iPad Screen Recording Tips for Educators

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The addition of screen recording in iOS 11 was a great feature for teachers and tech enthusiasts who wanted to show people how you can master the power of the iPad. However, it’s also a great way for students to show what they know. If your iPad is up to date, it doesn’t need any additional software, or devices, because this new recording ability is built-in to iOS 11. Screen recording on the iPad is a little different from screencasting on other devices, so in this post I am going to run through a few of my top tips for success when recording your iPad. Are you ready?

I have split this post into three parts. Things you should do before you record, things to remember while you are actually recording, and some suggestions on what to do after you have finished recording. If you have more ideas of your own, please feel free to leave a comment at the end. (Note: affiliate links are included in this post).

Before Recording Your iPad Screen

  1. Enable Screen Recording: To do screen recording on your iPad, you need iOS 11, which means you need to be using a 4th generation iPad or later. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green plus button next to Screen Recording in order to add it to Control Center. Once you have that taken care of, you are good to go, but there is  more information here if you need it.
  2. Choose your recording method: You would be forgiven for thinking that you just did this in step one. Well, you did. Kind of. You see, there is currently a weird bug in iOS 11 that means your iPad screen recordings will work just fine until you try to edit it in iMovie or another video editor. When you do this, you may lose audio, or video, or both. So, if you just want to record your screen and share it with others, you are good to go. If you think you might want to edit your recording so you can add music, titles, or transitions, then you will probably want to use TechSmith’s Capture app instead because it is much more reliable when you import your recorded video into a video editor like iMovie or Splice.
  3. Clean Up Your Home Screen: Although people will likely be hanging on your every word, it’s natural that peoples’ eyes will start to wander if you linger on your home screen for too long. So, minimize distractions by hiding apps you don’t want people to see, or create a new home screen that only has the apps you need. The same goes for your dock.
  4. Choose a quiet location: This one is just common sense. Quiet recording locations will give clearer audio that is less distracting to listen to. Make it happen.
  5. Silence notifications: A quick way to ruin a perfectly good screencast is an errant notification that pops up at the least opportune moment. A quick way to prevent that from happening is to enable do not disturb. However, for one reason or another, I have still had notifications appear when Do Not Disturb was turned on, so if you don’t need a network connection to show what you need to show in your screen recording, use Airplane mode for some additional peace of mind.
  6. Have a plan: Some people like a word for word script, others are happy with just some bullet points, but if you don’t have a plan for what you are going to show in your video, then it will probably be longer than it needs to be and you may well struggle to meet your instructional goals. So, plan it out ahead of time.

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While Recording Your iPad Screen

  1. Consider a USB mic: Depending on your iPad, the built-in mic might be just fine, but some people like to use a USB mic instead. This will usually give you better quality audio and should minimize some of the background hiss. To connect a USB mic, you will need the Lightning to USB Camera Adapter and a compatible microphone like the Blue Snowball or Yeti microphone.
  2. Don’t hold the iPad: If you can, don’t hold the iPad while recording. Hands that move or shuffle around the outside of the iPad will cause additional audio distractions. So, put your iPad on a table or use an iPad tablet stand to prop the screen up in front of you.
  3. Keep going if you make mistakes: This is one of my favorite tips. If you are able to edit your screen recording later, then don’t stop the recording every time you make a mistake. Simply say the line again, or repeat the action you wanted to show, and keep going! You can edit out the gaffs later. Trust me. It will save you more time than you know, and will also give you more practice in your favorite video editor! 🙂
  4. Tap lightly: This is especially true if you are using the built-in microphone because it can make your taps more audible than you may want. Avoid loud taps by touching the screen lightly, or by using a USB microphone, (see above).
  5. Be concise: You can trim out content later if you need to, but try not to make your video any longer than it needs to be. For teachers, I like the 1-minute per grade level rule that you will often hear in connection with flipped classroom lessons. Does the world need more 16-minute screencasts? I would venture that it doesn’t.

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After Recording Your iPad Screen

  1. Trim the beginning and end: In the Photos app you can make basic adjustments to trim the beginning and end of your video so that you start and end exactly where you want to, and get rid of things like the “Stop Recording” button that appears at the end of your screen recording.
  2. Use a video editor: For more precise edits, or to cut out all your mistakes, (see above), you will need a more robust video editor like iMovie or Splice. Both are great picks so lobg as you avoid the annoying iOS 11 bug that strips out your audio by using the TechSmith Capture app to record your video, (again, see above).
  3. Cite your sources: Finally, it’s good practice for students, so be sure to practice what you preach. If you use music or graphics in your final video, include a slide at the end that shows where that media came from.

Ideas for iPad Screencasts

  • Narrate over a Google Slides, Keynote, or PowerPoint presentation
  • Demonstrate how to use a new app for other teachers
  • Teach an iPad skill or concept like drag and drop or multitasking
  • Provide video feedback on student assignments by recording your grading
  • Create flipped classroom instructional videos or lesson starters for substitute teachers.

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