5 Tips for Using Screencasts to Teach, Explain, and Save You Time

Screencasts are essential to everything I do in the library. I can’t be everywhere at once, and many times it is the simplest, if not most effective way, to show someone how to do something on a computer or tablet. Screencasts allow you to record your screen and narrate what you are doing at the same time. Sweet time saver, Batman.

My favorite screencaster is free and simple. Screencast-O-Matic runs in your browser, so there is no software to download or accounts to create. With the free version you can record up to 15 minutes and publish it to YouTube.

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 11.20.35 AM

I’ve used screencasts to explain:

How to Utilize our Green Screen for our students using iMovie

How to Sign up and read ebooks on our ebook platform, Overdrive for our students-

5 Tips for creating your first screencast:

  • Think of your audience. Are you using technical jargon or acronyms that only an expert would understand? Keep it simple, it’s not a documentary, it’s a guide.
  • Film the screencast without audio and simply go through the steps you are trying to explain. It’s much easier to go back and add a voiceover when you are editing the video in “post-production”.
  • Tell someone what you are doing. Really, getting interrupted during the process of recording creates unneeded frustration so either tell someone, put up a sign, or lock yourself in a closet.
  • Use an external mic. If you own an iPhone you can use the headphones that came with your device and BOOM, you already sound better.
  • Write out what you are going to cover and practice going through it a couple of times.

I also like how screencasts, if made well, adds an air of professionalism to what we do. And who doesn’t like having to explain something 50 times?