iPad Screencasting Apps for Schools
Screencasting on an iPad
Whether you are flipping your classroom, or just looking to create some quick tutorials, iPad screencasting apps are a great place to start. There are lots to choose from, but the basics are the same. You tap record and everything you say or draw on the screen will be recorded and saved as a video on your iPad.
Teachers use them to create mini-lessons for students (and other teachers), while kids use them to demonstrate their learning and share it with the world. So, which one is right for you? Let's find out!
Educreations was one of the first screencasting apps available for the iPad, and it remains a popular choice with educators. It has 10 ink colors to choose from, a useful text tool, and the ability to add images from the camera roll, Dropbox, or the Internet. You can also snap a picture from inside the app and use that too.
You can animate images by dragging them around the screen while you record, and scroll the page when you need more space. Any mistakes you make are easily fixed with the eraser or undo tools.
Finished screencasts can be uploaded to a private, online class that you create for your students, or embedded on blogs and websites as needed. Alternatively, you can browse the library of lessons educators have shared with the world to see if you can find a relevant video without having to create one yourself.
ShowMe is another iPad screencasting app that has been around for a long time. In fact, for a while, it was the only real competition for Educreations, but as you will see as you read through this list, times have changed.
ShowMe has all the basic features you would expect, but honestly, not a whole lot more. There is a pen tool, an eraser, and an image tool. Multiple pages can be added, but there is no option to rerecord individual pages. So, if you make a mistake you can't recover from, you need to start again.
One of the more useful features is the Groups option. It lets you share screencasts with your students, or have students share their screencasts with the rest of the class in a secure, private environment. It even lets you track student viewing habits and post comments to a discussion board. However, the Groups feature does require a $5 per month subscription.
Doceri Interactive Whiteboard (Free)
Doceri is an app with two distinct functions. On the one hand, it is a powerful, free screencasting app that can be used to record iPad screencasts. It has a wealth of sophisticated drawing and annotation tools, many of which other screencasting apps struggle to come close to. Highlighters, brush tools, spray cans, shape tools and arrows are all part of your arsenal of tools, and each one can be customized for color, size, spacing and opacity.
There are also a myriad of backgrounds that you can choose for your screencast, including graph papers, maps, sheet music, and more. There are even nice options like a wrist guard to help cut down on unwanted mistakes.
The other side of the app requires you to buy a license for the Doceri desktop software. With this installed, you can use the same annotation tools to record over anything you can show on your computer. So, PowerPoints, websites, graphics programs and more can all be used, recorded and annotated over using Doceri on your iPad. Currently the desktop app costs $30, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
Doodlecast Pro ($4.99)
Doodlecast Pro is among the more expensive screencasting apps available for the iPad, so is it worth the money? It offers a lot of the standard features you come to expect in a screencasting app, but still has some nice touches that are included to try to make it stand out from the pack.
There is a fill tool, that will change the color of your canvas to one of over 30 different colors. Doodlecast Pro also has a cursor tool that can be used while you are recording to highlight certain parts of your screen. This can customized to one of eight different shapes. Among the backgrounds you can choose are some sporting images like a basketball court, soccer or football field, and this could be great for recording your favorite tactical plays. You can also import PDFs from other apps and mark those up as part of your recording.
This screencasting app is unique among its peers, and is ideal for flipped or blended learning classrooms. With Ask3, the teacher can create classes for their students to join via a class code. Once enrolled in the class, any screencast that the teacher creates is automatically pushed out to all students in that class. No need to share links, embed on a website or anything else. The video is delivered automatically to the Ask3 app on the student device, and can even be watched offline.
Additionally, students can leave comments or questions on the recorded screencasts. These comments are viewable by others in the class so students can help answer questions from their classmates in a private class video forum. Students can also leave a video response at any given point in the screencast to try and elicit their understanding further, or to show what they need more help with. Oh, and the app is free!
LivePaper (Free or $5.99)
The paid version of LivePaper is the most expensive screencasting app in this collection, but the ad-supported free version lets you try out the majority of the same features to help you decide if it is worth the extra money or not. Regardless of which version you choose, you will quickly find that the focus of this app is a little different from all the rest.
The purpose of LivePaper is to give you the ability to record audio while taking notes. So, students could be taking notes on a lesson given by the teacher, while recording handwritten notes at the same time. LivePaper takes both recordings, syncs them together, and combines them into a video to watch and scan through later.
So, it's perfect for those times where you might wonder why on earth you wrote what you did at a given point in your notes. With LivePaper, you can scan ahead to that point in the lecture and hear what the teacher was saying when you wrote those very words!
Teachers could also use it during professional development meetings or at conferences as long as the audio is loud enough to be recorded on the iPad's microphone.
Sago Mini Doodlecast ($2.99)
Sago's Mini Doodlecast is an iPad screencasting app for your youngest kids. Aimed at children aged 2-6, it works in very much the same way as the others in this list by recording the child's voice and drawings at the same time.
However, it comes with over 30 drawing prompts to encourage children to draw with purpose and talk about what they are drawing. It can be a great collaborative app where children can work together on the same iPad to complete a drawing, or with a parent or teacher. Finished recordings can be shared by email or exported to the camera roll. Sago Mini Doodlecast is a paid app, but there are no in-app purchases or ads to distract students from their creations. Watch the video below for more information.
In the world of screencasting apps, ExplainEverything is about as good as it gets. Nothing else comes close in terms of features or reliability, so it is often a popular app with iPad classrooms.
ExplainEverything lets you add PDF, PPT, DOC, XLS, and RTF files directly to your screencast. It has a similar slide sorter view to what you find in the Teach app, but also includes a number of project templates to choose from. Any object you add can be rotated, moved, scaled, copied, pasted, cloned, or locked in place.
You can also insert videos, play them during your screencast, and even annotate on top of them. You can insert a browser window to annotate over a website. You can also add sound files from your iPad. The laser pointers come in all shapes and sizes, but the lightsaber is by far the most fun! Finally, there is a free ExplainEverything iBook manual that walks you through all you need to know about how to use this app in the classroom, so be sure to check that out too.
Also available on Android
Do you also have Android devices in your school? ExplainEverything is also available for Android tablets at the same keen price of $2.99. You can find it on the Play Store here: http://goo.gl/gUJHv1
Presentation Recorder ($2.99)
This is another screencasting app that has a singular focus. The goal of Presentation Recorder is to help you create a recording of a Keynote or PowerPoint slideshow. Simply send your presentation to the app from Keynote, Mail or another app, and you can quickly get started with a professional looking screencast.
A virtual laser pointer is included to help you present your slides and you can jump through your presentation in any order you see fit. Your voice is synced to the slides you present, and when you are done, the final screencast is a 720p QuickTime movie that you can save to your Camera Roll so that you can email it or upload to YouTube and Vimeo.
And the Winner is...
Every iPad teacher has their own favorite iPad screencasting tool. Often it is just the one that they are most comfortable using, or the one that their students have the most success with. For me, the best free app is a tie between Educreations and Teach, but if you have funds to spend, you won't regret the extra flexibility you get with ExplainEverything. It offers a lot for the money and has proven itself to be a winner time and time again.
© 2014 Jonathan Wylie