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Best Tools for Creating Educational Videos

As an Instructional Technology Specialist, faculty come to me for advice on using technology to increase student success in their classrooms. This is humbling, exhilarating, and incredibly rewarding. One of the most exciting areas of technology currently is the creation of engaging educational video content but unfortunately I do not have much experience in this field. I have used TechSmith | Camtasia, Screen Recorder and Video Editor to create basic screen recordings, videos, and voice annotated presentations and other basic tools like YouTube, Jing, Vimeo. I have heard of some other interesting products to create interactive video and animated video. My question to all of you is what new and/or exciting tools (preferably low-cost or free) have you used to create great educational video and how did you use them (examples and tutorials would be much appreciated).

7 Replies
Community Member

Hi Adam,

Here is an Interactive Video Tips, Tools & Examples ThingLink I made that includes lots of examples.

Community Member

I know I am a bit behind in responding to this post, but if I had seen it earlier, I would not have had anything to add because I have the same issue! I have been looking around myself for ideas, technologies, etc. to help instructors with video lectures and such. I have played around with some you have mentioned, but my favorite at the moment is Office PowerPoint Mix because I already have PPTs and it takes just some tweaking to make them into videos. Mix is just a free add in for PPT and you can add audio, screen share and lots more and not complicated to use. Here is an example that I made in about 15 minutes one day. Please excuse the quality, not that great because I was sick, but wanted to get some info. out to faculty.

OfficeMix : Canvas New Releases

I am working on more now for fall semester and the good thing about PPT Mix, you can actually see how many views each has and even add a survey for gathering info. As  @clong ​ showed, ThingLink is another fun tool. Not video, but I have pushed it out to faculty to use for review, interactive maps, and much more.

Hi Melinda,

Thank you for mentioning Office PowerPoint Mix. I was not aware of this feature. We have limited licenses of Camtasia, which can also be used to add audio to PPTs. This will be a great feature to share with other faculty that do not have Camtasia.

Hey, all! It is also worth noting that Office Mix is a free PowerPoint add on.  In addition to making videos and Screencasts, it can be used for building interactive lessons with basic quizzing. Better, Mix can be packaged as a SCORM module or LTI for an external tool assignment in Canvas: Setting up Office Mix with Instructure Canvas.


Thanks for all the great responses so far!

New Member

Best tool I've found so far was compliments of a co-worker who told me about Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). It's a free, open-source video screen capture.

It's a great alternative to Camtasia. OBS takes a little figuring out at the first, but then it's easy to use. I love how unlike Jing, it creates training videos that are easy to drop into Adobe Premiere Pro or a similar editor. Alternatively, I can upload OBS videos directly to Vimeo or YouTube. It's hard to convey how much easier it has been. It does window capture, video capture, and screen capture.

Did I mention it's free? With an HDMI card that compresses live video, you can also stream video on the Internet.

The link is here.


New Member

If you use the paid versions of either Snagit or Screencast-O-Matic, you will be able to record audio, both from a microphone and the System Audio.  Any sounds being played from your PC, such as the audio from a YouTube video or Prezi presentation, will be captured into your Snagit/SOM videos.  You could create a Prezi presentation, with embedded video, and then play and record the Prezi via SOM/Snagit, while adding audio narration from your headset.

Prezi doesn't work with your Chromebook, but both Stupeflix and Vizia work really well, both for creating & viewing.  Stupeflix makes it easy to import still images (from Bing, exported PowerPoint slides, etc.), and videos, and then add audio narration, or type your dialogue via "text to speech" (they provide several good computer generated voices).

Once you have your video, you can add it to YouTube and then use Vizia to add interactive elements to it such as polling, simple quizzes and redirects to other web content via URLs.  Want to make sure your students are viewing your presentation "actively"?  Ask them questions periodically, regarding the video, via Vizia.  At the end of your video provide a link to additional materials via Vizia.  *Vizia worked well on my Chromebook & PC, but seemed to bawk on my Samsung Tab 4 device.  On the Tab 4, the Vizia event points were ignored and it just played through the video.

The mp4 videos embed well into a Canvas page, or WordPress site, if allowed, and play well on mobile devices.

You can use the free, online image editor via Pixlr Editor to resize, crop, modify, add text to, enhance, re-format, etc. any images you want to include and get a bunch of quality images via Bing to illustrate your topics.  Maybe you would like to spiff up your text with some catchy, free TrueType fonts​​.  With Windows 10 it is even easier to add these fonts to your system (right-click on the font file & click Install).  Then use these fonts to set the mood in your PowerPoint slides.  Put your webcam above your monitor and open EasyPrompter, paste in your dialogue text and start recording your video.  You are reading from the screen, but depending upon how well you can place your camera, it looks like you are talking impromptu.  I found that Video Teleprompter Lite by Joe Allen worked well on my iPad.  The text you  are reading is placed near the camera lens so it looks even more like you are looking at the camera and not reading text.

Finally, the two best ways to improve your home made videos (besides a good camera, and I do not know one from the other) is to make sure you have a good microphone, and good lighting.  Poor audio or lighting is a distraction and makes even an interesting topic boring.  Maybe check out some of the new LED lights.  Swivl had a nice audio/remote tracking device that recorded your audio via a good distance, and the automated tracking makes you mesmerizing;-)