Screenshots, Screencasts, and Animated GIFs

This week,  Maureen Tumenas wrote to the Techy Coach asking what I use to make GIFs and Videos for my Tiny Tutorials.  Over the years, I have found that teachers attending PD training want two things:

  • Step by Step Instructions
  • Visuals in the form of Screenshots or Animations
Being a visual person myself, I work best when I can see a process, better than if I were just to follow a set of instructions.  With that, I have worked to incorporate both video tutorials and Animated GIFs into my articles and posts.  There are some great tools out there.  In this article, I’ll highlight the tools I use most, as well as a few others that are available to get the job done.

SnagIt by TechSmith

  • This Chrome Extension from TechSmith is a great tool for grabbing Screenshots or recordings in the Chrome Browser.  You can also create Animated GIF Files from your Video recordings.  While this tool has been handy, it is soon being retired from TechSmith.  While they are retiring it, you can purchase the full version of SnagIt from their website and get more information about the retiring of this extension here.  Personally, I’ll be sad to see this one go, as it is a great tool!  But the full version has more bells and whistles and is worth the purchase.

Camtasia by TechSmith

  • Camtasia is a full featured tool that allows you to import audio, video, and images into a multi-track editing tool for the creation of studio-quality videos.  I use this for my Tiny Tutorials on YouTube and on the Techy Coach Blog.  This tool costs around $179.00 at the Education Price.  $299.00 for non-Education consumers.  I highly recommend this tool if you can afford it.


  • If you have access to Photoshop, you can create Animated GIF files without having to find an alternate program or software. Just open PhotoShop, and follow the instructions in the video below.  This will only work with static images, but if you have screenshots or pics for each step of the process you are trying to provide instructions for, Animated GIFs can be just as handy as a video.  

Screencast – o – Matic

  • If you’re looking for a FREE tool to create screencasts, this is the one for you.  It works in browser, or you can download a launcher that allows you to record a screencast from your browser with audio.  

More Links for Animation and Video Tools

  • – Free online service from TechSmith
  • Jing – From TechSmith – captures short recordings or images or video. 

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