Easy Screencasting With Screencast-O-Matic

A few weeks ago I was facilitating iPad trainings and had searched for resources to support the teachers in using the iPad as a production and collaboration tool. I found a lot of demonstration videos on YouTube to show how to use different apps that we were highlighting in the sessions and I linked those resources on the training site.

As we worked through the session there were certain iPad skills I suggested and demonstrated, but then after leaving the session I realized I didn’t have any resources linked for those skills that participants could refer back to. That is where Screencast-O-Matic came in. Some colleagues introduced me to the computer web 2.0 tool, Screencast-O-Matic and I knew it was just the fix for my participants need. I signed up for a free account, followed the directions on the screen, quickly created a screencast, uploaded it to YouTube (also downloaded to my laptop as an MP4), and made a link to the “how-to” video on our Weebly training site. It took about 15 minutes from start to finish which I am sure will be even quicker the next time through.

As you can see in my video below, it includes a screencast of the iPad screen (created using Reflector to mirror my iPad image on my computer), my voice, and a video of me talking (not really necessary but I was playing with all the features). I felt like the tool was very easy to figure out once I click the “Start Recording” button with on-screen directions.

The free version allows for 15 minutes of recording time, recording the screen and webcam, publishing to YouTube or downloading as MP4. One challenge in the free version to be aware of is that you can’t go back and re-record but have to start all over if you make a mistake. Not a big deal if you have a script to follow and have practiced what you are demonstrating before you begin recording. This seems to be everything I need for now, but some of the options and features of the pro version includes: no watermark, unlimited recording time, editing tools, webcam only recording, the ability to publish to Google Drive/Vimeo/Box/Dropbox, and more.

In those iPad sessions, other things we discussed was how to empower learners. One way the group talked about was giving students access to resources and allowing them to decide if and when they might need them. Creating screen-casts and posting them on a teacher website or WebQuest would be a great way to offer optional scaffolding for learners to support their thinking and self-directedness. Students could even create their own screen-casts and post them to a class/school YouTube or SchoolTube account so that everyone could benefit from their expertise and knowledge.

Screencast-O-Matic isn’t the only screen-casting software available, but it is simple to use and the free account offers a lot of features and options. What’s your favorite screen-casting tool? How have you and your students used screen-casting software to support thinking and learning?

Additional Resources
How to Record Your iPad w/Screencast-O-Matic
Screencast-O-Matic Help Channel

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialist, Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer, and sporadic blogger for the eMINTS National Center. This post was originally posted at the Higgins’ Helpful Hints Blog.