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Screencast-O-Matic: Best Tips And Tricks For Teaching

Screencast-O-Matic tips
(Image credit: Screencast-O-Matic)

The best Screencast-O-Matic tips and tricks for teaching can help make digital learning more immersive and engaging, both in the classroom and for remote learning.

Screencast-O-Matic is a great tool for use in flipped and blended learning classrooms. It allows educators to record videos and images of their computer and smartphone displays for use as teaching tools. This can mean offering guidance on a digital tool, talking through a slideshow, or annotating work – all with your webcam and mic also recording you to let you help students with a personal touch.

Done right, this tool can be really useful for both teachers and students. As more classes embrace remote learning and flipped classrooms, now is the time to learn more about Screencast-O-Matic.

So, read on for the best Screencast-O-Matic tips and tricks for your class.

Use your webcam

Screencast-O-Matic (opens in new tab) lets teachers record video of both what's on their screen but also from their webcam. It allows you to place yourself in a small window at the corner of the screen so you can guide students through what's going on with both visual and audio support. 

During remote learning, this personalized touch, in which students can see and hear you, is an essential part of keeping them engaged. It can help a student feel supported and, since they can re-watch, allows them to know your assistance is there as they need. It can also let you make a guide video a bit more fun and lively as a human face helps personalize an otherwise software-focused interaction.


(Image credit: Screencast-O-Matic)

Think big

Studies have shown (opens in new tab) that most students will use a desktop computer or laptop to access teaching content. So when making your videos it's important to think big, knowing that whatever you show will be on a screen larger than a smartphone.

Consequently, you'll need the resolution to be set high enough to not be pixelated. It also means you can think visually, adding in imagery and making sure to draw attention to the part of the screen that is relevant. So if you're giving a guide on how to create a Google Doc, for example, be sure to clarify what you're doing with the mouse as it moves about the screen, naming what you're clicking as you go.

Create a FAQ video

When it comes to explaining a certain topic, or even simply going back to school, a FAQ video can help to clarify issues for students. It can provide a resource that students can revisit as and when they want, and also buys you time as fewer questions need to be answered.

Be sure to plan the various questions and answers you're going to tackle. When you edit your video, you can be concise with each answer. This is a good opportunity to use on-screen visuals, such as text, to show the questions. This breaks up the video and allows students to dip back in to specific questions and answers easily without having to rewatch the whole video.

Use videos to prep

One major advantage of using Screencast-O-Matic videos is that it prepares students ahead of a class. You can set a video as a task to go over between classes to effectively teach a class outside of the assigned time. Then, when students arrive, they're already knowledgeable about a subject allowing you to dive in deeper or use that knowledge in practice. 

This is like having a second teacher helping you to work with the students. Yes, you have to take the time to make the video, but this can be done when you are free, ultimately giving you more flexibility. The video can also be used again for future classes so it could be a good time investment for the future. 

Using the guide box to capture screenshot

(Image credit: Common Sense Education)

Mix media sources

While you can create a Screencast-O-Matic video with your face and words over the top, it can pay to use other resources already available. For example, there are many YouTube videos that can be useful.

So you might pose a question or bring up a subject, then have that explained or answered in a YouTube video, which you play and talk over, or use and talk about as needed within your video.

Keep to your students' pace

Some students will work faster than others. For those done early, having these video resources that you can share helps to make sure everyone is kept engaged without you having to focus on one person or group more than another.

From backup worksheets and videos to additional learning resources, this can be a great way to make sure the entire class is kept working. Once again, planning ahead and creating these resources allows you to use them in the future too. So while there might be more work at the front end, this will pay off in the long term.

Use a script

The Screencast-O-Matic easy video editor is a great way to put together a well-formulated video for students. But it can be easier and work out better if you plan ahead too. Using a script is a useful way to do this.

By planning out what you're going to say, either exactly or with bullet points, you can stay focused throughout your video. This will keep it minimal so you won't have as much to edit after it's recorded, saving time.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.