4 Popular Screencasting Tools Being Used In Education

What is screencasting? Why would you want to record your computer screen, anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked! Recording what is happening on your screen can be a pretty useful tool for teachers who want to create video tutorials or presentations for their classrooms, and many teachers are using screencasting tools in their flipped classroom models. But before you delve into what you’re going to do with your screencast, take a few moments to learn about the tools that are available to do the actual recording. They range from free to fairly expensive ($299) and offer a variety of functionality from simple recording to quite complex video editing. We’ve selected a few that we know to be some of the most popular screencasting tools in use today by teachers, students, and many others.



Camtasia is a software application designed especially for video screen capture  for creating video tutorials and presentations. The interface is extremely simple to use, and for those of you who don’t want to take the intuitive route, there are tutorials embedded in the software. With Camtasia, you can record, edit, and view your videos, and it is appropriate for both beginning and advanced users. It offers a free 30 day trial, and is $299 to buy. While the price may seem high, understand that this is a pretty high powered software, and by far the best and most highly functional that we’re including in this list.



Screencast-o-matic  is an easy to use, Javascript based program  that records your screen. If you don’t have any Java issues (as I always seem to), all you need to do is click “Record” on the website, and it will begin to record your screen or webcam for you. This product offers two options: a free version and a paid version ($15/year). The free version allows users a maximum recording time of 15 minutes while the pro version offers unlimited recording time, a variety of upload options, and no watermark. All of the video editing tools, screenshot tools and a few other things are also reserved for the paid version.



ScreenFlow4 is also a very robust screen capture and video editing tool that has a great user interface (literally click ‘Record’ and you’re in business), and whose video editing end is also quite excellent. Like many of the other options, it offers a free trial or a paid full version ($99.00). Those who like this product especially enjoy the easy to use video editing and streamlined workflow that the interface offers.



iShowU  is a mid-range product ($20 for the Mac ‘classic product, $29.95 for the HD product, $59.95 for the HD Pro product). The focus on this product is really ease of use and speed (so that you’re not bogged down with a heavy interface and tools while you’re trying to cut your video product). The most basic version offers realtime capture, mouse follow, and the ability to record system and microphone audio. The more premium versions offer custom backgrounds, lack of watermark, webcam support, and keystroke recording. All around a great product for a mid range price and user friendly interface.


  1. Nigel Ovens

    May 5, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Thank you for this list and the pointers. Camtasia for Mac is way cheaper than the Windows version. I bought mine for about $110.

  2. James Abela

    May 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    I’d also like to mention Rylstim, which is free and does a good job of on-screen recording.
    I get my students to make their own screencasts using it and it’s excellent for basic tutorials.

    However I am with you on Camtasia, it’s the best by a long way if you make a lot of screencasts.

  3. Daniel Foster (TechSmith)

    May 8, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for including Camtasia in your screencasting round-up! I wanted to make sure your readers know about our discounted pricing for educators, which brings Camtasia Studio down to $179 and Camtasia for Mac to $75: http://bit.ly/uf4QnW

    For those who just need a super simple record-and-publish option (no editing desired), our Snagit screen capture software may also be worth a look ($29.95 at educator discount). All the products have a free, fully-functional 30-day trial.

    There are so many uses for video in teaching and learning right now…and it’s never been easier to create and consume video. Kari Arfstrom, who heads up the Flipped Learning Network, put together an excellent post showing 6 Alternative Uses for Video in the Classroom (http://bit.ly/X5F4YW) and we’re working to capture stories and best practices for using technology well and share them on the TechSmith website (http://bit.ly/143xBdb). The technology is merely a tool to aid in the magic of learning!

  4. Jan

    May 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I love SnagIt! Not as much editing power as Camtasia, but plenty powerful for the type of screencasting I need to do as an ed tech coach. As an added bonus, it also does screenshots and has a bank of editing tools for that as well.

  5. Ellen

    May 10, 2013 at 5:54 am

    I love Screencast-o-matic very much, it is cheap, very reliable and easy to use and I can save videos to different options (harddrive, cloud, YouTube, others). I also think the possibility for editing your video are outstanding and very easy to work with.
    Thanks for sharing this list of alternatives:)