Sunday, March 25, 2012


Thanks to dieselbug2007 on Flickr for this shot. This is how I felt today!
I do not often get frustrated with technology. I love learning new things and figuring out the way things work. However, today I set a task list for myself which included creating 40+ screencasts of the iPad as it appeared on the laptop screen via the Reflection app.

I turned to Jing Pro to do that type of thing, since it never has failed to deliver. I set the screen capture area, used the iPad to showcase the application I want to screencast, saved the result to my computer, and plunked it into Keynote. However, since Jing Pro ( is going away and with it the option to save locally (you will still be able to save Jings to, I thought I should probably try another option to get more comfortable with it.

I also needed to bring in some system sound with some of the apps I was screen casting (which Jing does not do).  I knew I had successfully screen captured video and system audio with Camtasia, so I started there.  (I was using my 13.3" Macbook Air.)

Camtasia allowed me to re-size the screen, but it did not capture the video, just the audio. I then tried the new SnagIt to see if it recorded system audio, but it kept crashing on the Macbook Air.

I asked for help from my Twitter PLN and @ShellyMowinkel let me know that QuickTime Pro on the Mac now had a screen recording component. It worked like a charm for video, but, alas, could not capture system audio. However, it is the perfect replacement for Jing! Thanks so much to Shelly and @timholt2007 who suggested I try it.

I decided to download the ScreenFlow app, since there were lots of comparisons to Camtasia in reviews on the Web. It worked well and captured the video and audio, but it only captured a full screen-- not an area. I understand the rationale behind that choice, and the editing of the capture is easy in their tool, but it does add another step to the process.

I tried iShowU HD on the MBA, and I could record, but any format I picked as the output format was not recognized by QuickTime for play back. And the update to the app would not go through.

On the iMac

Since I was having no luck, I was thinking perhaps it was the laptop and not the software. 

I sat down at the iMac at home and Camtasia flawlessly recorded the video and audio. Yippee! And, after some research, I found out that an update to v.1.2.2 (which I had not done on the MBA but had done on the desktop) made it work on the Air, too. It seems to be a Lion thing, not a MBA thing!

The new SnagIt did not crash on the iMac, but I discovered it did not do system audio anyhow.

As far as iShowU HD, I finally got a message that the updater for my version was broken, and it allowed me to download the new version and install the update. It captured video and system audio in H.264 format! Now I have a second app to use! I went back and also installed the update on the Macbook Air and it successfully recorded the video and the system audio there as well.

The QuickTime Screen Recorder works well on both devices, but does not record system audio.

I also tried Adobe Captivate 5.5, and it creates a great-looking screencast but no system audio recording, either.

And, although people tell me ScreenFlow works well, I don't really want to spend $90 (with the educator's discount) on a purchase. 

With Camtasia and iShowU HD now both capturing video and system audio on my desktop and Macbook Air, I think I am set!


Remember my goal was to capture video and system audio from an iPad being AirPlayed to a Mac screen via the Reflection Mac app.

Here is the result of my testing today. I am not saying it is definitive, since there any number of things that might be different on your machine -- version of OS, version of software, etc.

Result of testing for screen capture with system audio

If you have any other information that corrects me, please add a comment!       

Follow up 1:
Here is a link to the recording of the Reflection app inside a screenshare inside an Adobe Connect Pro meeting. 

Everything seemed to work well, as per the recording. I could hear the audio, but the "audience" could not.   

Follow up 2:
Another software suggestion was Snapz Pro for the Mac, and it worked great on the iMac and the MBA while  recording system sound and video (although there is a huge watermark in the trial version!). You can chose the recording stage size, so this is another piece of software to consider. (Thanks @bhudd and @MusicEdTech!)

Follow up 3: 
The Reflection app has just released an update that will screencast their iPad projection on the computer! And it also captures the audio and works like a charm. It does not capture the iPad "frame" just the moving items and sound on the iPad screen. (

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Reflector App for Mac and Windows and the iOS device

Reflector is a useful application that allows you to mirror your iPad 2 and newer or the iPhone 4s  or the iPad Mini, to your desktop using AirPlay mirroring on either a Mac or a Windows machine. The application is installed on your desktop or laptop. The positive implications for the education field are huge!!!

