Dive Into Screencasting

Looking forward to an afterschool session tomorrow on screencasting.  I have done a number of screencasts, using different (mostly free) products, for many educational purposes.  Sometimes, I use screencasts to explain class problems, so students can review procedures.  Other times, I have made screecasts to demonstrate ideas for colleagues, like Flubaroo, Google Drive and Sketchpad.  Here are some resources for both my district colleagues, and my blog friends.


Screencast-O-Matic:  Free sign-up, requires java, and can upload directly to YouTube.  15-minute screencast limit.

Jing:  Free download and sign-up.  5 minute screencast limit.  Share to twitter and Facebook.

SMART Notebook:  I’m always surprised when colleagues don’t realize a recorder comes with this software.  Create wmv files, which upload to YouTube.

doceriDoceri:  Free for the iPad.  I love sitting on my couch on a Sunday morning and crafting a lesson at the touch of a finger.  Program “stops” into your playback, and record your voice over the playback.  Uploads to YouTube.


Making a video which will be useful to the viewer can take practice and patience.  Here are a few tips I have for somebody new to the screencasting game:

  1. Keep it short and snappy.  Think about your message, and deliver it succinctly.  I have not run across many people looking to rewind and replay my mad ramblings.  Try not to improvise or go off-message…which brings me to…
  2. Write a script, or at least an outline.  Think about the bullet points you want to cover in your screencast, jot them down, and stick to the script.
  3. Rehearse the script.  For me, this means simply going through my bullet points.  What are you going to say, in what order, using what resources?
  4. Rehearse the timings.  When I first got started making screencasts, this was something I often did not think out enough, and now obsess over.  What do you plan to show on your screen?  What pictures, website, programs or applets should be open?  Don’t wait to hit record before opening a program, which you know will choose that moment to act up.  Have everything minimized and ready to go, and do a run-through.
  5. Be prepared to start over.  I need to start making a director’s cut version of my mistakes in screencasts.  Quality matters.  Fortunately, with a screencast, you can start over and make it better.

Here are some sites and articles which are also helpful to the new screencaster:

Teacher Training Videos: a wealth of videos which walk teachers through the basics of many tech tools.  Find screen capture tools near the bottom of the page, on the left.

Educause – Why do screencasts?  Mike Ruffini promotes the benefits of creating screencasts, along with strategies for implementation and evaluation.

Turn To Your Neighbor blog – a quick-start guide to getting started with screencasting.  Includes a pdf of the quick-start guide.  Great suggestions for the new user.

TeachThought – How to Screencast Like the Khan Academy.  Has overviews of products for the advanced user (read: not-free).  More insights into the benefits of screencasts.

STEM Fizz: The Friday Institute for Educational Innovation.  Not necessarily dedicated to screencating, but good ideas for flipping the classroom and the rationale behind this practice.

When you have recorded your first video, and you start populating the YouTube channel, let’s embed those videos in blogs and webpages to share with the world.  Here is one on the plug-in for Google Drive, called Flubaroo, which has proven popular as an easy tool for educators.  I like to think I have gotten better since this video, one of my first.  And I have also learned the value of a quality microphone.


By Bob Lochel

HS Math Teacher. Hatboro-Horsham School District, Horsham, PA.

2 replies on “Dive Into Screencasting”

My Screen Recorder Pro will work better for you. It is an excellent screencast tool. Records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone – or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to AVI, WMV, MP4, or FLV. Just perfect for creating tutorials, demos, and presentations. Plus, java is not required and there are no limits on recording length. Also, the recordings play back on any device.

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