Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology

Instructional Continuity: ScreenPal (SOM)

Screencast-O-Matic Logo

ScreenPal (formally 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. 


New Update:

If your current ScreenPal is prompting you to update your software, complete the following steps:

  1. Select this link: Download Update: ScreenPal
  2. When prompted, select the "I have a Team Plan"
  3. Enter the following URL when prompted: https:/screencast-o-matic.com/calpoly 


(Click on the links below to jump to a specific topic on this web page)

What is ScreenPal?

ScreenPal 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 ScreenPal server and easily embed the video into your Canvas course Never has creating pre-recorded edited videos for your courses been so easy!

What's the difference between using ScreenPal and ZOOM for your class? ZOOM was made for synchronous or asynchronous non-editable content; ScreenPal was made for the perfectionist in you that wants a quality, edited video with bells and whistles!


Getting Started with ScreenPal (Downloading the Software)

NOTE: Do not use ScreenPal through the ScreenPal company's website or you will only have access to the free version without editing capabilities. Cal Poly owns a Team Premier License which includes all Deluxe features referenced in this video. (You can see a full feature list here.)

  1. Open your browser (Safari, Chrome, or Firefox) and go to:
  2. The Cal Poly portal page will appear. Log in with your Cal Poly username and password as you normally would.

    Cal Poly Portal Log in
  3. The first time you log in through the Cal Poly portal to ScreenPal, 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.

    Screencast-O-Matic dialog box for first, last name and agree to terms of service

  4. ScreenPal will return you to the ScreenPal web page. Click on Start Recorder. (The first time you do this, ScreenPal will guide you through installing the Screen Recorder Launcher.)

    Start Recorder button for SOM

  5. When you click Start Recorder for this first time, ScreenPal will ask to allow it to download the Screen Recorder Launcher. Click the Allow button. (ScreenPal 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).

    Dialog box saying Do you want to allow downloads on Screencast-O-Matic.com?

  6. After you allow downloads, your browser will begin downloading the ScreenPal 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.)

    Downloads box in Safari browser

  7. Depending on the type of security you have set on your computer, you might also encounter this warning. Click on the Open button.

    Screen Recorder Launcher Setup.app is an app downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it. Open button appear.

  8. Your computer will tell you that it is opening the Screen Recorder Launcher.

    Opening Install Screen Recorder Launcher.dmg

  9. Your installation is done. ScreenPal will tell you that the Screen Recorder is ready and tell you to return to the ScreenPal web page to start a recording. Click the OK button.

    Dialog box saying that the Screen recorder is ready. Click OK.

  10. Back on the ScreenPal web page where you originally entered, click on the Start Recorder button again.

    SOM Start Recorder button

  11. Another dialog box will appear asking if you will allow the launching of the Screen Recorder Launcher.app. Click Allow.

     Do you want to allow this page to open Screen Recorder Launcher.app?

  12. ScreenPal 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.

    Screen Recorder Launcher launched with Record box and settings


ScreenPal: Connect

Starting July 22, 2021, Connect has been enabled to allow faculty to download Zoom recordings into SOM to edit, caption, upload and share in the ScreenPal cloud.

Connect is used within the ScreenPal application - https://screenpal.com/calpoly

To learn more about Connect:


ScreenPal "How To" Videos: 

This first video will show you how to get started. Additionally, the redesigned tutorial site is well organized (by major category and feature type) and features videos on recording, editing, and video hosting on SOM. (Note: Cal Poly owns a Team Premier license, which includes all Deluxe features referenced in this video.)

Welcome to ScreenPal (3 Videos)

Features of the ScreenPal Deluxe Video Editor (1 Video)

Draw & ZOOM While Recording (4 Videos)

How to Cut Your Video in ScreenPal (1 Video)

Global Editing Tools in ScreenPal (14 Videos)

Timeline Editing Tools in ScreenPal (17 Videos)

Adding Captions to Your Video in ScreenPal (2 Videos)

More Editing Tools in ScreenPal (10 Videos)

Upload Your Video to the ScreenPal Server (1 Video)

Other Options for Saving/Uploading Your Video (6 Videos)

Using the ScreenPal App for the Canvas LMS (1 Video)

Creating ScreenPal Videos on Chromebook (8 Videos)

ScreenPal Tips & Tricks (20 Videos)

Save the ScreenPal Caption File to Your Computer for Safekeeping (1 Video)


External Microphone Suggestions for ScreenPal

Although you can use your computer's microphone for ScreenPal, 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:

  1. Apple Earpods for iPhone with Lightning Connector (approx. $20)
  2. Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Sport IPX7 (approx. $25)
  3. CMTECK USB Computer Microphone for Mac or Windows (approx. $25)
  4. Sennheiser PC8 USB Stereo Headset for PC and Mac with In-Line Volume and Mute Control (approx. $30)
  5. Koss Headphones (CS100-USB) - Small Earpieces (approx. $25)
  6. Koss Headphones (SB45 USB) - Large Cushioned Earpieces (approx. $30)
  7. Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone (approx. $30)
  8. Blue Yeti USB Mic for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac (approx. $125)
  9. Samson G-Track Pro Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Audio Interface (approx. $150) - my current personal favorite! Cheaper at Sweetwater
  10. Rode MT-USB Versatile Studio-Quality USB Cardioid Condenser Microphone (approx. $170) 
  11. 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 ScreenPal

ScreenPal 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 ScreenPal c 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 ScreenPal server and edit it on your computer with the ScreenPal editor. Make your edits, add automatic captions (and correct them) on the computer version of ScreenPal before the final upload to the ScreenPal 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 ScreenPal. It works great!

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