Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2019


Create and share high-quality screencasts without breaking the bank

Subjects & skills

  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (7 Reviews)

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Pros: The intuitive design makes for a fun user experience, and the paid versions are cost effective and include a full suite of editing tools.

Cons: It takes time to build a content library; a gallery of standards-based, high-quality screencasts would be helpful for time-starved teachers.

Bottom Line: A well-designed screen and video recorder that lets teachers and students focus on creating engaging content from the get-go.

Teacher-produced screencasts using Screencast-O-Matic can help you communicate expectations, ideas, and assignments in a way that's palatable for both you and your students. Flip your classroom, provide video feedback on writing assignments, or create your own Khan Academy-style videos, complete with drawing and narration. Kids will like seeing your face and hearing the consistency of your explanations, and parents will be able to help their kids without contradicting what kids learned in class. Involve parents further by replacing your traditional newsletter with a brief weekly video about class happenings or a short daily "What did I miss?" screencast to keep absent kids in the loop. 

Student-produced screencasts are useful for everything from formative assessment to passion projects. For ELA or a foreign language, let kids record a read-aloud and reflection to assess fluency and comprehension without putting them on the spot. In science, take the traditional lab sheet online by having kids record observations or explain a procedure for conducting an experiment. For presentations, consider a digital gallery walk through students' videos with opportunities to comment via your school's learning management system (LMS). However you use it, though, be sure to educate students about their digital footprint. Although users can choose not to make videos searchable, curiosity or human error might lead students to share videos publicly. It's best to remind students about the consequences of sharing personally identifying information online.

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Screencast-O-Matic is an online screen recorder that allows teachers and students to record, trim, edit, save, and share screencasts. With the free download, users can produce screencasts with or without a webcam and choose from options that include adding a description, assigning to a channel, or password-protecting the video. Those wanting to create more sophisticated videos may want to consider the Solo Deluxe plan; cash-strapped teachers may find the $1.50-per-month price point doable, especially considering it comes with a full editing suite, drawing tools, overlays, audio options, and longer recording times. There's also a Solo Premier plan at $4.00 per month, which adds hosting and secure backup. Teachers can access their videos and launch the recorder or editor from the video hosting site (in beta). The editor is well designed, and once you get the hang of it, it's easy to clip, modify, caption, and combine videos. If you leave out important details, you can create or import additional videos and drop them into an existing recording, so you won't have to start all over.  

The site's up-to-date blog is helpful for tips, tricks, and posts about best practices, and the Support Center contains tutorials covering every aspect of Screencast-O-Matic (helpful when you're stuck on a certain feature). What's missing is a library of especially useful or highly rated teacher-created screencasts.

Creating videos with Screencast-O-Matic can be an incredibly effective time- and sanity-saver in the classroom. Giving students the opportunity to play, pause, rewind, and replay can go a long way toward empowering them to take ownership of their learning and grasp concepts without disrupting class. From an instructional standpoint, video feedback is a powerful learning tool, giving kids the opportunity to see teachers interact with and reflect upon their work in real time. 

Letting students produce their own recordings gives them a chance to show what they know and provides opportunities to edit for clarity, correctness, and audience engagement. Screencast-O-Matic's editing tools allow students to clip, combine, or add to videos as well as add overlays, arrows, captions, and more before submitting -- so they'll have fun creating them. Not all students respond to video in the same way, though, so while screencasts are a great supplement to instruction, relying too heavily on them may sacrifice opportunities for personal conversation or hands-on-learning. Teachers will need to be sure to balance real and virtual face time with their kids to build relationships and keep them motivated.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

This tool can easily captivate kids if they're producing the videos themselves. Teachers will want to ensure they're creating attractive, age-appropriate content that will keep students interested.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Well-produced, arresting videos, whether created by a teacher or a student, have the potential to aid in learning and retention for students at all levels.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Setup is easy, and the user interface is intuitive. Tutorials available by feature within the tool are a big plus, and in the paid versions, there are options to add features that support students with unique needs.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 7 reviews) (7 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Nellie D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Teaching as a Way to Learn
I have been using Screencast-o-matic (SOM) with teachers online in my Moodle training workshops for a number of years. My students create video tutorials using Screencast-o-matic. SOM provides students with a tool of communication and learning. They create video tutorials and publish the on Youtube, Google Drive, and on Vimeo. I love the ease of using the tool. I also use SOM to edit videos. I import videos from my phone or from online conferences and edit them. ...
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