Screencasting - creating videos by recording your screen - is a skill that every teacher should possess. If you are a teacher and do not yet possess this skill, if and when you do you’ll be kicking yourself for not learning earlier.
So many possible uses for screencasts
There are many reasons for creating screencasts, for example:
To show your department how to access your online filing system.
To answer that tricky tech question from a colleague - and therefore be able to send the same video to the next ten colleagues who are bound to ask the same question!
To create educational videos for your students.
(And of course, to show your ageing mother (as many times as she needs to hear it) how to send you an email or a Facebook chat message or how to get into her Pinterest account.)
The most common mistake made by teachers preparing to create education screencasts for their students
There’s one mistake most teachers make when planning to embark on the task of creating education screencasts. Here it is: “I’ll just use a free recorder. I can’t be bothered trying to edit my screencast videos - it looks difficult and will take too much time. And with a free recorder, I’ll also save money!”
Using a free recorder (which does not allow for editing) is OK for teachers who:
are only ever going to create 1-minute videos, or
will only ever create less than 5-10 videos over the course of their life
However, the vast majority will likely end up creating numerous videos longer than a minute each and so my message to them is “Use a screencasting app that allows you to edit (and that is easy to use).”
And now for the 6 reasons for teachers to use Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe when creating educational videos.
Note that the entry-level app called Screencast-O-Matic is a recorder only (no editor). Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe has the same recorder but with editing features.
Reason One Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe allows teachers to perform all the edits (and more) that they are likely ever to require.
Reason Two By using Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe you will experience stress-free recording - you will not have to record videos with the fear of making a mistake. With free recorders, when creating a 7-minute video, for example, when you make a mistake at the 6-minute mark you have to start all over again! But with Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe, if you make several mistakes, you’ll easily remove them as part of the editing process. Other things you will want to remove from your videos are those 5 second page load times, long pauses between sentences (when you were wondering what to do next) and that moment your neighbour swore loudly due to hitting his thumb with the hammer.
Reason Three Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe will also allow you to add explainer text at various points in your videos, as well as the occasional arrow, highlight and border. You can even use ‘blur’ to, for example, blur out email addresses when demonstrating an aspect of an online program.
Reason Four Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe will also allow you to mix extra images and video footage (recorded on your phone, camera or your screen) into your current screencast. This is a game changer!
Reason Five Let’s say you’ve recorded a 7-minute education screencast but there’s one section where the words you used are either incorrect or you simply became tongue-tied. (I've created hundreds of videos and this still happens to me!) With Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe you can re-record audio for that section, mute the audio on the section to be improved, import the new audio, and you are done. Reason Six The $US18 per year price tag! Features 3-6 above are usually the domain of ‘professional’ apps that will cost $100 - $250. Sure, the professional apps are superior to Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe (and so they should be - they are designed to create more sophisticated videos) but you are also paying for features that most teachers will never need.
In summary, Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe is super value for money and the ideal screencasting-and-editing tool for the vast majority of teachers embarking on this path.
For an overview of Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe check out the video below
But what about iPads and tablets?
In this day of mobile-everything, you can be forgiven for thinking that this article is irrelevant for mobile device users. But no, it is relevant:
If you want to use an iPad app to record video, go for it.
But if you are going to record ANYTHING more sophisticated than a 2-minute rough scribble video then you need to be able to edit.
I have not yet seen an iPad or tablet app that records video and allows you to edit to anywhere near the capability of Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe. Note that the vast majority of iPad/tablet apps (if not all of them) do not record the screen - they record inside an app which means you cannot demonstrate accessing other apps, changing settings, etc., something that teachers whose students use iPads need be able to demonstrate via video.
The solution is to mirror your device to a computer. This means that what you see on the mobile device will be seen on the computer. Then use Screencast-O-Matic Deluxe to record and edit the video. This allows for the best of both worlds.
I have no financial ties with Screencast-O-Matic. Truth be known, Camtasia is my screencasting tool of choice, but my needs are beyond those of most teachers. My aim is always to simplify the decision-making process for teachers and have them avoid the common pitfalls regarding the use of technology and strategies for the classroom.