6‌ ‌free‌ ‌programs‌ ‌to‌ ‌record‌ ‌PC‌ ‌screen,‌ ‌audio‌ ‌&‌ ‌webcam‌

Many educational centers, universities and academies are doing a combination of the two.

Students watch videos at home, do exercises, and then have a Skype, Zoom, or Hangouts session to answer questions or solve problems live with the teacher. Similarly, creating a video does not require expensive software tools or high production costs.

The aesthetics of the video is much less important in learning than you think. In fact, the most successful educational channels on YouTube have been created using simple technologies and limited financial resources. The best educational videos use only a PowerPoint or similar and the teacher’s image appears through the PC webcam.

Some teachers also make annotations on the screen, either from PowerPoint or with a Wacom tablet, iPad, or Android tablet. But it is not essential either. Before going on to detail of some of the free screen recording programs you can use to record videos, I leave you some brief recommendations.

Bonus tips for recording your screen 

  • The average viewing time of a video in an online course is 4 minutes. Therefore, I do not recommend recording a 45-minute video to reproduce a face-to-face class. The most effective option is to divide the agenda into short videos of an approximate duration of between 4 and 6 minutes.
  • The presence of your image in the video is preferable since it introduces the human element and transmits closeness to the student. But it is better that you make a video without your image, that this paralyzes you and discards this learning methodology.
  • Explain using multimedia elements, be it graphics, video clips, photographs, infographics, text and other visual elements to improve retention and learning of the subject.
  • For Science and Mathematics subjects, writing and drawing on the screen with a digital pen (Khan Academy style) during the explanation is more effective for learning than using PowerPoint slides. If you don’t have a digital pen, you can record yourself physically writing in a notebook.

Free screen recording programs

There are a large number of programs to record the screen of your PC, but I mention those with which I work most frequently and I can guarantee that they work properly:

1. PowerPoint

Since many teachers still use PowerPoint to support their explanations in class, recording the slide show with the teacher’s narration is the easiest way to create a syllabus video. You may not have noticed, but the same PowerPoint in its desktop version (but not in the web version) offers the ability to record a presentation and voice.

If your center also uses Office 365 or you have the latest version of PowerPoint, this includes the additional option of recording your image on the screen through the PC’s webcam during the presentation. The recordings are recorded on each slide and therefore, if you make a mistake, you only have to re-record the narration of the specific slide.

You can also pause the recording between slides to rest during the explanation if it is long. It is also very useful to highlight an element of the slide with the annotation tools already incorporated and direct the student’s attention to a specific point on the screen.

2. Built-in Windows and MAC screen recorder

Both the Windows 10 and MAC operating systems from the OS X Mojave version natively incorporate recording the PC screen and audio, eliminating the need to use an external program. To record the screen of a Windows 10 PC, perform the following steps. 

3. Loom

Loom is another fantastic tool for recording the PC screen. The interface is only available in English. Loom also allows the recording of the audio and your image through the webcam and makes annotations on the screen. 

As an advantage, you can hardly see the room’s background from which you record, eliminating any potential distraction. Its strong point is also the ability to share your video online in a matter of seconds once recorded. It eliminates the need to download the video file to your PC and then upload it to a platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

The videos are limited to 5 minutes in length with the free version. Therefore, you will have to divide the syllabus into short videos, which students generally prefer. Also, with the free account, you are limited to 100 accessible recordings.

Another useful feature is the ability to insert timed comments at a specific minute of the video. In this way, you can introduce web links at a specific point to expand information or the students could also leave you doubts and questions at the exact moment of the video when they did not understand a concept or need more information.

  • FlexClip

FlexClip is an online video editing software that offers a free screen recorder. With the built-in screen recorder, you are able to make a screen capture of the whole screen, application windows, or browser tab as you need. After finishing the recording, you can edit your screenshot in seconds.

You can add animated text, music tricks, and transitions to enhance your recording clips. There are also many tutorial video templates for you to use. Without downloading any software, you can get access to the free screen recorder on your favorite browser. What’s more, it is totally free and open for everyone. Everyone can be a pro with the help of the FlexClip screen recorder.

5. Screencast-o-matic

The Screencast-o-matic application is presented as a good option for recording the PC screen. For your assessment, its free option allows an unlimited number of videos with a limit of 15 minutes each, being more than enough time to create an effective multimedia lesson.

You can also record your image through the PC’s webcam and cut it after recording to eliminate audio or video errors. You can share the video from your account on screencast-o-matic, but it is not as fast as on Loom. It also allows you to download the video on your computer, but then you will find that the video has a discreet watermark.

On the other hand, if you need to add subtitles to your video without transcribing word by word, screencast-o-matic allows you to use voice recognition to insert subtitles automatically and thus only have to make small changes.

The paid version, with special prices for education, additionally offers the ability to edit the video after recording with transitions, annotations, pixelation to cover private information or the face of a minor, acceleration, zoom or remove the background of a recorded video with chroma. To use Screencast-o-matic, you have to download the program on your PC or mobile device, being compatible with Windows, MAC, Android, iOS and Chromebook.

6. Camtasia

In case you want to create educational videos on a regular basis for an online course or a YouTube channel, Camtasia is one of the best-advanced video editors that allows a higher level of customization, elaboration and editing than the previous options and is used by many teachers and professionals in the education sector.

It is available on Windows and MAC. Although its use is not complicated, to take advantage of its educational potential requires some training and thus acquire these advanced digital skills. The application has a free 30-day demo to test it, but it contains a watermark during this period when exporting the video.

To sum up

Creating an educational video is not complicated. It is not about creating a movie with Hollywood-style animations and special effects, but simply recording our explanation so that it can be viewed as many times as necessary.

A practical option is to previously record the PC screen with the presentation and send the video to students. Do you use another free screen recorder or do you have a question? You can leave me a comment below with your experience so that others can benefit from it.

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