Integrating Screen-Capture Based Instructional Videos into Instruction

With the software applications become increased complexity and more visually oriented and learners are growing larger and more distant, teachers need a tool that will assist them in delivering learning objectives and help them with the demands of software demonstrations. Screen-capture based video software appears to be one tool for developing prerecorded presentations that can be used to assist instructors with software demonstrations as well as allow students for further review. A screen capture video is a recording of movement on a computer display, including any “click” or selections made by the instructor. In addition, screen-capture software allows a voice over to be added as the computer is used. The screen-capture videos can then be played back by either the teacher (in-class demonstrations) or the student (self-paced demonstrations). Furthermore, these videos can be streamed to allow anytime anywhere access across the Internet.

Video has played an important role in teaching and learning. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a moving picture is invaluable for explaining and demonstrating the complicated content on today’s computers. Prerecorded videos of computer-based steps have proven to be an effective means of showing how software applications work. Screen-capture based instructional video is one of the most powerful tools for creating effective training, tutorials, and presentations. The digital video technology and screen-capture software allow teachers to easily create and record original, high-quality prerecorded software presentations that can be used for in-class demonstrations and run by students for further review at their convenience on the Web. Students can follow the videos and then practice on their own and complete the assignments. They can learn complex computing techniques and tasks via digital videos or access material when they miss a class due to illness or unexpected circumstances. The screen-capture software is a very effective way of delivering software instruction and is ideal for student-centered learning and an online learning environment.

There are many screen-capture video software. Camtasia is by far the most popular and powerful screencasting software. You can use Camtasia to create any type of video (training, demonstrations, presentations, online courses, etc.) with inclusions of screen recordings, audio, voice narration, PowerPoint, Picture-in-Picture and webcam video. Also, you can edit and enhance your video with callouts, titles, credits, zooming, panning, quizzes and additional audio tracks. Finally, you can publish and share your screen-capture videos in Flash, AVI, QuickTime and a variety of video formats on the Web, CD or DVD.


However, Camtasia is not cheap. Even with educational discount, it still costs about $179. So, if you and your school have limited budget, you may consider Camstudio, a free, open source option. CamStudio allows you to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files. In addition, you can use its built-in SWF Producer to turn the AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs). My experience of using CamStudio is positive. It is very easy to use and the quality of recorded video is quite good. I think Camstudio is an excellent tool for teachers and students. Particularly, it is FREE.


About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Educational Technology, Multimedia, Technology Integration. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Integrating Screen-Capture Based Instructional Videos into Instruction

  1. I think that this would be a good idea for students learning at their own pace. This would be good for the future and for students.

    I think that this device would help students learn at their own pace, and for faculty this would be great so that they could easily go back and review what they went over in class.

    I think that if anyone could afford to buy the product they should so that they could learn on their own. I also think that faculty as well as students should use this in their classrooms.

  2. Lisa McBeth says:

    Using Screen-Capture based Instructional videos in a college or even a high school class would be wonderful for the students as well as the instructors. The students could view the videos when they need a refresher on a lesson, or when they missed a class. They could also view the videos as a review tool when studying for exams. Instructors could view their class videos to reflect on their teaching to see if they covered all the objectives they wanted to meet for a particular lesson. This valuable tool needs to be available at a cheaper price though, so more people could afford it.

  3. Tawana Alexander says:

    I wish that someone would have come up with this idea when I was sick for the entire two weeks in high school; my family had to hire a tutor. Of course it was not the same experience as sitting in the classroom, but I was really behind that week. I really like the idea I know a few professors that uses a technique of this kind. I also so know of a few colleagues that do not come to class they just watch or listen on the Internet. I believe that this is a disadvantage as well as an advantage. I believe that this should not be used for younger students. Well, I take that back it may be useful for younger children as well. I believe that the Camtasia idea is good and yes it is not cheap. This also could be a great tool for teachers to critique themselves. The teacher can view there weakness and work on what they need to improve on. I am glad that you decided to use this software. I have never missed class, but I know that your recordings will come in handy.

