Instructional videos are a great way to introduce concepts to students. Finding the right video taught in the way you want to teach is sometimes difficult. Without a huge production team and expensive equipment it is possible to make simple yet effective instructional videos. The tools and ideas listed below can make video production possible with equipment you may already have.

Smart Phone Cameras

Let’s start with the most readily available tool that many teachers already have in their pocket. The smart phone has opened a whole world of recording capabilities. The camera on many smart phones is capable of taking high quality video that can be shared to YouTube, Google Drive, or a teacher website. There are many examples on YouTube of content taught simply with a whiteboard or some manipulatives. Here are a few tips for making a successful video.

  • Keep your videos short and to the point.
  • Work with your team and team teach a video lesson – one holding the camera while the other teaches and then switch.
  • Be sure to hold the camera steady by using a tripod or some kind of holder. Check out these DIY camera holders if you don’t have someone to hold the camera for you.
  • Try using your Promethean classroom mic to make sure that the audio of your recording is clear and strong.
  • Share them to an open place where your students can see them (Google Drive, YouTube, or class website).
  • Don’t forget to hold the video in the portrait position and not landscape.

portrait vs landscape

ActivInspire Screen Recorder

ActivInspire includes the ability to record your screen and create a video to share with your students. Note: Computers without a microphone will not be able to capture audio. But ThinkPads, Netbooks, and Macs do have a microphone and can capture audio.

To use the screen recorder built in to ActivInspire, go to Tools > More Tools… > Screen Recorder. At this point you will select Fullscreen to capture the entire screen or Area Screen to capture only the area that you chose. We will chose Fullscreen for this tutorial.

ActivInspire Screen Recorder LocationOnce selected you will see the record, pause, stop, and play buttons show on the screen.

screen recorder buttons

At this point prepare the window for what you want to record. You may want to record a flipchart from ActivInspire but you can also minimize ActivInspire and open another program that you want to capture with the recorder. Once you are ready, press the red record button. Select where you want to save the recording.save your screencast

Now the recorder is capturing everything you do on the screen and your audio if you have a computer with a microphone. When you are done, press the stop button and your video should finish and save to the location you set.

Your video can now be edited (in Movie Maker or iMovie if desired), uploaded to YouTube, added to Google Drive, put on a website, etc.

Recording with iPads and Tablets

There are also several screen recording apps which work well on iPads and other tablets. Below are a few to consider. Each of the options below are free, do not require an account, and allow for easy sharing of your screencast.

doceri iconDoceri – more full-featured but a little more complex to use. Doceri for iOS.

stage app iconStage – similar features as other screen recorders but can also function as a document camera.  Android | iOS.

vittle iconVittle Free – limited feature set but treats the screen as one big page that you navigate around and annotate and record. Vittle Free for iOS.

Android Settings for EVSC WifiSome Android options: Lensoo Create, Stage, LiveBoard

Ways to Use Screen Recording in the Classroom

  • Take a video of a teacher explaining a concept  to share as part of a virtual lesson.
  • Flip your class by creating videos that students will watch prior to class labs and projects.
  • Create videos as homework help for students.
  • Create an instructional video to show in a teacher’s absence.
  • Ask students to demonstrate learning with one of these screen recording tools.
  • Have another idea? Feel free to share below in the comments.

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