How to Screencast in 3 Simple Steps

Screencasting made simple

Do you need to screencast but you’re not sure how to start? Let’s solve that problem right now. There’s a simple tool that works on any PC or computer with a web browser. Java has to be enabled for it to run.  Screencast-o-matic  is free and easy. Let’s talk about how it can be used in your classroom to quickly record screencasts.

How to screencast

How to Screencast in 3 Simple Steps

Screencasting Step 1: Pick a Computer and Play

Screencast-o-matic can be used on any computer. Go to the website and click Start Recording and just test it out. Before you set up, make sure that you can run the program on your computer. Just play.

Microsoft Surface for Me

My favorite screencasting computer is my Microsoft Surface Pro. It  is the best laptop I’ve ever had. (And no, I’m not sponsored by Microsoft.) I always have it open and on my desk.  I take the keyboard off and lay it on my desk and run screencastomatic. It is also great because we have PC’s in my classroom and I want the screen to look familiar.

Touch Screen is Great But Not Required

If you don’t have a Microsoft Surface, don’t worry, just use your screen on any computer to record what is happening and talk into the microphone. Touch screen is nice because you can write on the screen more quickly than using your mouse but it isn’t required.

(Remember that if you’re on an iPad you’ll want to use something like Explain Everything or another app, but we’re talking computers today.)

Why I Use Screencast-o-matic

While I’ve used lots of apps for Screencasting, my go-to now is Screencast-o-matic just because I can have it on any computer anywhere (it uses Java.) (I also don’t have it in my budget purchase Camtasia right now.)

Just go to Screencast-o-matic and click “start recording.” Do check your microphone. If you’re nervous, watch their videos because they walk you right through it.

Screencasting Step 2: Plan Your Points (One Note)

One Note for Planning and Writing

When I am recording a review video for my class, I like to open up One Note with a tab for each thing I need to cover and then turn on Screencast-o-matic.

Using a pen, I draw on the One Note tabs and then I have a video and drawings in One Note that I can share with my students. (See below for a review of microprocessors.)

Other options

If you want to draw and have a touch screen, you can use anything that you can draw in – Paint – or even PowerPoint slides and turn on the pen feature. Just make sure you’re recording and test before you start.

If You Don’t Have a Touch Screen

If you don’t have a touchscreen, go ahead and get your drawings ready, or you can draw with your mouse with a bit of practice. (I was never superb at it.) You can also just have PowerPoint slides ready and talk through them. There are so many options – but go EASY with something you already know how to use.

Step 3: Record and Share

Typically, I record AFTER I’ve taught the lesson because it is fresh on my mind. It is rare that I have to edit these at all. Screencast-o-matic Pro gives you some editing features, but if it is short, you may not have to edit at all. (I rarely do.)

The free version has 15 minutes per upload (scroll down to see features), lets you record from your screen AND a webcam. You can publish to YouTube or 3 other major formats that you can upload or put somewhere else (like in your Dropbox.) When you finish, it will ask you how you want to share. You can also upload to screencast-o-matic and email out the link.

Screencast For Every Classroom, Not Just for Flipped Classrooms

I don’t flip my classroom. We’re in rural Georgia, and far too few of my students have high-speed internet at home. It just wouldn’t be fair or practical.

Augmenting your my classroom teaching with videos is a good idea because it helps you reach every child. Not every student remembers or learns the same way. Give them videos to assist them in review.  (Eventually every textbook should include helpful screencasts you can use for this.)

When you record a review video, you give them a way to learn it again and in a different way. I made the video above and embedded it on the wiki page for review before we had our test. Students may have missed other things, but I had only one who missed anything about the configuration of processors.

Tools Used to Screencast:

We should all know how to screencast

Here’s the thing about screencasts. Once you record one, you have it! Play with screencast-o-matic free and you can even put the video in other places besides YouTube.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

7 thoughts on “How to Screencast in 3 Simple Steps

  1. Vicki, I’m loving the screencast but am still having problems finding a software I like to write on documents I create. PDF does well with the screencast and I love how it follows the pen. Windows Journal… not so much. The writing features are great but I did not have the nice highlights on my mouse location. Suggestsions??

    • OK. So, I need to make sure I understand. You’re looking for software to use to WRITE on documents AS you Screencast? Have you tried One Note? So, you’ve tried Adobe Pro and don’t like that? I’m guessing you’re on the PC and using Screencastomatic or Camtasia? Let me know and I’ll see what I can find for you. Also, @jonbergmann and Todd Nesloney are great resources as well as the #flipclass hashtag – if I don’t know the answer, we’ll find someone who does.

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      *Vicki A. Davis @coolcatteacher * Author, *Reinventing Writing *(2014) and *Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds*
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      • I had a hiccup today. I was trying Screencast-O-Matic with Adobe PDF on the PC using the touch screen and every time I try to start a vertical line with the pencil tool using a stylus or my finger, the document scrolls. I’ve turned off as many of the flick settings as I can and was still frustrated. I went back to using Windows Journal. Suggestions?

        I’ve got the IT guy looking for a Surface in the district for me to use. No luck there yet.

        Thanks so much for recommending Jon Bergmann and Todd Nesloney, I’ve added both to my Feedly (and shared them with colleagues). Thanks again for your help.

    • You are correct I am trying to write on a document as I Screencast. I like Adobe Pro but was wondering if there was something more math friendly. For things like inequalities and shading. I don’t have OneNote. (At least not at school and no touch screen on the home computer) I am on a PC and am using Screencast-O-Matic.

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