  4. Kemiaya Jackson says:

    I think this would be a great idea for students. I was never the type of the student to miss days in school, but I had this friend to miss school all the time because of sickness. If they would invented this new project I would have been alot better. This could also be very important to teachers as well, they could go back and review their work. Camtasia is said to be very powerful, I think society as well as teachers and students should take advantage.

  5. James M. Thompson says:

    Screen-captured based instructional videos would be an ideal instructional strategy for school districts to implement that would be beneficial for both teachers and students. Due to the ever-evolving world of technology, it can become overwhelming to many educators. Individuals must be taught how to integrate technology into various instructional strategies. Many teachers shy away from the use of technology because they do not want others to perceive their ignorance of not knowing how to use technology or specific software. In order to combat this dilemma, school district’s instructional technology department could implement screen-captured based instructional videos in a wide range of self-pace course to train teachers on various topics related to instructional strategies, such as: various uses of specific software; how to create a detailed lesson plan using technology; and guidelines to follow as a new teacher. By using this form of technology, it can tremendously help to reduce the number of faculty meetings that are called because several teachers do not know how to navigate the Internet or their lack of experience in creating a PowerPoint presentation. Since screen-captured based instructional video is not a synchronous learning strategy, teachers can work at their own pace and at their own time.
    Screen-captured based instructional video is also beneficial to students. For instance, many teachers assign a huge project that is worth 30% of the students’ final grade. Since this is the case, it is imperative that students obtain the gist of every single detail. Although teachers may give students a handout and explain it in class, the project due date is probably not until two months later. Students tend to have a bad habit of forgetting what the teacher said in class two days ago; therefore, their chances of remembering what the teacher said seven weeks ago is slim to none. Therefore, teachers could model how he or she would like for their students to do their project by using screen-captured based instructional videos. Students could navigate through the video to visualize examples of previous projects and/or learn answers to some of their questions that they may have not asked in class.

  6. wanda moye says:

    In the old days after designing a computer system for a client, I would create a User’s Manual. In order to recreate some of the steps, I would capture a computer image by using the screen print key and then place the image into a Microsoft Word document. Boy have we come a long way. This is a much better way to explain a process that requires using a computer keyboard.

    As a learning tool for educators and students it seems to be a valuable instrument for self pacing and complete instructions. When a student is watching a presentation on video, all the senses are being used. A student is visually watching information that has to be comprehended mentally and translated into some type of keyboard action. This is a lot of activity and without the use of software like Camtasia it would be difficult if not impossible to keep up with the instructor. Each year I teach word processing and computer applications, this would help me immensely. I will try using the free open source CamStudio version this summer. I love technology; however, like most teachers during the school year, time is at a premium. My summer will be busy mastering all the new technologies that I have learned.

  7. Camtasia says:

    Hey, cool post. My Dad and I were discussing this just the other day, and he had some weird ideas! lol Are you going to extend this? I would love to learn more 🙂

  8. Roslyn Warren says:

    It’s nice to see that there is an alternative to Camtasia. I am interested in exploring CamStudio because the videos within Jing cannot be transferred to other systems. Is there a way to convert a .svf into another more readible one?

  9. Michael T. says:

    I love looking at these older posts with kind of a “hindsight” view on these. Dr. Yuen was correct when he stated that screen capturing software would be useful for instruction. Do a Youtube search about anything concerning computers, software, or a plethora of other topics you’ll find screen captures. Many professors and other educators utilize screen capture tools to create interactive and engaging lessons. I even made my computer “talk” to my class once using a screen capture of a pre-recorded Question and Answer session that I had between myself and my computer for the sake of the students. It was amazing and they were amazed 🙂
    If you have a windows machine you can use the new Microsoft Expression Encoder/ Screen capture suite. It is free and it is very useful. You can record audio, video, and your screen. It has a built in editor that is very similar to Camtasia. The only downside that I can see is that it only exports to .wmv, but this is an easy fix with Handbrake or another h.264 video encoder if you have one.

    If you have a mac then you can do quick simple screen captures with Quicktime. You can’t record audio or webcam (that I’m aware of), but the finished product is a high quality .mov that can be edited within iMovie or your editor of choice.

    Of course there’s still Camtasia, which is by far my favorite. Techsmith produces Camtasia and they also have a free product called Jing that exports video directly to .swf files and can be uploaded to very easily.

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