Guest post by Swaroop Raju, co-founder of eduCanon
As a platform to make educational videos more interactive and engaging, we often get asked by teachers for tips on the easiest way to get started with video creation. Screencasting (or the direct capture of your computer screen with audio narration) is a simple way to record your lectures for differentiation, flipped learning, concept reinforcement, and much more. The best part about screencasting is that you’re often giving the very same lecture you give in class, but simply with a recorder application running in the background. What are the best tools to get started with screencasting? First off, we need to establish the criteria that we believe are essential for classroom use:
- The application must be free
- The application must have an easy export to YouTube or Google Drive
- The application must have absolutely no learning curve
These are our favorites:
This is a relatively new entrant into the screencasting market and I am enamored with its potential. In order to get started, all you need to do is install the Chrome extension into your browser (Google Chrome required). After installation, simply click the Screencastify extension (see image below) and you are set to record your browser tab or the entire desktop. I haven’t found a screencasting application as simple to use as this one.
When you’re done recording you have the option to upload the video directly to YouTube or Google Drive. As an example, here is a Screencastify video tutorial I made for teachers on how they can use eduCanon to get data on who watched their video and which concepts confused their students. https://youtu.be/JuC_pnE0BvQ
Please note that in the free version of Screencastify you are limited to 10 minutes per recording and will have your videos branded with a Screencastify mark in the top right, which you will see in the video above. In the pro version you will also receive access to cropping features; however, similar features are available for use in other free tools such as eduCanon and TubeChop.
Verdict: Screencastify is the perfect tool to get started with screencasting. You’re not going to be able to do any fancy video editing, but for most classroom use you’re not going to need anything beyond the capabilities of the extension. The biggest downside is the 10-minute limit to recordings in the free version.
Just like Screencastify, this application is simple to use. To get started all you do is head to http://screencast-o-matic.com and hit “Start Recording.” You may be prompted to install their screen-recorder launcher the first time, but after that you can start recording your screen, audio, and even webcam by simply visiting their website.
After you’re done with the recording, the video can be exported as an MP4, uploaded directly to YouTube or published to Screencast-O-Matic’s own video-sharing server. For an example, check out this end-of-semester review that a teacher made with Screencast-O-Matic. Notice that the educator is going through her Prezi presentation just as she would be in her live classroom. Questions were embedded with eduCanon:
Screencast-O-Matic is free to use, but it does limit you to 15 minutes of recording in the free version. Like Screencastify, it will insert a Screencast-O-Matic watermark into each recording.
Verdict: Screencast-O-Matic is simple to use, but not quite as quick as Screencastify. It is great that you can export the videos straight to YouTube, but I do wish it had a Google drive export (which is great for schools that block YouTube). The longer limit of 15 minutes in the free version (as opposed to 10 in Screencastify) makes it a better alternative for higher grade levels where longer videos are often used.
3. QuickTime Player (Mac only)
QuickTime Player comes already installed on every Mac. To make a screen recording, all you need to do is go to File -> New Screen Recording and you’ll start screencasting. The major downside of QuickTime is that the export isn’t as seamless as in Screencastify or Screencast-O-Matic. You will need to first export the file to iMovie, where you can edit the file and then export to YouTube.
Verdict: If you’re a Mac user and don’t want to install any new extensions or applications, this is a good way to get started with screen recording. The extra steps to get the export online are, however, a bit cumbersome.
For more information, visit @eduCanon123 on Twitter.