Instructional Continuity: Screencast-O-Matic
Screencast-O-Matic (SOM) is an easy-to-use video and screen recording web application for Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks that enables you to capture what is being displayed on your computer screen along with audio and optional webcam. Cal Poly’s license to SOM comes with full editing functionality and automatic/editable captions. Once created, videos can easily be accessed by students via a shared link. If you save the recording to the SOM server, you can easily embed the video directly into your Canvas course.
(Click on the links below to jump to a specific topic on this web page)
- What is Screencast-O-Matic (SOM)?
- Getting Started with SOM (Downloading the Software)
- Screencast-O-Matic "How To" Videos
- External Microphone Suggestions for Screencast-O-Matic
- External Hardware for Writing Equations in Screencast-O-Matic
What is Screencast-O-Matic (SOM)?
Screencast-O-Matic (SOM) is an application for Mac and Windows computers that records screen activity (PowerPoint, Keynote, Google slides, a demonstration of specific software, web site navigation, etc.). You can record just the screen, just your face with your computer’s webcam, or both simultaneously. When you are done recording, you can edit your video with easy-to-use editing tools, add music, add automatic (editable) captions, etc. When you have finished editing your video, you can save the recording and upload to the SOM server and easily embed the video into your Canvas or PolyLearn courses. Never has creating pre-recorded edited videos for your courses been so easy!
What's the difference between using Screencast-O-Matic and ZOOM for your class? ZOOM was made for synchronous or asynchronous non-editable content; SOM was made for the perfectionist in you that wants a quality, edited video with bells and whistles!
Getting Started with SOM (Downloading the Software)
NOTE: Do not use Screencast-O-Matic through the Screencast-O-Matic company's website or you will only have access to the free version without editing capabilities. Follow the instructions below to connect to Screencast-O-Matic through the Cal Poly portal so you can edit your video and enjoy all the bells and whistles offered to you through our Cal Poly license.
Open your browser (Safari, Chrome, or Firefox) and go to:
- The Cal Poly portal page will appear. Log in with your Cal Poly username and password as you normally would.
The first time you log in through the Cal Poly portal to Screencast-O-Matic, it will ask you to type your First and Last Name and agree to the terms of service by clicking on the checkbox. When you have filled out this box, click on the blue button labeled Create Account at the bottom of the dialog box.
SOM will return you to the SOM web page. Click on Start Recorder. (The first time you do this, SOM will guide you through installing the Screen Recorder Launcher.)
When you click Start Recorder for this first time, SOM will ask to allow it to download the Screen Recorder Launcher. Click the Allow button. (SOM will not do this every time you use it, but when you create your account for the first time, it needs to download its software to your computer).
After you allow downloads, your browser will begin downloading the SOM software. When the InstallScreenRecorderLaunche.dmg is downloaded to your computer, double-click it to start the installation. (Note: This next screenshot may look different depending upon which browser you are using.)
Depending on the type of security you have set on your computer, you might also encounter this warning. Click on the Open button.
Your computer will tell you that it is opening the Screen Recorder Launcher.
Your installation is done. SOM will tell you that the Screen Recorder is ready and tell you to return to the SOM web page to start a recording. Click the OK button.
Back on the SOM web page where you originally entered, click on the Start Recorder button again.
Another dialog box will appear asking if you will allow the launching of the Screen Recorder Launcher.app. Click Allow.
Screencast-O-Matic will appear on your screen. You will know it is working if you see a black and white box on your screen and some Record settings that available for you to use.
Screencast-O-Matic "How To" Videos:
This first video will show you how to get started. (Note: Cal Poly owns a license to the Deluxe Pro version referenced in this video)
Introduction to Screencast-O-Matic (1 Video)
External Microphone Suggestions for Screencast-O-Matic
Although you can use your computer's microphone for Screencast-O-Matic, you may wish to upgrade to an external microphone. Besides the advantage of your students being able to hear you more clearly, an external microphone increases the accuracy of your video captions, alleviating the extra time it takes to edit them. Save yourself time editing audio captions by getting a better microphone. Here are some suggestions listed from cheap (but good) to more expensive, including links to Amazon:
- Apple Earpods for iPhone with Lightning Connector (approx. $20)
- Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Sport IPX7 (approx. $25)
- CMTECK USB Computer Microphone for Mac or Windows (approx. $25)
- Sennheiser PC8 USB Stereo Headset for PC and Mac with In-Line Volume and Mute Control (approx. $30)
- Koss Headphones (CS100-USB) - Small Earpieces (approx. $25)
- Koss Headphones (SB45 USB) - Large Cushioned Earpieces (approx. $30)
- Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone (approx. $30)
- Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac (approx. $125)
- Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Audio Interface (approx. $150) - my current personal favorite! Cheaper at Sweetwater
- Rode MT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone (approx. $170)
Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones (approx. $250) Be sure to select the proper model for either Apple or Samsung/Android devices.
NOTE: Make sure you have the right connection for your particular computer in terms of USB, Lightning, USB-C, etc. If you need an audio adapter from your microphone to your computer's connector, check out the following: Audio Adapters at Apple
External Hardware for Writing Equations in SOM
Screencast-O-Matic has an Annotation tool, but unless you have a drawing tablet that hooks to your computer via USB, it isn’t easy to write intricate equations with the Screencast-O-Matic Annotation tool. However, if you have an iPad and a stylus, you should be able to use iOS app on your device (downloadable for free from the App Store) and write equations as you record with the app. You would then save the annotated screencast from your device out to the SOM server and edit it on your computer with the SOM editor. Make your edits, add automatic captions (and correct them) on the computer version of SOM before the final upload to the SOM server. Share the link to your annotated video of equations with your students via email or the LMS.
Another option is to use a Wacom tablet (such as the Intuos, approx. $80) and an application such as OneNote (available from Cal Poly) as your whiteboard (paper) where you can draw equations as you record your drawing and audio with Screencast-O-Matic. It works great!