How Teachers Can Use Quicktime Video Screenshots to Help Students Learn

Tutorial videos are a great way for teachers to provide extra learning resources for students. With these recorded videos, students are able to review the lessons learned in class and catch up from afar during an absence. Videos also provide an excellent resource for future reference.

Screenshot videos are a great learning resource when used to teach computer-based lessons such as computer programming, typing, or learning various programs. But they can also be used in other creative ways to teach students. For example, math problems can be solved step-by-step. Screenshots are especially useful for complicated new concepts.

In this article, we go into detail with step-by-step instructions for how to record video screenshots, as well as how to upload them to video hosting websites.

Quicktime video screenshots

Image is courtesy of via Flickr Creative Commons


Before recording video, it is important to prepare your computer.

  1. Close all windows except the program being used. This helps your computer run more smoothly and removes all distractions for the user.
  2. Turn off all alerts that may make a sound or interrupt the flow of teaching.
  3. Make sure the microphone works. If a third party microphone is used (and we recommend it), do a quick microphone check. External microphones reduce background noise and provide a higher quality voice recording.

Remember that when recording a tutorial, students cannot see what you are typing (although they may be able to hear it). If you are a pro with hotkeys and keyboard shortcuts, try to refrain from using them through the tutorial. This creates a better, less confusing learning experience for your students. If you do decide to use hotkeys, make sure you clearly explain or add subtitles for the shortcuts you use.

Recording Video Screenshot

There are many different options for screenshot software, including Jing and Movavi, which are paid. Those programs offer extra editing features that may enhance your screenshot videos, but for our purposes, Mac offers a simple and free screenshot solution that is already installed and available on your computer: Quicktime.

  1. To use, open Quicktime. Then go to File > New Screen Recording. After you do this, a small window opens that looks like this:recording
  2. Clicking on the small white triangle (circled in red) gives you sound recording options. If you have a microphone, select it from the drop-down menu. You can also choose to use the internal microphone that is built into your computer.
  3. When you are ready to record, click the record This prompts the following popup message to open with instructions on how to use the recording to record
  4. There are two recording options.
      1. Full Screen Recording: If you plan on teaching a topic that includes more than one program, recording the full screen is recommended so you have the capability to switch from one window to another without confusing the user. This option will record everything that is visible to you on the screen, including menu and time. To begin recording, just click anywhere on the screen once.
      2. Partial Screen Recording: If the purpose of the screenshot recording is to give a tutorial on a specific software, then recording just the program may help reduce confusion. To activate, drag a selection rectangle over the designated part of the screen you wish to record. The box size and position cannot be altered once recording commences. Once you select your designated recording area, a button will pop up: start recording
        When you click the “Start Recording” button, recording will begin. You will still be able to use your computer normally like when it is not recording, but only items within the selection box will be documented on your video. Partial screen recording looks like this:recording screenshotNotice how everything outside of the selection box is darkened slightly? This is a great visual cue that is subtle and quite useful.
  5. Once you are finished recording, you can push the Esc key on your keyboard to prompt the camera options or click the Stop button located on the top menu bar. The screenshot below shows the location of the stop button. Quicktime automatically opens your recording for preview. quicktime screenshot
  6. When you are happy with the recording, go to File > Save. Now you are free to put it into a video editing software to add captions or graphics. Once you finish the editing, the final step is to upload it to Youtube or Vimeo, two of the most popular video hosting websites in the world.

How to Upload a Video to Youtube

It is easy to upload your screenshot videos to Youtube.

1. Sign into your Google or Youtube account.
2. Go to From there, you will see this screen:

youtube screenshot

  1. YouTube designers have made it easy to drag a video file from your computer onto the upload section. All you need to do is locate the video file on your computer, drag it from the folder and drop it into the designated area (shown above).
  1. Once you drag the video file into the screen above, the following screen will populate your internet browser:

youtube publish screenshot

  1. In the middle column, you can type in the title and description (1) of your video. At the bottom, you will see three video thumbnails that you can choose from to set as the image viewers see on the search results before the video starts playing. Once you set the video thumbnail, choose “Public” (2) to make the video available to users other than yourself, including your students. Finally, you can publish the video to Youtube (3).
  1. Once you publish the video, it is easy to grab the link from the video to send to your students. To do this, click on the link Youtube provides on the following screen.

video title

On the video page under the video, there is a section that lists your video information:

share video


Here you can click the share button circled in red. A drop down window will display the link, which you can copy and paste in an email or on a student forum.

Using Technology to Benefit Students

Nowadays technology is sometimes considered more of a distraction than as a teaching tool. Figuring out ways to use today’s technology in a productive manner that helps students is very important because it helps students using a platform that they are comfortable with. Using a free computer application and a free YouTube account, teachers can add significant value to not only the Internet, but also to their students.


  1. Jerry Schaffer

    January 5, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    I use TechSmith Snagit for my tutorials. It is free as a google extension for chromebook and is at a very reasonable price for a PC. I am not sure if there is a MAC OS version. The steps are pretty much the same as described in this tutorial and I like the easiness of using Youtube. I can then direct my students to my channel or inbed the video tutorial to my website. It has been very useful to my students.

  2. BPuente

    February 4, 2016 at 10:23 am

    I like the instructions given to do the screenshots. My students are 3rd graders and this is helpful to me. I have used EdPuzzle before and really like it. This is something new for me to try. I have never tried a tutorial, but was very interested on this subject and how it could help me in my classroom.

  3. Ali

    March 9, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Great article! Hoping to use the instructions to create videos for my own students. I always wondered how it was done, now I know!