Extend Your Lessons' Shelf Life

Do you find your students struggling to remember what they learned in class when it comes time to do homework? If you already display information from your computer during your lessons (such as PowerPoint Presentations, notes, illustrations, etc.), why not use screencasting to record those lessons? It’s easy to create screencasts for your students to access at home or during work time at school to help them refresh their memory and keep you on track in the classroom. Here’s how!

  1. Make sure you have Snagit installed on your computer. If you don’t, you can try Snagit free. We’re using Snagit on Windows for this tutorial, but you can do the same thing on a Mac.
  2. Set up your computer like you normally would for class by cleaning off your desktop and opening any digital materials you plan to use for your lesson, such as notes, PowerPoint presentations, or websites.
  3. When you’re ready to begin, open up the Snagit Capture Window, select Video Capture Mode, and click the Capture button.
    Image of Video Capture Mode and Capture buttons in Snagit (Windows) 
  4. Next, select the area of your screen that you want to record. If you’re storing your videos in a location that requires specific dimensions, you’ll want to use those dimensions when recording. Otherwise, make sure you choose an area that will allow you to easily record all of your digital materials. To select an area of your screen, click and drag your crosshairs from the top left to the bottom right corner of where you want to record.
    Image showing how to select a recording area in Snagit(Windows)

    Toggle the magnifier on and off by pressing M if you need help getting an exact dimension.
    Image of the Magnifier in Snagit(Windows)

    If you get confused when selecting a region to record, you can always press the F1 key to toggle the help window on and off.
    Image of the help window available when selecting an area to capture in Snagit(Windows)
  5. Now that you’ve set your recording area, you need to make sure your audio is ready to go. Before you get started, you should see this in the middle of your screen.
    Image of the audio on message in Snagit(Windows)

    To ensure that your video is easy to understand, we recommend that you use a lapel microphone. (There are a lot of options available, but if you need help choosing, TechSmith offers an inexpensive option in our online store.) Check your audio levels by talking into your microphone at a normal speaking level. If the activity in your audio meter is green, then you’re good to go. If there’s no activity, or if the activity is red or orange, you will need to either change your input source or check your input volume. 
    Volume level meter in the Snagit recorder
    To change your audio input, choose your desired input source from the dropdown menu to the right of the audio meter.
    The audio input dropdown menu in Snagit(Windows)
  6. When you’re ready to start your lesson, click the record button. This will start a three-second countdown, and then Snagit will start recording.
    Record button in Snagit Recorder
  7. Click the stop button to end your recording when you’re done with your lesson or topic.
    Stop recording button
  8. Now you’re ready to save and share your video. Snagit gives you a number of output options for your video. You can find these options by selecting the Share tab in the Snagit Editor.
    Share tab in the Snagit Editor
    You’ll want to store your videos where your students can easily access them. Posting your videos to Screencast.com is an easy way to store and share your videos. You can create different folders and playlists for each topic area that make it easy for your students to find a specific video. You can also set your privacy levels to determine who can access your videos. Before you upload your first video, take a minute to adjust your upload Settings by first expanding your Screencast.com dropdown menu,
    Button to open the Screencast.com sharing settings
    and then choosing options.
    Screencast.com sharing settings dropdown menu with options highlighted

    Adjust the settings as desired. In particular, you’ll want to (1) create a new folder for your videos with a descriptive name, (2) select that folder to store your videos, and (3) make sure that you are prompted to name your file before uploading. If you establish an easy-to-remember naming and storage convention to keep track of your videos before you get started, you'll save yourself a lot of time later when it comes to maintenance.
    Screencast.com sharing options pop-up
  9. When you’re ready to share your video, click the Screencast.com button. Snagit will upload your video and automatically add the link for your video to your clipboard. If you don’t have a free Screencast.com account, you’ll be prompted to create one the first time you share a video to Screencast.com.
    Share to Screencast.com button

 

Tips and Tricks

 

  1. Here we’ve shown you how to use Snagit to record your lessons, but you can also use Camtasia. Determine which product best fits your needs.
  2. Snagit doesn’t have a time limit, but if your lessons will be longer than, say, 10-15 minutes, you may want to consider starting a new recording at the beginning of each topic. This will keep your file sizes down and help students find the information they need without having to scrub through a long video.
  3. If your school uses an LMS such as Moodle, or if you have a class blog or website that your students can access, you can use the Screencast.com HTML embed code to embed your videos on your existing site.
  4. You can also use Snagit to create visually compelling written materials to introduce assignments or class procedures. Simply use the image capture tool and the Snagit editor to create images that you can add to any written document (like the images you see throughout this tutorial). Adding images to your written instructions will help your students visualize and better understand key pieces of information.

 

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NEED MORE HELP?

For more help with this activity, check out these tutorials:

Introduction to Snagit 11

Recording Video

Sharing with Snagit

Share to Screencast.com