Creating Screencasts as question prompts

As you know, in Extempore, you can use multiple types of prompts for your student's speaking activities. Whether you use the app for oral assessments, or as replacement to a language lab, having a variety of prompts enriches your students' experience, and allows you to assess different aspects of their oral production. One of the most popular types of prompts to use with Extempore is to upload a video where the instructor demonstrates the correct pronunciation of a word or group of words. In this post we are going to show two methods to do this.

Method 1 - Record a video of yourself

For instructors who teach younger students, the more visual an interpersonal the prompt, the better. If you want to show your students the correct pronunciation of certain items, the easiest way to do this is to literally show them the object, or a photo of the object as you pronounce it. You do this by using the "Video" option on the question screen, and recording yourself. [caption id="attachment_2404" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Demonstrating the pronunciation of "car" for younger students.[/caption]

Method 2 - Make a screencast

For older or more advanced students, making a screencast might be more appropriate. A screencast is a recording of your screen with your voiceover. This way you can show a photo on your screen, or an image, or even a video, as you record your voice. The screencast is saved as a simple video file that you can then upload to Extempore as a question prompt. There are many ways to make a screen case, both paid and free. Please see below the most common ones for PC and Mac.


QuickTime is free and comes pre-installed with OS X (10.6 or above). All you have to do is fire it up, go to File > New Screen Recording in the QuickTime menu, select your options and begin recording. To record all or part of your screen, just click and drag the area you wish to capture. You can even set it to record “blips” (or visual cues) for every mouse click. Apple’s software is simple and easy to use. Budget users might be tempted to check out other free offerings, such as Screencast-o-matic. But they usually come with compromises in quality or other limitations that may or may not work, depending on your project. More detail at


While there is no built-in screen cast for PCs, there are many free and paid options you can use. First is Camtasia, which is an excellent, professional-quality screen capturing suite that carries a price tag to match. If you need to create video tutorials for your job, or you plan to make this a major hobby, then give the free Camtasia trial a shot. It’s great at what it does, but unless your school has an enterprise license, you’ll have to cough up $300 to keep using it after the first month. Another great option is OBS, the Open Broadcaster Software, which is free and very powerful. PcWorld magazine has an excellent article on different options with step-by-step guides. You can read if for free here. If you are interested in more screen recording options and want to see their capabilities outlined all in one place then check out this article by Cloudwards.