Friday, November 30, 2012

DAY 22 - Screencast-o-Matic

Creating a screencast is made simple with www.screencastomatic.com.   Screencasts are screen recordings that can be used in many ways, such as presenting instructional lessons or demonstrating features of a program or software.  Kahn Academy is well known for the instructional screencasts developed to help students worldwide.    

There are many reasons to use Screencast-o-matic.  First, it is FREE.  Of course there is a paid version that offers other editing features that the free version does not, but I have found the free version adequate for my needs in the classroom.  Second, it is EASY and user friendly. It is awesome that you do not have to set up an account to create a screencast.  However, if you do opt to create an account, Screencast-o-matic will allow you 2 GB of storage space within Screencast.com (sort of like a YouTube channel).  You will need to have Java running, and when prompted, you will need to click on Accept to allow the recording applet to start screencasting.  Third, videos can be up to 15 minutes in length, which is a definite benefit over using other free web-based tools such as Jing that only allows 5 minute videos.   Finally, videos can be saved multiple ways.   They can be saved as a Youtube video, .mp4, .avi, or .flv file. 

To get started, just go to www.screencastomatic.com and follow the steps:

1.   Click on “Start Recording.”

  1. When you select the “Start Recording”, a dotted frame will appear.  Open the window you wish to record.  For example, if you want to demonstrate how to use Microsoft Word, you would want to open Microsoft Word.  After opening what you want recorded, you can drag and resize the frame to surround the recording area.  If you do not want to drag and resize, you can select any of the frequently used video dimensions (see image below).


  1. When you are ready to record, choose a microphone by selecting the microphone on the recording tool bar.  To begin recording, select the red button.  You can pause throughout the video as needed by hitting pause button and then the record button to begin recording where the video was stopped previously.  You can also toggle record/pause with ALT-P. 

If you do not like what you recorded, you can restart anytime by selecting the restart button. This will delete the entire recording and allow you to restart.  If you make a mistake while recording, the only editing you can do is to rewind to the point you made your mistake and truncate at that position to begin recording again. There are no other editing options in the FREE version. 

  1. Once finished, select “Done” on the recording tool bar and choose how you would like to save the screencast.  You can publish it as a YouTube video or save it as .mp4, .avi, or .flv file.   When saving it you have the option to adding notes and/or captions. 

Here are few tutorial videos.  Some speak of the features offered in the pro version of Screencast-o-matic.  The pro version is $9 per year.  You may be interested in using the pro version for the editing component, one-hour length time, and saving options.  There are many other screencast tutorials on YouTube.


Screencast-O-Matic DemosThis link contains many different tutorials on selected features of Screencast-O-Matic including creating captions
Since I am flipping my Algebra II classes this year, I create many instructional videos weekly for my students using Screencast-o-matic with ActivInspire.  I have also found within my classroom, there is a need to share different types of tutorials such as how to save a file, create a data spreadsheet with a graph, submit an assignment, or navigate a website.  Screencast-o-matic is an easy way to create an instructional lesson, demonstration, or tutorial for students to view and review.  It is also a neat way for students to record video and audio as they demonstrate the proper procedure to solve a problem on an interactive whiteboard.

Your Challenge:  Create a screencast of your own.  Comment on how you could use this to enhance the learning of your students.  Share any other ideas of how this might be a benefit to you, other educators, or students. 

24 comments:

  1. I have been to Khan academy several times in the past. I have also thought that my students could create their own tutorials to demonstrate their understanding of the material and share it with the rest of the class. I am excited to share this with my class and see where it takes us. I hope that it will allow the kids the freedom to explore their creative side and help other students as well.

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  2. I have suggested khan academy to some students who are struggling with certain concepts in math. They seem to like its user friendly interface. I have used screencastomatic before and like how simple it is to use. Since I have Camtasia studio, I prefer it and its editing power. I, too, am flipping my algebra 2 classroom this year and am making videos of the lectures for students to watch at home. Just yesterday, I made a quick video over factoring a trinomial that I shared on MBC with my algebra 1 and algebra 2 students, as well as my department head. I teach them a method I call the "Big X" and while it is more of a way to organize the numbers that are needed, students tend to forget a step in the process. Another student said his tutor had no idea what he was trying to show her, so the video can help clear that up. I like having videos of things so students can refer back to them and rewatch lessons if they need to.

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  3. While I have every intention of incorporating screencasts into my lessons, I just haven't gotten there yet. My idea is to use it to guide students through grammar topics with independent practice at a knowledge/comprehension level before coming together in class for analysis/application. For that matter, most introductory instruction could be done through screencasts. I hadn't thought of having students create their own screencasts to show what they know. In that way, a screencast could be similar to a PhotoStory with narration. My students create websites containing their multi-genre research projects. By adding screencasting, they could create a "tour" of their site, reflecting on their work and justifying their choices. I'm definitely moving screencasting up my "to do" list.

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  4. I knew this was available but never went to a site for it before. Thanks. I can see uses for it in math tenfold. Students could explain a problem as an assessment tool; describing everything going on. I am currently at the national math conference and this ties in to several things I have seen/ heard. Good tool!

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  5. I've wanted to use screencasts in my classroom for some time, but just haven't tried it yet. I like the idea of having students demonstrate knowledge or skill, but I can see myself using it with subs or if I need to make tutorials for my students. I do not flip my class, but can see using this when I want students to get extra practice or learn a skill before we cover it in class. Thank you for sharing this!

