Screen Casting Tools
Below is a review of screen casting tools you can use to record your lectures and post for your students to access. Some of the tools are open-source, while some provide a free trial before purchase. Additionally, some of these will continue to be free but have limited features once your trial expires.

30-day Free trial, then $289
Converts PowerPoint presentations to Flash (swf files)
Free (open-source)
Generates Flash (swf files) videos
30-day free, then $179
Can create interactive content (mobile), good video ideas and support
30-day trial, then $299
Adobe product; publish to Moodle, mobile support, transform PowerPoint into interactive content
No free trial; $59.95
No need to export the file. One-click publishing directly into Quicktime
Free (open-source)
Take snapshot of screen, write on it, add messages, then upload to free web hosting account. You are then given a URL to give to students view it. Video only.
Java based with automatic upload to free hosting site. Check out this example.
30-day free trial, then $99
Create dynamic presentations, show a website or create a lecture/lesson/training program

30-day free trial, then $65
Record full desktop or window restricted area; easy-to-use interface; record voiceover, exports Flash video

Free (open-source)
Nothing to install or download, plays on iphones, easy-to-use

You don't actually need a SmartBoard for their screencasting tool. You can write and talk at the same time and it will record your lesson.

30-day free trial, then $49.95
If you have a webcam, you can show yourself teaching the lesson

Free (open-source)
Focuses on making tutorials/demonstrations with audio and text annotation abilities

Presentation Software
The following presentation software allows you to annotate on the screen which is very important in teaching and examples.
Free (with Microsoft Suite)
Most commonly used by professionals; versatile
Active Inspire (Promethean Board)
Paid and installed; varies by school district (see local rep)

Notebook (SMART Board)
Paid and installed; varies by school district (see local rep)

Tips for how to screencast (or what NOT to do)...

What equipment will I need?
After you have designated the screencasting software you want to use, you will need the following:
  • Microphone - most computers have a built-in microphone but they do not produce good sound quality. It is best to purchase a USB microphone.
  • Annotation Tablet - while you can use your iPad, there are better products to annotate slides while recording a lesson. Don't try to write with a mouse - this is too difficult. A tablet usually is a small pad (think of an mouse pad) that comes with a stylus. SMART Slate (only if you have a SMART Board) and Promethean ActiveSlate (again, only if you have a Promethean Board) will work well. If you don't have either Boards, you can find many tablets but you shouldn't have to pay more than $60!
ActiveSlate by Promethean

SmartSlate by SMART

Wacum Bamboo

Source: Dan Spencer, Education Technology Consultant, Jackson MI County SD

Where do I store all of my videos?
Now that you've spent the time and effort in creating your lectures, some of the screencasting tools listed at the top of this page provide a hosting site, free of charge. However, if your district has invested in a Learning Management System (LMS) like Moodle, Edmodo, Blackboard or Compass (see below), you can host your videos on there. Listed below are some other places to host your lectures:
  • __Screencast.com__ - 2GB of free storage, more available for paid version
  • __Youtube__ - Students are already here but many districts block YT. __YouTube EDU__ is a good alternative.
  • __Vimeo__ - Less commercialized alternative to YT. May be blocked but I’ve found districts are much more willing to unblock Vimeo than YT. Upload limits for free accounts.
  • __TeacherTube__ and __SchoolTube__ - Similar to YT but on a much smaller scale. Education related videos only. Any uploaded videos must be approved before becoming available. Time frame for approval can last anywhere from a few hours to days.
  • __Dropbox__ - Dropbox is a cloud storage site. You can get a free 2 GB account and get extra storage by getting others to sign up. 2 GB fills up fast. Each file you upload to your Dropbox folders has a unique URL for students to watch online and can be downloaded for watching offline.
  • __Google Drive__ - Google’s version of Dropbox. You’ll need a Google Account to sign up. You get 5 GB free storage when you sign up. This is great for teachers in Google Apps for Education districts.
Source: Dan Spencer, Education Technology Consultant, Jackson MI County SD

Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems offer a 24-hour hall pass to your course's content. From lectures, homework assignments, assessments and discussion boards, LMSs is like a giant folder that holds everything for your course - even student work. Below is a list of some of the most popular LMSs and a brief description:

  • __Moodle__
    • Open source LMS (free) but you’ll need a dedicated server to host it. Many districts have their own Moodle server but the CAIU also hosts Moodle on their servers.
    • Lots and lots of options available from quizzes, to grading, to SCORM (SCORM is like an e-learning industry standards). That may be frustrating for some because they get overwhelmed trying to learn it all. Moodle is quick to learn but to master it can take awhile. Start small - keep a place for quizzes and assignments, and just work from there.
  • BlackBoard
    • Similar to Moodle but more polished. Used more at the university level.
    • Need to pay to use BB - usually per student and that can get very expensive.
    • Blackboard has products for building webinars, asynchronous meetings and virtual meetings
  • __Edmodo__
    • Very popular. Only people that can view content are those who are members of your class.
    • Set up similar to Facebook.
    • Calendar, post links, documents, take polls, and even create quizzes.
    • Free
  • __Schoology__
    • Very similar to Edmodo/Facebook but also has some nice features similar to Moodle:
      • __Per Joe Huber at Education Studio__: “Schoology, at first, appears to look like Facebook but operates like a more user-friendly version of Moodle . . . What’s nice about Schoology is that it is a true CMS in that you can create tests and quizzes within the platform or import test items from Blackboard that will also be graded for you. Analytics are provided so that users can also examine the results of test questions to identify the validity of specific items.”
  • __Sophia__
    • More of a “social learning” site than LMS but it allows you to collect digital content and package it for your students. Also allows you to access other content on the site.
    • Free
  • __Lore__ (formerly Coursekit)
    • Very interesting LMS with the ability to post calendar, course resources, a syllabus, submit assignments, and a gradebook.
    • Free
  • __Lectrio__
    • Simple LMS with the ability to post calendars, lessons, assignments, discussions and student reports.
    • Powered by Google Docs
Source: Dan Spencer, Education Technology Consultant, Jackson MI County SD