As educators, we are always on a tight budget. So when it comes to extras like screencasting (recording your computer’s screen) software, Free is the right price. I just finished testing four solutions for screencasting ScreenToaster, Screencast-0-matic, Jing and CamTwist (mac only) and have decided the winner is Screencast-o-matic.
My criteria were 1) runs on my mac (but PC/Mac solutions OK too), 2) good resolution of final files, 3) download file for later use 4) easy to use.
ScreenToaster – This is an online solution that will work on any computer with Flash. The resolution of the files is pretty good, but you can’t download the files for offline use. And you have to register for the Beta, which took 24 hours. (2.5 stars)
Screencast-o-matic – This is also an online solution. The name is bad, but the flash package is super simple to use. The files can be saved as .mov (quicktime) files for later use. The resolution is great and can be set to 3 different levels. Works on Mac or PC. I recommend getting a full version of quicktime to easily edit the files and crop out mistakes. (5 stars)
Jing – This is a software solution and the most professional looking. The interface is weird (on Mac anyway) I would suggest watching the how to video and adding it to your title bar. It can be used online or offline. But the files do not share well offline because they are kept in the Jing browser. The broswer is nice looking and the quality is good. Jing has great controls for starting, stopping and pausing. The only thing Jing lacks is a standard file format like .mov or .flv for sharing. (4 stars)
CamTwist – This is a Mac only solution and easily has the worst resolution. The files are very blurry. It is also clunky to use and requires Quicktime for recording. The worst of the bunch, but it does not require internet access to use. (1.5 starts)
I think I will use both Screencast-o-matic and Jing as solutions depending on if I have internet access or not.
I forgot to add iShowU (Mac only), but I have not tested this myself – only seen an example on YouTube. It is also not free – it costs $20-$60 US depending on which of the three versions you choose.