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The Answer to the Question I Was Asked the Most Last Week

It has been a strange few weeks as most of us have had to rapidly transition to teaching online. In addition to working hard to help my colleagues make that transition I’ve been answering more emails than ever from readers looking for assistance. Of those emails the most frequently asked question is about making screencast videos.

There are three screencasting tools that I recommend. Here’s my overview of their key features and what I like best about each one of them


This is the screencasting tool that I use the most. There are paid and free versions of Screencast-o-Matic. The free version is more than adequate for most people. The free version of Screencast-o-matic lets you record for up to fifteen minutes at a time. You can save your recordings your desktop or store them online. Recordings can also be pushed directly to Google Classroom.

The aspect of Screencast-o-matic that I like best is the ease with which I can trim the ends of my recordings and or clip sections out of my recordings. And if you’ve ever watched one of my videos and wondered how I made the yellow circle appear around my cursor, that’s a built-in feature of Screencast-o-matic.

I pay $20/year for the “deluxe” version of Screencast-o-Matic which provides a bunch of features that are quite useful. The deluxe version let’s you install a desktop client that you can use to record when you don’t have Internet access. The deluxe version also lets you edit your recordings on your desktop. Some of those editing features include adding music, inserting image overlays, adjusting audio volume, and green screen editing. The deluxe version also removes all watermarks.


If your primary computer is a Chromebook, Screencastify is probably the best screencasting tool for you. With just one click you can record anything in your browser or anywhere else on your Chromebook’s screen. With the free version of Screencastify you can record for up to five minutes. That recording will then automatically save to your Google Drive and you can instantly share it to Google Classroom. What I like best about Screencastify is that provides some simple drawing tools that you can use to highlight and draw on your screen while recording.

Here’s an example of how I’ve used Screencastify to create a simple animation.


Loom is a screencasting tool that you can use to record on your Windows, Mac, or Chromebook. Like the other tools I’ve mentioned you can record your browser window or anything else that is on your computer screen. You c can also include your webcam in the screencast. But the feature of Loom that I like best is that it’s free Chrome extension lets you launch the recorder from your Gmail inbox and insert videos directly into messages. I used that feature three times last week to send help videos to my colleagues.

Bonus: Recording Phone & Tablet Screens

A friend Tweeted at me last week looking for a recommendation on how to create a screencast of a phone screen. The method that I use is to mirror my phone or table to my laptop using either AirServer or Vysor and then launching Screencast-o-matic to record.