Online College Courses for Credit


Screen Recordings

Teachers' Lounge

Grab your coffee and come on in.

Got something to say? Looking for advice or inspiration? Post questions, join discussions, compare notes and share your insights on the latest topics in our Teachers' Lounge.

Screen Recordings
carolyn fruin
I’ve heard you’re always supposed to be in the video you make. Is this right or can I just screen record with my voice over?
Dec. 26, 2013 at 5:12 am
Jimmy Bodden
Interesting question, no simple answer. Sometimes a demo with a pic is all it takes (After all, a pic is worth a thousand words). While choosing between showing my face or not, I choose not to. I find that students like it best when I use Educreations or something of the sort... Just voice, occasional pic, and/or scribbles gets the job done.
Mar. 07, 2014 at 3:55 pm
Kevin LaFollett
I'm of the belief that your voice must be in the vidoes, at the very least. I have some videos where my students can see me and I have others where students can only hear me. I like to change it up from time to time just to be different.
Mar. 05, 2014 at 11:58 am
I don't think it really matters if students see you on screen. They know your voice and that should be enough of a connection. The key is the presentation of the material. Is it clear and concise? Is it easy to follow? Is it visually appealing? Does it offer students opportunity to check for understanding? Does it meet the needs of the students in your classroom? Are there enough visuals for the visual learner? Is there enough verbal explanation for the auditory learner? Does the haptic learner have a chance to do something? Basically, how are the students being engaged both in the video and in your classroom as a follow-up? If engagement is a visual of you, then put your face on the screen.

I primarily make videos for chemistry and physics using SMART Notebook software, SMART Recorder or Screencast o Matic. My students appreciate when I use color to help them to identify information in the problems, whether it is using a highlighter or simply changing color of the text. I find that helping students to dissect the problem in this way is invaluable to their success when they have to solve problems on their own.

Feb. 27, 2014 at 9:17 am
Video length is dependent upon topic and target group.

I do chunk the material whenever possible.

As much as I would like to be generic and make one video, sometimes it is necessary to make shorter more focused lessons based upon the students in a specific class.

I have recently begun creating tutorials on Sophia ( where I can group several videos together with a quiz and other support materials. This allows me to choose several videos to give students choice and varied approaches.
I almost always include a Tyler video in my tutorials.

Mar. 05, 2014 at 3:27 pm
carolyn fruin
Laurie - the information I have read is 1 minute per grade level, ie 7th grade = 7 minutes max. Makes sense to make them smaller, sort of like the ten and two rule in lectures - ten to share (teacher), two to pair (students).

Anyone else hear anything else?
Mar. 04, 2014 at 8:41 pm
Laurie Lykken
Thanks for the software tips, Brian. Do you have a set maximum length for your video explanations? Do you chunk videos to keep them short or do you put an entire lesson on one video?
Mar. 04, 2014 at 10:32 am
Greg Prater
I feel you need to keep it as close to the classroom as possible. As much as I dont like placing my mug in the recording I do use the webcam and have the inset of me in the corner. This is particularly helpful with gestures and facial expressions. If you havent done so please do your an extreme favor and watch some of the many short videos create by Lodge McCammon and Katie Gimbar here
Jan. 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm
Amy Layton Walker
I don't have a set policy on this topic. Sometimes I record my face and other times I don't, it just depends on how I feel when I make the video. I try to include an intro of myself however and it is almost always my voice doing the instruction. I have even popped in a call out or 'flash' of me or something random to keep their attention.
Dec. 15, 2013 at 10:31 am
Stacey Roshan
Some great comments in here! Enjoying reading the various perspectives. Wishing we had a like button :)
Dec. 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm
Chuck Surina Jr.
I would say it depends on the software. I use camtasia and it give you the option of recording face, voice, both or none. Works very well either way.
Dec. 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm
John Stegmaier
I use educreations for most of my "videos." Since I teach chemistry, I teach mostly techniques and practice in writing chemical equations, etc so Educreations is perfect. It does not show my face. I have also used Camtasia which has the face option. I think either is fine. If you were trying to demonstrate a physical skill you would most likely want to use a camera on the skill being performed, such as playing an instrument, but if it is strictly cognitive, I think it is appropriate just to show the process without you in it as long as the students hear your voice. I read some where ( I think it was One World Schoolhouse by Sal Khan) that Khan does not put his face into the video so that it is not a distraction. I really believe it is a personal approach.
Dec. 12, 2013 at 11:17 am
Kristin Pontarelli
I'm honestly not in my videos because I create them usually at night, with no make-up on. I don't want to scare them! But Camtasia does have that capability. I received a grant from the Parent Teacher Group to get Camtasia downloaded to my computer.
Dec. 11, 2013 at 7:13 pm
Cynthia Clark
Most of my screencasts entail showing my students how to use technology so I generally don't include the webcam shot of me talking. I use Blueberry Express right now (it's free) and upload it to my YouTube account. I share the YouTube link with my students. If I discuss content, then I have the webcam displayed, with me at the bottom right corner.
Dec. 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm
sonya rosenglick
I hear students actually like to see their instructor! Yes, using a screencast tool that enables a screenshot of the instructor is a best practice, but not necessary, usually. IMHO I started using Jing first, because it was so easy to learn and FREE. I then moved on to screencastomatic's FREE version and liked it so much I pay the $25/yr for extra space....and yes, I can include a small screenshot of myself with the screencast.
Dec. 11, 2013 at 9:36 am
Kayla Berning
Remember, Sophia has free built in screencastomatic with a one-click upload. Take a look at this tutorial on how to use it:
Dec. 13, 2013 at 11:38 am
Stacey Roshan
I simply record my screen (mainly my handwriting) and audio. My videos are mainly just me inking on the screen and students should constantly be focused on what I’m actively writing. The attention piece in my videos is very visual without watching me talk. I can do so much with the pen and with callout boxes. But perhaps when hand gestures are really needed, that webcam is a vital piece? I am careful to not do much talking without writing, though, as I find it really helps students focus!

I actually wrote a whole blog post on the topic, so definitely don't feel like this is a right/wrong type of deal:
Dec. 11, 2013 at 8:24 am
sonya rosenglick
Hi Stacey, I just read your blog on making effective flipped videos. I agree with you, there is no one way to flip or make videos. I have learned from the very beginning that flipping is not a pedagogy, but a practice that we must mold into our own. Yes, I have read that it is a best practice to include your headshot in the video, but I do believe that is a preference. Frankly, I don't like seeing myself on the video or screencast anyway. What works best for our students should be the deciding factor in everything we do. There are many different ways to "skin a cat".....sorry, Mew.
Dec. 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm
Patrick Seely
I just subscribed to your Youtube channel. Thanks for the information!
Dec. 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Sophia loves teachers

From the latest news to the best new tech, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Use Our Standards-Aligned Tutorials and Pathways

Did you know Sophia has tons of great content that aligns with the CCSS and NGSS standards? Get a jump on incorporating them into your everyday teaching.

For Your Classroom

Launch your 21st century classroom with the latest cool tools and apps.

Sophia for Teachers Flipping the Classroom

For You

Learning never stops. Always bring your A-game with the latest professional development tools.

Flipped Classroom Certification iPad® Prepared Certification Chrome Classroom Certification Virtual Classroom Certification