemand for Money
Equilibrium in the Market for Money
Shifts in the Demand for Money
Monetary Policy to Combat Macroeconomic Problems (Part 1 of 2)
Monetary Policy to Combat Macroeconomic Problems (Part 2 of 2)
Market for CurrenciesIntroduction to Supply and Demand for Currencies
Shifts in Supply and Demand for Currencies
Effect of Interest Rates on Market for Currencies
Considerations for Using and Creating Pencasts
How to create your own Pencasts: A Pencast is made with a SmartPen and special paper which are produced and sold by LiveScribe. The SmartPen has a camera looking down from an otherwise normal ink ballpoint of the pen which is used to record the pen's actions, and it has a microphone to record audio. The special paper is covered with tiny, light dots that are barely visible to the human eye, but visible to the SmartPen's camera so that it can tell where on the page and what page in the notebook the pen is writing. The SmartPen stores this information digitally, which can then be transferred to your computer using the software that is freely available from LiveScribe. Every page on the special paper includes recording "buttons" (record, pause, stop, play, volume adjust, etc) which you can simply tap with your pen to create Pencasts like those above.
Costs: As of January 2012, the SmartPen starts at $99.95. The base model includes more than enough storage capacity for an entire semester of content for several courses. The SmartPen includes a "starter notebook" of the special dot paper which is about 5in by 8in and 50 sheets (100 sides). Some users might find this sufficient, but I found it worthwhile to purchase a 3-subject notebook. As of January 2012, the 3-subject notebook is only $7.95, is 8.5in by 11in, and has 100 college ruled sheets (200 sides). The entire set of Pencasts above where created with the baseline model of the SmartPen, and used only 57 sides, or just over 1/4 of the 3-subject notebook.
Benefits: Pencasts have a number of benefits over traditional videos. First, they are more interactive. Students can click anywhere on a page to jump to that part of the Pencast. My students report it is useful to easily jump ahead or move back to an important part of the video which they did not completely understand. Secondly, Pencasts are useful for teaching applications for graphical models because the instructor can describe while setting up a problem what they are doing and why. Finally, this technology is easy to learn and Pencasts can be created quickly with some practice.
Drawbacks: The following are some drawbacks to using Pencasts: