From UBC Wiki

A screencast is a way of providing a video recording of the activity on a computer screen (Udell, 2005). The author can include audio, which is often a narration or explanation, and control the size of the screen that is captured. It’s as easy as clicking a mouse and letting the software record your actions on the computer as you explain what you are doing. Although the uses of screencasts can range anywhere from entertainment to sales, one of its most powerful applications is in education.


Forms of screencasts, such as Lotus Screencam, have been around since 1994 (Wilson, 1995). Due to software and hardware requirement, they were mostly used for commercial purposes. However, they have become easier to create and the availability of free software has made screencasting much more accessible. Screencasts can now be anything from an elaborately produced movie clip to a quickly thrown together half minute explanation (Udell, 2005).

“The term, screencasting, was coined by columnist Jon Udell in 2004.

Udell invited readers of his blog to propose names for the emerging genre; he selected the term screencast, which was proposed by both Joseph McDonald and Deeje Cooley (Brown, Sugar & Luterbach, 2008; Udell, 2005)” (Brown, 2009). Although this has become the most widely used term, screencasting is also know as screen capture, screen recording, and screen video.

Educational reasons for using screencasts

“Screencasting’s use of sound and image attracts the attention of learners differently than more traditional text, and used in combination with text may serve as a powerful method of communicating content (Clark & Paivio, 1991)” (Brown, 2009), not to mention supporting different learning styles(see Multiples Approaches to Understanding). Student surveys show that that screencasts make content more enjoyable, engaging, and provide students with the opportunity to learn at their own pace (Stannard, 2009). As a result, teachers are finding that screencasts are improving instruction (Brown, 2009). Besides using them for demos and descriptions, research is also finding that online teachers are using screencasts in order to add a social aspect to their courses (Brown, 2009). In fact, screencasts that include narrations that are less polished and more natural sounding add a human touch to communicating online.

Structural Elements of a Screencast

Bumpers - We borrow the bumper term from radio broadcasts. It refers to a statement of identity at the beginning and/or end of a broadcast. Some screencasts include an initial greeting or bumper (e.g., “Hi, this is your instructor from the Multimedia Production class.”) and also have a corresponding ending or bumper (e.g., “This is your instructor from the Multimedia Production class saying goodbye.”).

Screen movement - Some of the examined screencasts followed the cursor. In these screencasts the capture frame moves around the screen, keeping the cursor in the center. In our framework, we refer to this style as dynamic screencast movement. In contrast, other screencasts maintain a constant frame in which the cursor moves within that frame, which we refer to as static screencast movement.

Narration - Some screencasts’ audio commentary is an explicit description of a procedure that is coinciding with what is being displayed on the screen. Other audio commentary is an implicit description of a procedure.

Uses in education


The versatility of screencasting means that it can be an excellent medium for laying out the steps required for a methodical solution, such as in math, chemistry, or physics, or relaying quick directions like how to put an assignment in a dropbox. Screencasts can be used to carefully show students how to use new or complicated software, provide a course orientation, or direct students around a teacher’s website.

Archiving content from the classroom

Teachers can record lectures and discussions in a manner that includes visuals (such as highlighting key words or drawing diagrams). They are also able to record the movements on tablets(see Tablet Enhanced Learning Environments) or Interactive Whiteboards as they narrate, allowing students to revisit the steps in solving a problem. Students are able to access a teacher’s lecture at any time, pause and repeat as often as required, and learn at their own pace. Furthermore, screencasts are a great resource when studying for end of year exams.

Supplemental material

Teachers can post supplemental screencasts that simplify or enrich material learned in class. These extra resources can also benefit the students who need to complete an independent learning task.


Screencasts enable students to show teachers their work, making it easier to troubleshoot and identify misunderstandings. The medium can aid a teacher in explaining or answering a student’s question and is an effective way of providing feedback on digital assignments (Stannard, 2009). Furthermore, screencasts can assist in collaborating with other teachers or even relaying information to parents.


Students can demonstrate understanding of a concept and higher order thinking by producing screencasts that teach classmates to solve a problem, use a program, etc. . . . As well, screencasts can be used to complete assignments that require students to analyze and be critical of a website or videos.

Screencast examples

Screencasting software

There are numerous programs available that create screencasts, and they vary in size, features, ease of use, and cost. Two of the most popular screencasting programs are Camtasia and Jing. Camtasia is a paid program that has been around for a while and includes many features (such as recording options, the ability to highlight sections, and a wide range of editing capabilities). Jing is a more basic program that comes in a pro and free version, the major diffences being that the pro has improved recording options and no Jing logos on the screencasts. Jing has become quite popular due to its price and ease of use. It uploads screencasts to, which allows up to 2GB of storage and 2 GB of monthly bandwith (, 2010), and provides a URL for free access to the screencast. (Griffis, 2009). However, one of its limitations is that screencasts are capped to 5 minutes (Jing, 2010).

The following is a list of many of the most popular screencasting programs that run on Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows.



Stop Motion Video

Flipped Classroom and ScreenCasting - Stop Motion Video by Ryan Archer


Brown, A., Luterbach, K., & Sugar, W. (2009). The Current State of Screencast Technology and What is Known About its Instructional Effectiveness. In I. Gibson et al. (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2009 (pp. 1748-1753). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved from

Griffis, P. (2009). Building Pathfinders with Free Screen Capture Tools. Information Technology & Libraries, 28(4), 189-90. Retrieved from

Jing. (2010). Jing for Screencasting. Retrieved from (2010). Plans and Pricing. Retrieved from

Stannard, R. (2009). Video Case Study: Making Tutorials with screen capture software. Retrieved from

Sugar, William; Brown, Abbie; Luterbach, Kenneth. Examining the anatomy of a screencast: Uncovering common elements and instructional strategies. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, [S.l.], v. 11, n. 3, p. 1-20, oct. 2010. ISSN 1492-3831. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 26 Jan. 2017. doi:

Udell, J. (2005). What is screencasting. Retrieved from

Wilson, T. (1994). Lotus screencam: multimedia screen and sound capture utility for windows (Release 1.1).International Journal of Information Management , 15, 155. doi:10.1016/0268-4012(95)90197-3

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