Thursday, January 09, 2014

Screencasting with Screenmailer

Screenmailer is a new screencasting/screen recording tool for Mavericks on the Mac. It is easy to use, quick to render, and can be used as an on-the-spot solution for teacher or student screencasts!

As with any screencast, you should first plan your recording, get things set-up on your desktop, practice your script, and then start the recording. 

Setting up the screencast

Screenmailer runs on your Mac, and, once installed, allows you to log-in with Google credentials or create a Screenmailer account. You will need to be connected to the Web in order to use Screenmailer.

Once logged in
Sign in or create an accout

Once you log-in, as you seen above, you can see your previously-recorded videos, play them, delete them, email the link to someone, or copy the link. And, of course, you can begin a new recording by picking the record button.
You then get a choice of the audio input source and whether to record the full screen or to outline an area of the screen to record. The developer of Screenmailer recommends outlining an area rather than using the full screen option, especially if you have a hi-res screen.

You can record a video for up to 30 minutes and easily pause the recording to collect your thoughts or change what is on your computer screen. This comes in handy when showcasing different content during the screen recording. Also, you can see you can easily record yourself (or any other video) at the same time you are showcasing content.

The screencast is saved to the Screenmailer server, and you are provided with a private URL for sharing your video and you can email the link to students or colleagues. Any video you record and post will appear whenever you log-in to your accout, so you always have access to the private URL and can delete a video if you no longer need it. Here is the latest test video I recorded. (One tip: if you are planning to show a video during a class period, load and play it beforehand so it is buffered on your computer.)

One option that should be coming soon to Screenmailer is the ability to download the video either in the app or on the video play page. Until that happens, you can use the Firefox extension Video DownloadHelper to download the video to your computer for use in a presentation, putting into a content management system, or uploading to your YouTube or Vimeo channels. (Thanks to Tom Gavin for the find!) It has worked for me on my desktop with no special set-up. I suggest you pick .MP4 as the download format so it is compatible with many sites and programs.

If you have any ideas or thoughts for the developer of Screenmailer, his contact information is on the Screenmailer home page. He is very receptive to ideas for future features. And follow @screenmailer on Twitter to find out about any new features!

If you are going to be creating screencasts for students or having students create their own, I have a blog post dedicated to the idea, Screencasting for Educators, and a Web page, Screencasting in the Classroom, with links to successful practices, resources, and much more. 

If you create any screencasts for the classroom with Screenmailer, share the URL with me via email.  We can all learn new techniques for creating engaging screencasts from each other!