Russell StannardIn this blog post Russell Stannard looks at the uses of screen capture technology. Russell is the founder of He was awarded the British Council ELTons award for technology and the Times Higher Outstanding Initiative award.

Russell lectures part-time at the University of Warwick and is also a NILE associate trainer. He trains teachers in using technology, working all over the world. He also writes regular columns for English Teaching professional and The Teacher Trainer.

My favourite tool

I often get asked what my favourite technology is and it is probably one of the few questions about technology that I find easy to answer. For me, there is nothing like screen capture technology. It is so versatile, easy to use and can be used in so many different ways that I really don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have access to it.

What is screen capture technology?

Screen capture technology is a very simple tool that records the screen of your computer as if you had a video camera pointing at it. Whatever you do on the screen, whatever you write will come out in a video.

It also records your voice too. It is ideal in education. For example, if you wanted to show your students how to use a certain website, you could simply record yourself and comment on what you did. You could then save the video with students and share it with them.

10 ways you could use it.

So here are ten great ways you could use screen technology and I have used all of these and many more.

1. Lecture

You can easily record a lecture and then put it on-line. Simply open up the PowerPoint slides onto your screen, turn on the screen capture software and start to record. Remember it will also record your voice too and you can flick from slide to slide.

You could then share the recording with the students or even put the recording onto YouTube and share the link with the students. Remember if your students have screen capture technology, then could also record themselves giving a PowerPoint presentation.

2. Diagram

As teachers we often need to talk over diagrams or graphs. We might want to explain some information that is presented in them, or we might even want to get the students to describe what information the diagram conveys. Either way, you can easily open the diagram onto the screen, turn on the screen capture technology and record yourself as you talk about the diagram.

3. Marking scheme

Sometimes it is not sufficient to simply present a marking scheme to a student. It may be useful to make a quick video where you go through the marking scheme and highlight important points in it. This can save you going through it in class. You could put the video onto the school’s website or virtual learning environment and the students can play the video when they are working through the course work and thinking about how it is going to be marked.

4. Mini grammar

Imagine you have marked your students’ work and noticed that they are having problems with a certain grammar rule, prefix or perhaps vocabulary item. You can make a mini lesson but writing out the rule and then recording yourself going through the rule. You can then share it with all the students.

5. Website

There are some great websites for learning English and often the students are not aware of them or what content is available on them. You can make a mini video that takes them through the site, perhaps showing them the activities they can do on the site and where the most interesting content is.

6. Pronunciation

You might have noticed that in the lesson, some of the students were having problems with the pronunciation of certain words. You could simply write out the words you need to focus on, mark the stress on them and then create a mini video where you go through the words. You can then share the video with the students

7. General feedback

I mentioned at the start that we can use screen capture for feedback. It doesn’t always have to be feedback directed at individual teachers. For example you might have read a batch of essays and noticed a few general points that you wanted to bring up. You could easily list the key points in Microsoft Word and then record yourself going over them. This might mean you don’t have to take up valuable class time going over the problems.

8. Technology instruction

Students often have to access the school’s Moodle site or perhaps learn to use a technology like Google Docs or Quizlet. You can record yourself using the technology and explaining how it works and then make it accessible to the students and hopefully make their life a lot easier as well as yours.

9. Assessment

Finally, when I used to teach Multimedia in Education, the assessments I used to set were quite long (often several pages) so I used to record myself going through the assessment and highlighting important points. I would then make the video available to the students.

10. Feedback

Students can send you their work. You open it up onto the screen, turn on the screen capture software and begin to correct their work. Everything you say and do will come out in the video and you can then send it to the students. They can hear and watch as you correct their work. An example of the idea in action can be seen here.

These are just 10 of the ways I have used screen capture technology but there are many more. It really is one of the most useful technologies a teacher can learn to use. Here is a video that goes through all ten examples and shows you exactly what to do.

If you want to learn to more about two types of screen capture tools, then watch these videos: