Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Screencastomatic

*This post is by Carla Leake Crews, one of the school librarians serving at Shades Valley High School/JCIB. 

In theOctober post titled Screen RecordingTools, Michelle posed the question “What other ways can you use/have you used screen recorders in the library?” Our library has recently used screencast-o-matic.com to create tutorials and capture on-screen information. It is web-based, FREE software that records everything happening on your computer screen while you narrate! After showing teachers how to use this site at one of our recent Teacher Tech workshops, teachers commented on how easy it was to use…. no email registration, no software downloads, and no file conversions! There are a variety of screen capture softwares available, including Jing, CamStudio, Screenr, and Movavi. But, I’ll tell you a little more about Screencast-o-matic since our library found it easy to use and within our budget. 

What you need:
  1. For Screencast-o-matic, you need the most recent version of Java installed on your computer. See Java.com for downloads (Not sure if you have Java? The “Do I have Java?” button from the site’s main page can check your computer for the software and/or latest version).
  2. A microphone. Laptops generally have internal microphones. You will need to attach an external microphone if using a desktop computer.

What to do:
  1. Go to www.screencast-o-matic.com and click on the blue “Start Recording” button.
  2. Fit the dotted lines around the portion of your screen that you want to record.
  3. There is a menu bar at the bottom of the dotted box. You may want to adjust the recording volume before you begin.


  1. Record your presentation.
  2. Click “done” and preview your recording.
  3. If you are pleased with the recording, you can choose to upload or save your video. The “publish to video file” option will allow you to save the video to your computer or jump drive.
  4. Select the file type for your video. This should be determined by what program you will use to play back the video. For example, if you record a video on a MacBook, save it to a jump drive, and want to transfer it to a Windows machine, you want to select the “Windows Media Player (AVI)” save option. On this same menu, there are options for adding notes and captions to your recording. Don’t forget the SAVE button all the way down at the bottom!



Would those instructions be easier to understand if I showed you? Certainly! Here’s a brief tutorial: http://www.screencast.com/t/1ZZxeKtvVeH

How to share your video with others:
  • If students will be viewing your video from school computers, you can save the video to a jump drive and transfer it to the student machines.
  • If you want to send parents or teachers a link to your video, you will need a site to host your video: YouTube, TeacherTube, SchoolTube, etc. You upload your recording and then send people a link to the site so they can view it. Some screen recording tools, such as Jing and Screencast-o-matic, will also host your videos on their sites. Sometimes the hosting requires a paid membership (Screencast-o-matic’s Pro account is currently $12 a year; Jing will host a limited amount for free at screencast.com).
  • Upload the video file to your JefCoEd SharePoint page.

Screencasting ideas for librarians:
  • Create and post a video that shows students and parents how to register and log hours for Scholastic’s summer reading program
  • Create a video demonstration that reminds students how to access the school’s OPAC from home or navigate the AVL databases
  • Create and post videos for teachers that shows them how to use a new software or website
Screencasting ideas for students:
  • Be the tour guide of a virtual museum – have students record themselves as they “walk” viewers through the online content of the Smithsonian Institute or Modern Museum of Art
  • Create your own digital story – after using an online comic generator to produce comic strips or mini graphic novels, have students narrate their story
Screencasting ideas for teachers:
  • Record lessons/PowerPoint slides with voice-over narration. Post these for students who are absent, students who need to hear an explanation more than once, or even leave a recorded lesson for a substitute teacher.
  • Record yourself correctly pronouncing words that you have typed on the screen. This type of tutorial could be used with new readers, ESL learners, and older students who take foreign language courses.

The possibilities are endless! Anything you can display on your computer screen can be captured in movie format. Give it a try… you may end up adding “producer and director” to your job description!




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