Tools for screencasting and video

Several decades of research has demonstrated the many benefits that video in education provides for students throughout the learning process. Videos and screencasts enable students to learn at their own pace, make meaningful and deeper connections with the content and in many cases, there has been evidence of increased engagement and motivation (Wilmot, Bramhall & Radley; 2012).

A screencast is a digital recording of computer screen output, also known as a video screen capture, often containing audio narration. The term screencast compares with the related term screenshot; whereas screenshot generates a single picture of a computer screen, a screencast is essentially a movie of the changes over time that a user sees on a computer screen, enhanced with audio narration.

Screencasting Best Practices

Before you begin you will need:

  • A laptop (or desktop computer) and a microphone. We recommend a good quality USB microphone.
  • A free account. You’ll need that to be able to share your screencast with students and faculty. Alternatively, you can use YouTube to store your video – you’ll need to create a YouTube account if you want to do this.
  • (Optional) Earphones/headphones for listening to the audio of your screencast. If your earphone/headphone has a built-in microphone, you can use it to improve the sound of your screencast.
  1. Have a plan. Having a script is very helpful. Studies have shown that 6 minutes is a good length for recordings.
  2. Organize resources you’ll need (Word or PDF file, website, etc).
  3. Review best practices for screencasting (see Additional Resources at the end of this document).
  4. Choose a quiet room for your screencast recording.
  5. If you need to, review how to make a screencast – click on Tutorials on the Screencast-O-Matic website to access video tutorials.
  6. Go to
  7. Click on “Start Recording” (you’ll have the option to download an app)
  8. Set up your “stage” (choose to resize the dashed rectangle or choose to record the entire screen). Set the zoom on your document or website so that text can be ready easily.
  9. Record a brief 1 minute screencast to check for sound quality.
  10. Rehearse your screencast.
  • Once your “stage” is set, you are ready to click on the red Rec button.
  • For your first screencast, expect to take numerous takes as you learn your way around the software and “perfect” your screencasting technique.
  • Once you have completed the recording, review it.
  • Re-record if necessary.

Three tips for recording

  1. Once the recording starts, do not start talking for about 3 seconds. As you finish the recording, wait about 3 seconds after you finish talking to stop the recording. You can trim the beginning and the ending of your screencast before publishing your screencast.</li>
  2. Speak slowly and carefully – the audio is the trickiest part of a screencast.</li>
  3. Use the Pause button to your advantage. Pause between major points you want to make. This will allow you to recompose. You can also pause using Option-P for Macs and Alt-P for PCs.
  • Once you are satisfied with your recording, you are ready to publish it. We recommend using Screencast-OMatic’s hosting service.
  • When publishing, you can choose to make your video “Searchable” through Google or to make not searchable.
  • Once published, you can open the uploaded file. On that page, you can get the link or embed code that you can use to share your video through your Blackboard course.

Tools and Additional Resources


Screencast-O-Matic is a free screen recorder for instant screen capture and sharing. Use it right in your browser without an install at or download to run on your computer at anytime.

**CTL has a Pro account to create longer videos and use advanced editing tools. Please contact Tracy Mitchell-Ashley at x3093 for the account details if you would like to access the Pro version of the software.


Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create “grids” to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is like a message board where teachers can pose questions, called “topics,” and their students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display. Grids can be shared with classes, small groups, or any collection of users interested in a common strand of questions. Each grid can hold an unlimited number of topics and each topic can hold an unlimited number of responses. Topics can be text-based or include a resource such as an image, video, Giphy, emoji, or attachment. Customizable security settings help protect student privacy.

Students can respond via the Flipgrid app or website with any camera-enabled device or by uploading a previously recorded video. Responses can be 15 seconds to five minutes, and a maximum recording time can be set. Teachers can also allow students to record replies to classmates’ responses. There are a variety of moderation features teachers can turn on or off per topic. The CoPilot feature allows more than one teacher to be a grid moderator. Teachers have access to a help center and two active teacher communities: Disco Library for sharing grid templates and GridPals for connecting with educators and classrooms around the world.

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark enables you to tell stories and share ideas quickly and beautifully. Spark lets you create three types of content:

  • Use Page to create a story using text, images, and video. When you’re done we’ll present your story as a responsive web page that can be viewed in any web browser.
  • Use Post to create images optimized for social media; you provide images and text and we’ll help with the design. We’ll even help you create the right shape and size image for each social media platform.
  • Use Video to create, well, a video. Add videos from your computer or iOS camera roll, overlay text, add your voice and background music, and we’ll help turn your story into an amazing video to share with the world.

You can create individual Pages, Posts, and Videos, or you can use the formats together (including a Post image in a Video, or a Video in a Page, you get the idea).

Willmot, P., Bramhall, M., Radley, K. (2012) Using digital video reporting to inspire and engage students. Retrieved from