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  6. I think my students are a bit too young to use screencasts, but I will say that last year I was "attending" a webinar on DIBELS, and I was chatting with one of the other attendees from northern Indiana. She told me how I could install DIBELS software on our netbooks. She then emailed me a screencast showing and narrating how to do it. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So, I guess my idea on how to use screencasting is to help each other use all of these great web 2.0 tools.

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  7. This is blocked on our junior high netbooks. However, many students have used this at home to create many projects. I gave my students a screenc asting assignment earlier this year and this site, by far, is the simplest to use. They have shown their research and presented their findings all using their own voices and visual aids. This is GREAT!

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  8. The more I thought about it, I think younger kiddos could demonstrate how to do a particular math concept (add, subtract, problem solve, etc.) or even explain their thinking after a reader's workshop lesson. Posting to a class website or blog would be a great way to share with parents the way we are teaching different math/reading concepts that may be different than what parents were used to when they were in school.

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  9. This would be cool for creating recorded lectures using PowerPoint. Or I could use it with my Promethean Board and sort of make it like an interactive white board (like ShowMe). I could post the video files on My Big Campus so students could go back to watch to study for tests, or if they missed class that day, or I could even give a lecture on a day when I know I will be absent! I could also use it as another option for student's to use for presentation.

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  10. I have used this program for awhile now. I use this for reading tests to my students. I teach special education, and some student need to have the test read aloud. This allows them to review and work at their own pace. The main drawback is that students are not always on task as they have their ear buds in. They may be working on the test, but it reality, listening to music. I think it would be a great resource if they would use it for the intended purpose.

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  11. This could be used to make classroom videos (like Khan academy), student presentations, record lab instructions for absent students. As I play around with this in the future, will check to see the ease of posting it to my Edmodo site.

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  12. I was asked by a fellow teacher with how to capture a Skype conversation she was going to have her kids meet someone at a museum, like a virtual field trip. This could be used easily for that purpose. I could see using this in music to give instructions about a project, and then post on MBC. Definitely the free price and fewer accounts to remember are benefits for me.

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  13. I think it would be neat to have my students use a website like this for their cooking videos, as opposed to just recording it on their netbooks and playing it for the class. I assign so many projects where the students can choose a variety of topics, or ways to present - if I set this up to explain it to them, they could view it as often as they need to get the instructions as opposed to me repeating it over... and over.

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  14. I have seen this used many times for instructional videos. I have never found a need for it myself. I have often thought I could use it for the beginning of the year to help guide my 6th graders to different websites to use.

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  15. I used this before I discovered Camtasia. I love TechSmith and the way they support teachers, so I use their products as much as I can.
    We know that students need multiple exposures to master a concept, so I gather videos from several sources and group them into a MentorMob playlist. For example, in a few weeks, my 4th graders will be using protractors, so I will record a few videos myself, find some on YouTube, etc., put them into a playlist, and post the playlist on my site. I did the same thing with "long division," and other big ideas in math, etc. I tell my students all the time that I want them to find the video that works for them. I always try to find some that involve music and/or rap, for those learners who respond to that style.
    I have my after-school tech club kiddos use SnagIt, which does the same thing as Screencast, but has several more editing features.

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  16. I really enjoyed reading about this program, however, I'm not sure I will be using this in 3rd grade. Really neat program though. I might try it out during the Christmas break.

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  17. I've used this program before to make small little angel tutorials. I've heard of Camtasia as well..what are the differences?

    Making videos is good for sub plans, for tech how-to's, or even to allow students an option to work at their own pace within a classroom.

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    1. Camtasia is an installed software program that adds loads of editing and customizations to the screencast. There is a premium cost for the software though ($179 for PC, $75 for Mac). I use Camtasia for my screencasts, as do many of the ICATS. However, for small screencasts in the classroom, screencastomatic.com is a great free option that is easy enough for the kids to use without difficulty.

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  18. Love the idea of helping out control freaks, such as myself, with being able to teach a lesson when not there! Also, it would be great to be able to show key concepts to parents/tutors/students when they need to know the process taught in class. I think I'd like to start by making a Screencast for teaching other teachers professional development, even if just school wide!

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  19. I like the idea for using this in case a sub is there. r I wonder if the students would listen better to an introduction to somehting if I did a screen cst instead? I can see this being helpful to make when I need to use a new technology tool with the class. I could play it and be walking around to help the class or staff.I can also see my students using this to record the steps they used during their Science investigations. I am finishing my Masters and one of the pieces I am looking at this week is how technology is used for assessmnet. I can see this being a tool to use for that. I will be sure to add this one in. I will have to try this over break.

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  20. I think this could really be helpful for my students with special needs. I find myself constantly repeating directions and instructions. This could help eliminate some of that. I love the idea I read above about using it to read tests to students. I can't wait to try that!

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  21. It would be a really nice tool for showing students how to do something online, like build a Glogster or comment on our blog. When we need a refresher or have new students, just pull up the same, organized explanation. Fluster-free!

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  22. I love this tool for presenting information! My students have commonly utilized Powerpoint or Prezi or other presenting tools, but this is great for really learning to utilize their 1:1 tools. I also LOVE the idea of using it from a teaching standpoint, for instance if there is a substitute and a lesson must continue due to time constraints or other issues! It is a nice way to maintain pace!

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  23. I have used this website to create short tutorials for the Common Core standards. Information can be shared and captured on Screencast-omatic and then stored on the shared drive for teachers to access as professional development. Very easy to use!

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