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Screencasting on Chromebooks

Update 7/2/2015 – An older update (this news came out a few months back) but it’s worth noting that some Wacom tablets are now supported on Chromebooks. Take a look here for more info.

Update 3/17/2014 – It was brought to my attention that this post is out of date now that Snagit for Chrome and Screencastify allow you to record screencasts in a Chrome extension. You can still use the Hangout method I’ve outlined, but a Chrome extension gives a much better result much faster in the long run. Both extensions are linked above.</b>

UPDATE 12:24 PM 4/16/2013: After searching and experimenting, we found that a Wacom tablet is not currently supported by the Chromebook. The only piece really affected by this is the whiteboard app. If we find a workaround, I’ll add it to the post.


Chromebooks in education spaces are exploding (see here, here, and here for starters). The management, cost, and ease of use for schools are attractive as they look to deploy hundreds, or even thousands, of these machines to students.

While Chromebooks are attractive for many pragmatic reasons as far as management is concerned, some of the limitations of the machines are keeping many people wary. For starters, the machines cannot run Java-based programs. Because of that, you can’t use many popular web-based screen recording programs like Screencast-o-matic or Screenr.com. You also can’t install any outside programs on the machine. As Flipped Learning pushes for more and more student-created content, Chromebooks won’t work because of the software limitations.

Well, they won’t work, unless you have time to find a workaround.

I’ve spent some time researching and watching for new releases from Google as the Chrome browser is updated and released. Here’s what you can now do to screencast on a Chromebook:

  1. Sign up for a Google+ account if you don’t have one yet. – Admittedly, this has been around for a while, but you can now have a Hangout On Air, which does two things: First, Your hangout is broadcast via your account’s linked YouTube channel. Just share out the link you’re given when the Hangout starts. Second, that Hangout is recorded and archived on your YouTube account. You can add these videos to a playlist of specific content.
Screencapture with Hangout On Air

You can select “Enable Hangouts On Air” to broadcast and record

  1. Create presentations in Google Drive. – One of the easiest ways to begin screencasting is to talk over a PowerPoint presentation. If you create a slideshow in Google Drive, you can share your screen during a Google Hangout On Air so your viewers can see talking points, images, or other notes you would give them.

  2. Install a Chrome-based whiteboard app. – There are some whiteboard apps for Chrome that are popping up in the Chrome store. It’s up to you which one you use, but after trying them all out, I prefer “A Web Whiteboard (AWW),” which you can download from the Chrome store. You do not need an account to use it, and you get plenty of space and tools for drawing. You would use this to work out problems, draw pictures, or do whatever else you can do on a white board.

  3. Choose your tools and prep your session, then share your screen. – The crux of this goes back to the Hangout. During your presentation, you can share your screen with viewers. Rather than seeing you, they’ll see your screen with a PIP view of you as you speak. Again, this is then archived on your YouTube channel for later viewing if they’re not there live.

Take a look at the video embedded below to see a demo.

Can’t see the video? Watch it on YouTube

Now, if your students don’t have access to YouTube, obviously, this won’t work. But for schools using Google Apps for Education (GAfE), this is a great way to get kids creating on Chromebooks. They can even have threaded discussions on their Google+ pages after the videos are made for more exploration or debate.

Are you screencasting on Chromebooks? Do you have other apps to share? Leave your thoughts and resources in the comments.

Categorized in: Flipclass   How To   Technology

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