Cast Away!

You likely know what a podcast is, but do you know what a screencast is?  How about a sketchcast?  I’ve been using screencasts as tutorials and marketing elements for quite some time now. A screencast is essentially a video of what a user sees on his or her computer monitor, complete with mouse trails, text boxes, voice over and other unique features. If you’ve ever seen Atomic Learning demos, then you may know what a screencast is, as most of those tutorials are screencasts.

If you are going to really get into screencasting, then I’d recommend Adobe Captivate. If you’re not ready to mortgage your home to afford that software, then you may want to go Open Source with Wink or Web 2.0 with Screencast-O-matic. Some people also may be familiar with Snag-it, which has a remedial screencast function integrated into it.

Finally, I’ve been fooling around with a new website called Sketchcast that allows users to create simple Flash animations of sketches that you do with your computer. You can also add voice overs. The functions are pretty minimal, but that may be a benefit for many users. Think of working through a math problem and explaining it through your computer’s microphone, then posting it for all of your students to see!



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  1. Brett Harvey said:

    I’ve been looking for some good free screencast tools. Do any of these include a tool for still screen capture? The one with voice over definitely looks good. We did something like the math problem with tablets (so you could freely write) at DNI.

  2. Jutti said:

    Another really good program is Camtasia Studio. It is much less expensive than Adobe Captivate. It is from TechSmith:

    Educational pricing is $179. A great deal is to buy it bundled with SnagIt, a really great screen capture tool.

  3. Dennis Grice said:

    If you’re a windows user, Windows Media Encoder is a free download from Microsoft and does screen captures. I’ve used it extensively for creating my own “Atomic Learning” style staff training videos. Since it’s a Windows product the files are, of course, wmv’s. If you need them in a different format, you can always use Zamzar.
    Here’s my blog post about it: Just Google “Windows Media Encoder” to get the download page. Did I mention it’s FREE?

  4. Jeremy Davis said:

    Hey all,

    ishowu is a great screencapture software, very inexpensive, and it works flawlessly on my mac. Price is rumored to be going up soon. I think it’s $30 right now.


  5. dave kootman said:

    There is a free screen capture program that I use sometimes. It is called 20/20 by Bylight Technologies. Also, MS Vista has some integrated tools for that.
    Dave Kootman

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