Thursday, September 4, 2014

Top Ten Reasons to Use Screencast-O-Matic

(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Last month I had the opportunity to teach two sessions at the Flip'in Utah Conference on how to create tutorials in the flipped classroom using Screencast-O-Matic.  Here are my top ten reasons educators should use Screencast-O-Matic.
10. It's Easy
If creating screencasts scares you or makes you uncomfortable, this is the program for you. Screencast-O-Matic has made the screen casting process simple and easy to follow.  

9.  Dual Platformed
There are many great screencast programs out there, but a majority of them have been designed to work on either a Mac or a PC and rarely for both.  If you have access to the Internet, then you have have access to Screencast-O-Matic.

8.  Web-based
Screencast-O-Matic is a web-based product that doesn't require you to download the application.  As mentioned in #10, if you have access to the Internet then you have access to Screencast-O-Matic.  However, Screencast-O-Matic does require Java.  Before using Screencast-O-Matic, make sure Java is downloaded to the computer and up-to-date.

7.  Picture in Picture
Every time I teach Screencast-O-Matic teachers ask if there is way to record themselves talking to the camera while they are also recording what is happening on their computer screen.  The answer is YES. Screencast-O-Matic can access the webcam that is connected to the computer while also recording what you are doing on the screen. Once the screencast has been recorded you have the ability to adjust the size and location of the webcam video.

6.  Adjustable Recording Spaces
When creating screencasts you can decide how much of the computer screen to record.  Screencast-O-Matic offers predetermined sizes as well as the option to click and drag the screen to the size you desire.  You can also pause the recording at anytime, change the recording space's location and size, and then continue the recording.

5.  Sharing
Sharing screencasts in this program is easy.  Screencasts can be uploaded to Screencast-O-Matic, YouTube, or downloaded to the computer as a video file.

4.  Custom Links
Custom links are a way to create a web address alias that can point to any screencast that you have uploaded to Screencast-O-Matic.

3.  Channels
Screencast-O-Matic allows you to create channels to store your videos.  When you publish your screencasts to Screencast-O-Matic and YouTube you are given a link that is unique to that specific video.  Depending on how many videos you share, after time students may get confused as to what link goes to what video.  Creating a channel allows the link that you share with students to remain the same, and students have access to all videos within that channel.

2.  Captions
Teachers can create a screencast in Screencast-O-Matic and then add captions to the video.  This YouTube video will walk you through the steps for adding captions. 
Note: The video says to open and use Notepad.  You can use any word processing program, but you need to make sure that you save your file as a .txt file. Which can be done during the Save/Save As step

1.  It's Free!
      Everyone loves a good bargain, and what is better than free? Screencast-O-Matic provides an option for you to upgrade to the pro version which gives you more features, but many teachers have been happy and satisfied with the features that the free version offers.  

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