I’ve written about screencasting before but after producing a screencast almost every day in my class, I thought it was time for an update!

What is a Screencast?

A screencast is a recording of your computer screen accompanied by your voice.

Why Screencast?

For a teacher, this is a great way to record demos, powerpoint presentations, assignment overviews and anything else you use the computer for. I create screencasts for most things I do in the computer lab. Here are some examples of how you might consider screencasting:

  • Demo software
  • Record a Math or Science lesson using a tablet computer
  • Record voice with slides for a PowerPoint
  • Assignment overviews

The best part about it is that screencasting is very little additional work for you.

For example:

I have a lapel microphone attached to my classroom computer and Screencast-O-Matic as my recording software (although I have also used Open Broadcaster Software but Screencast-O-Matic is less fiddly). Whenever I am going to demo something to the class or show them something I anticipate future questions on, I clip on the mic and quickly set up my software to record. Once I’m done my demo – something that I would do anyways – I can publish it to my YouTube channel.

Screencasting software

Screencasting can be performed by a variety of programs and utilities. All you need is a microphone and one of the following:

  • Windows doesn’t have a built-in solution, however there is a great free tool called Screencast-o-matic that works right from your browser window! Its free for recordings 15 minutes or less.
  • On Mac computers, there is a native solution called Quicktime. Mac users simply have to open up Quicktime and go to File -> New Screen Recording. Detailed instructions here.
  • Another option for those that want a higher degree of control over settings is Open Broadcaster Software. The nice thing about this one, if you can figure it out, is that it is 100% free.

Let’s get started!

Screencast-o-matic has a good video tutorial series here.

I recommend watching the Start Recording video for a brief overview.


Ways to use Screencasting in your class

Anything on your screen can be recorded as video for your students to review in the future. This could be as simple as a live demo where you show them how to properly set-up a Word document to write an essay or perhaps make a screencast of a PowerPoint you were going to show the class anyways. Record lessons that students can access anytime, anywhere.

#1 Live Screencasting

This is probably the easiest way to get into screencasting because it takes the least amount of commitment. In most cases, you would be recording something that you are already doing.

  • Record procedures and answer common questions during class (or something you do anyways, but now students have it for reference)
  • Live recording of a presentation (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.)
  • Record a software demo for students (ex. I would use this for something like Photoshop or Video Editing for my own students so they can pause and rewind to see some of the difficult steps)
  • If you have a tablet, record math examples as you do them in class

#2 Flipped Classroom/Online/Hybrid Learning

For teachers that want students to view lessons at home and have more time to engage with subject material in class. More info on flipped classrooms here.

  • Record your lesson in advance (using PowerPoint or whatever format you prefer) and post it for students to view for homework
  • Record lessons that students can access anytime, anywhere.
  • Make a video to help your substitute teacher if you have to miss class.
  • Incorporate a webcam into your screencasts so students can see you as you explain something.

#3 Student-created Content

Invite students to explain course concepts in a screen cast.

  • iPads with digital whiteboard software like “Explain Everything” or “ShowMe” puts screencasting in students hands.
  • If computers are available, use Screencast-o-matic through the browser

Publishing Your Screencast

There are a few options to publish your videos. The most streamlined way that I have found is to download the video file to disk and then manually upload to YouTube. Uploading through YouTube on Screencast-o-matic does not allow you to upload as “unlisted”. You will have to create an account on YouTube in order to use it (or you can log in through your Google account).

YouTube upload settings:

Unlisted: an unlisted YouTube video can be accessed by anyone with a link to the video which you could put on a class website (perhaps behind a password).

Private: only you can see the video. This is probably not very useful for a screencast.

Public: Anyone can find and watch your video on YouTube. If you don’t mind other people seeing your video you could upload as public. If you decide to do it this way be sure to tag your video with relevant tags so people can find your stuff (ex. education, math, algebra)

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