Best Screencasting and Presentation Tools

Last revised on 11/14/2014 by EHS

Overview

There are many options to either record your screen (aka screen casting) or present to your students asynchronously.  Below we have selected several of the key options to do these two tasks and some of the experiences we have had with them.  We have also included information for you to find more.


screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder
Screenshot of Mediasite Desktop Recorder’s Start Screen.

1. Mediasite Desktop Recorder

Platform: Mac and PC

Price: Free (UConn license) via ITL’s iTV group

Features

  • Ability to record full motion screencasts, slide presentations with audio, and the option to include a picture-in-picture of the presenter.
  • Ability to make basic edits in the web editor.
  • Ability to upload other video formats as presentations.
  • UConn-hosted streaming.
  • Analytics information for viewing information.

Where it Excels

  • Fairly easy to use.
  • Easy to upload and offer to your students.
  • Can be combined with other recording methods as a streaming platform.
  • Extensive viewing data.
  • Ability to limit it to UConn or class viewers.

Where it Falls Short

  • Recordings typically have to happen in one sitting.
  • Typically requires a newer computer with decent system specifications.
  • Web editor requires some training to use, can be buggy at times.
  • Doesn’t currently allow for embedding quizzes in videos for improved student interactivity and formative assessment (but coming soon)

 


Screenshot of inserting an audio recording in MS PowerPoint 2013
Screenshot of inserting an audio recording in MS PowerPoint 2013.

2. Microsoft PowerPoint

Platform: Mac and PC

Price:

Features

  • Ability to record audio on individual slides and multiple sittings.
  • Ability to export slides and audio as .mp4 or .wmv formats.

Where it Excels

  • Convenient given the ability to record easily across multiple sittings.
  • Simplicity – if you understand how to use PowerPoint, there is almost no learning curve.

Where it Falls Short

  • It’s pretty simple and it lacks the ability to do markup layers (drawing, making annotations, etc.)
  • Lacks the ability to record full motion video of your desktop.
  • Lacks the ability to integrate animations and other interactive features.

 


Screenshot of Camtasia Studio 8's Editor
Screenshot of Camtasia Studio 8’s Editor

3. Camtasia

Platform: Mac and PC (compare features)

Price: $99 Camtasia for Mac; $299 Camtasia Studio for Windows

Information Page

Features

  • Ability to record audio on individual slides
  • Ability to export slides and audio as .mp4 or .wmv formats.

Where it Excels

  • Convenient given the ability to record easily across multiple sittings.
  • Simplicity – if you understand how to use PowerPoint, there is almost no learning curve.

Where it Falls Short

  • It’s pretty simple and it lacks the ability to do markup layers (drawing, making annotations, etc.)

 


Honorable Mentions:

The following are other presentation tools that may work for specific contexts and needs.

  • Prezi – this is an increasingly popular free tool for doing presentations that is very education-friendly (extra perks for .edu users).  Currently you can create a path with audio narration.  You can easily integrate interactive components such as YouTube videos and other media.  There are a couple of concerns in the area of accessibility compared to other options.
  • Screenflow for Mac – is a handy tool to help you record your screen on your mac.  The editor is very similar to other competitors, and the ability to publish in native and hosted formats (Vimeo, YouTube, etc.) are available.
  • Record in Quicktime for Mac – Mac users also have the ability to do basic, high quality recordings using their built in Quicktime for Mac.  Users can also edit these projects by opening it in Quicktime and using the built in editor.  Users can also opt to use iMovie to do more advanced editing.
  • Windows Movie Maker – PC/Windows users also have the ability to do basic, high quality recordings using Windows Movie Maker.  It’s built in or free for your computer running Windows.  The editor allows users to combine movies and images, add audio and music tracks, insert titles and captions, cut frames, and apply some basic visual effects.  It exports to various sized wmv files.
  • Adobe Captivate – this is a tool made by Adobe that allows you to create engaging and interactive presentations and video walk-throughs.  This is an industry standard.
  • Jing by Techsmith  – this tool is easy to use and free if you are looking at sub-five-minute video walk-throughs.  It also gives you Jing’s branding and only exports in the flash format for the free version.

Additional Resources

Below are some additional websites with other Screencasting and Presentation tools.

 


 

 

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