Eight ways to create screencasts and slideshares

Recently I’ve been exploring the options for slide-casting and screen-casting.


I know that so much of my library business is remote. I know from my stats that my LibGuides are heavily used. But I also know that lists of links and pretty images, and other people’s videos are not really enough.

I need, for instance, to explain in my own words, criteria contained in a rubric or how Gale’s Literary Index can help you locate exactly where to find criticism in your selected poem.

I am interested in these tools for other reasons. I’d like to begin to archive and more broadly share professional development. I’d like to offer teachers easy ways to present and archive instruction. To offer students new strategies for presentation and for archiving their work. To help me rehearse and archive my own formal presentations. And I am planning to do a little online adjuncting in the fall.

And, as more schools and more individual teachers adopt the Flipped Classroom model, we will be looking for options to present content, lecture, and video as homework, so we can devote class time to more interactive and engaging collaborative learning strategies.

So, I’ve been investigation a growing array of mostly free web-based tools for projecting and archiving instruction, screenshots, storytelling, and personality.

And because I am not there yet, I thought I share some more professionally produced specimens. The web-based programs seem to fit into two large buckets–slide narration tools and screen capture tools.


1. SlideRocket: Michelle Luhtala has been urging me to try this one for months now. SlideRocket EDU is part of her Google Apps package, but sadly, not ours. I’ve been playing around with Lite. Watching her tutorial/pitch for the application, I am sold on the free EDU version. The presentation platform offers the ability to import presentations from PowerPoint or Google Docs, embed media, publish easily, access Flickr’s Creative Commons search, collaborate, analyize metrics, update presentations without replacing them, and store assets.

2. MyBrainshark: This promising tool allows you to add voice to PowerPoint, documents, images, speadsheets, or videos. (MyBrainshark supports nearly 100 video formats.) Polls may be inserted. Users may add narration with their phones or computer microphones or by uploading a pre-recorded MP3. Speaker notes may be displayed as a support. And visual dashboards allow creators to track viewing results.

3. Present.me: Upload slides and images, in either ppt or pdf formats. The program converts your files and allows you to record and present into your webcam as if you were presenting to an audience.

A simple self editing function for missteps. Presentations may be shared or embedded. Your initial registration offer a month of premium service. After that a basic account is free and will allow you to record presentations up to 15-minutes long. Check out Shelly Terrell’s example.

4. Movenote: offers a similar arrangement of recorded side content accompanied with photos, PowerPoint slides, text documents or even videos. Movenote synchronizes the video and the side content for you when recording the presentation.

5. HelloSlide is a pdf-only tool that allows you to add computer-generated voice to your documents. Upload your presentation, type the speech for each slide, and the programs automatically generates audio. Presentations are searchable, editable, and available in 20 different languages. An edit feature allows you to tweak the speech without re-recording the audio. Translations are available as a paid feature. This may be useful for ESL learners. The English voice reminds me very much of the one used on Xtranormal. (Note: it is super easy to export PowerPoint and Keynote files as pdfs.)


1.Screenr: This screencaster allows you to capture images from your desktop, select the location and size of the capture, and record your voice over the action on your screen. A pause button allows you to take a break. Login through Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, Linkedin, or Windows Live ID, and you are ready to record and instantly publish on your platform of choice. Of course, you can also embed elsewhere. You are limited to 5 minutes of recording.

2. Screencast-o-Matic: records screen actions within the chosen dotted border. After the count-down, you may record and then publish to the Screencast-o-matic site, to YouTube, or to a video file. The free application limits you to a 15-minute presentation. Here is Andrew Steinman’s Flipped Classroom tutorial description of the the tool for the Kent ISD. Registration is not essential unless you choose to save to the Screencast-o-matic site. If you are registered you can add notes and captions–a lovely feature for distant or flipped instruction! A Pro-account offers sophisticated editing functions.

3.Jing: The free version of Jing requires a download (for Windows or Mac). Using the docked sun tool, users may record up to 5 minutes of onscreen video and instantly share using Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or Screencast.com (Jing’s storage area which allows 2 gigs of space). You can mark up screenshots with text boxes, arrows, highlighting, or captions. Jing is also a handy tool for capturing screen images.

This is by no means an exhaustive list.

And, I realize that PowerPoint and other presentation programs allow for recording of narration and saving as video files.

Nevertheless, I think that these web-based options offer easy publishing options and additional valuable features. I welcome your suggestions in comments and I will continue to curate our options. I hope to be sharing my own productions in future posts.

Joyce Valenza is the Teacher-Librarian at Springfield Township High School, author, and technology advocate. Read her SLJ NeverEndingSearch blog here.