First, as one that often creates screencasts to help people learn a process, the ability to mirror my iPad screen onto my desktop, and then use Camtasia, Jing, or Captivate to capture the process is huge for me! No more mirroring the iPad onto the TV set using AppleTV and using a video camera to record the process! 

Here is a quick, no audio screencast I recently made using Reflector and a screencasting tool. It is a quick overview of where the port settings are found in the email settings on the iPad. (Not quite sure about the resolution settings yet, but you get the idea.)

The more important bonus for the classroom setting is that the Mac computer (running Mac 10.6.8  or Windows XP or better) can be hooked up to the LCD projector or whiteboard projector the typical way (usually VGA or DVI). Using the Reflector app, the iPad can wirelessly project onto the computer screen and hence it is shown on the big screen!  (Now works on Windows, too!)

The work is all done on the iPad-- the desktop is just the "screen". The iPad can be handed around to students for demonstration of how to use an app, showcasing an online process, or much more! It even sends the audio from the iPad to the Mac, which then, of course, pumps the sound out via more powerful speakers than the iPad has!

For those of you that do not know how to find the AirPlay setting on your iOS device, you simply click on the home button twice, and swipe right once for the iPad and twice for the iPhone. For Reflector, you pick your computer and then turn mirroring on, as shown.

The AirPlay settings on the iPad

All the iOS devices you want to hook to Reflector via AirPlay have to be on the same WiFi network. I just tried the iPad and the iPhone 4s at the same time and they BOTH showed up on the computer screen as you see here:

Desktop with Reflector App using the iPad and the iPhone at the same time

I am not sure how many devices you can hook up at one time, but it seems, if you had a classroom set of iPads, each student could showcase his or her iPad when appropriate while not being tethered to the projector. And you could screencast those presentations on the desktop for assessment purposes, too!

The price of the Reflector Mac App is $14.99 for use on one machine, $49.99 for a 5-pack, and, if you are interested in purchasing more than 20 copies,  drop them an email at and they will work with you!

Update: The Reflector App now does screencasting beautifully! It brings in system audio from the iPad and records that, too. It does not record the iPad "frame". Just the screen area.

Update 2 (5/6/12): Another app has hit the market that also allows turns the computer into an AirPlay device to allow wireless streaming from the iPad or iPhone or iPod Touch. This application is call AirServer and it has different features. It can show up full-screen on the computer screen AND it works with both Windows and Macs. It is $14.99 for 5 licenses. It, however, does not do screencasting at this point.

Update (6/13/12): The Reflector app is now available for Windows!

Update (12/8/12): The app is now called Reflector instead of Reflections. I have changed the name and URL link in this blog.

If you have any more ideas for use of this app in the classroom.

Here is a great idea for classroom use from Dennis McElroy, an Associate Professor of Education at the Gleazer School of Education at Graceland University.

"If you have Garageband, it is ideal for adding audio, music, etc. to create a very professional PD video. Some people might have Screencast already which is another powerful tool for adding all the tracks. I particularly like to use it to be able to zoom into specific areas of the captured screen. Creates a beautiful product."

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

My new "business"

In addition to presenting webinars and traveling to conferences all over the place, I have decided to start a new side business. It is a face-to-face business which you probably would not expect from me!

Right after the holidays, I helped plan and help out at a "Bring your new gadget to the library" night hosted by my town library. We were hoping to get people to bring in their new tablets, e-readers, and digital cameras and to help out with their questions. Over 40 people showed up, which, for our small town, is a big turn-out! The age of the attendees ranged from 50-85.

The questions ran the gamut from "How do I get my Yahoo contacts onto my iPad?" to "Can you help me install what I need on my Pandigital tablet so I can use the e-books offered by the library?" Much of the time was spent with helping Kindle, Nook, and iPad owners with the process for getting the Overdrive e-books onto their devices. Along the way, there were tons of other questions, too!

I realized there really is not a place where our community members can go to learn the basics of the use of all these new tech devices. It seemed like a niche that was waiting to be filled! I was in the process of getting an office in town, anyhow, so I decided to start a business to support those that need help. I have been open for two days now.

The site, which explains the business in more detail, can be found here:

I will let you know how I make out! And, if I need any help, I will be sure to tweet out my questions to my very smart PLN! :-)