Creating A Screencast: Setting Preferences for Students with Disabilities

The description that I included on YouTube is not visible when the videos are embedded into WordPress (click here for the page with another embedded videos). I have included that information here and added more information about the video’s content.

The screencast portion of this video was recorded in Camtasia’s trial version, and I edited the entire video in the trial version of Camtasia, so the watermark is highly visible. I am evaluating this software to determine if it is something that I would like to purchase. So far, I’ve found the zooms easier to manage than in iMovie, but iMovie fully integrates the videos and photographs in my MAC’s Photos application. I may decide to purchase Camtasia for projects that require many post production zooms, although up until now all of my zooms have been done with my camera’s optical zoom.

These directions are for Apple’s Macintosh computers running MAC OS 10.11.6 (El Capitan). Other Apple operating systems have these functions, but they may look a little different. Below are the basic steps that I demonstrated in the video.

Screencast Introduction Transcript:

Hello! I’m Jeanne Stork. I teach in a computer lab for students with significant developmental delays due to severe autism or intellectual disabilities. My students use Macintosh computers, either iMac desktops or MacBook Air laptops. This is how I make some adjustments to make the computers easier for them to use.

            System Preferences: The system preferences are located under the apple in the upper left corner of the screen.

            Accessibility Preference:

Display: Shake Mouse (Some students play with shaking the mouse, but it helps students with attention and visual perception difficulties who often lose track of where the cursor is located on the screen.)

Audio: Play Stereo As Mono (for students who hear better with one ear than the other and would miss a stereo channel)

Increase Double Click speed (to reduce accidental double-clicking from my repetitive clickers)


I do not use wireless mice because many if my students pound the mouse. Wireless mice break easily.

I increase tracking speed to reduce the need to pick up and reposition the mouse.

I make the two major buttons the primary click (left-click) and turn off all other buttons because the vast majority of my students do not know how to click one button at a time or how to differentiate when to only left-click.

I turn off scrolling to further simplify the mouse for my students. The scroll function can also interfere with the educational software that I use.

My students enjoy playing with the mouse, so the more options that I can turn off the easier it is for them to complete their work.

Trackpad Preference:

Point and Click:

Turn off all options

Increase tracking speed

Scroll and Zoom:

Turn off all options

More Gestures:

Turn off all options

Screencast Conclusion Transcript:

As you saw, I spec up the mouse and trackpad so that the cursor moves fairly quickly and the mouse and trackpad don’t have to move all that much. This prevents students from hitting each other with the mouse as they are moving too far to the side, moving the mouse off the table as they are dragging the mouse toward them, or even dislocating the mouse from the wire if they get frustrated because they need that extra inch and the mouse just won’t move. With the trackpad, sometimes my students will actually move their finger off the pad onto the frame of the computer itself and wonder why nothing’s working. Well, of course nothing’s working, they’re not on the trackpad, but the students don’t understand that, especially in the beginning. As students progress, I can give them fewer adjustments, but I tend to keep the adjustments on just because it makes my life easier. I don’t have time between classes to readjust computers. But if necessary, I can always make individual adjustments. Feel free to explore and see what works best for you. Thank you.

Video Editing: Creating the Flying Fish Video

The description that I included with the video on YouTube is not visible when the video is embedded into my Web site, at…deo-in-education/, but you can read it at Some of that information is below, with additional information about the video’s content and how I made the video that would not fit in the YouTube description field.

I used the Flying Fish Market video as part of a series of videos during a mini-unit on fact versus fantasy. The volume had to be turned way down because of inappropriate lyrics. We discussed what is real and what is fake or pretend using a variety of vocabulary words. Some students needed more concrete questions (“Do fish fly or swim?”). The difficulty level and wording of the questions varied with the students’ abilities to answer them. Whenever possible, I included the whole range of Norman L. Webb’s (et al) “Depth of Knowledge Levels,” as used by my school district. Most of the students in three of my classes were even able to ask each other questions with prompting. A few of my classes have some students who neither talk nor have effective use of picture symbol communication boards or devices; those students work on attending/focusing skills and using non-verbal communication skills such as eyegaze, pointing, and gesturing as they learn to use picture symbols. One of my verbal students declared my videos “boring.” Another student screamed that the movie was broken every time I stopped it to ask the class questions; he had to be repeatedly calmed down to prevent him from hitting his head. If I had waited until the end of this video, the students would not have remembered the sections about which I was asking. The rest of my students enjoyed the videos and the way I presented them. Having only two upset students during a week of class lessons is excellent progress in my school. The other videos may make it to YouTube someday, when and if I find the time.

I could have used my camera’s backlighting setting when recording the centered shots. I did not realize how much the white clouds in the background were affecting the video. This was very noticeable when I showed the video to one of my classes as part of a fiction versus non-fiction lesson, so I made some corrections in iMovie.

I wanted to highlight as much of the action as possible, so my cuts often do not make sense if you are following the music. I used transitions (spin in, spin out) between some camera takes, but the music is still rough. I found that if I included too many transitions it created a visually choppy video, so I used my judgment for which transitions to retain and where I can eliminate excessive transitions.

I use a Panasonic HC-X920 camcorder for my introduction and conclusion. I like this camera because its three MOS sensors seem to pick up great detail. Unfortunately, I might need a replacement. As of this recording, I have not decided whether to get another X920 or to go for a more modern one that adjusts better when light and dark are in the same shot but has only one sensor. I want it all for as little money as possible!

I did not use an external microphone when I recorded the Universal Orlando show, but I think that the loud music would have still made the some of the performers’ words difficult to hear even with an external microphone. I do not have a license for professional taping and felt that it would be a waste of my money to purchase a microphone that Universal might not even let me use.

The background noises during my introduction and conclusion could not be avoided. I live in a large busy city; noises, as I discovered when I moved here, are a fact of life. I tried taping in my apartment and at work, in the evening and in the morning, and quiet never happened. I’m not sure how much you will hear on your end, but I had forgotten just how much of a luxury silence really is. I also tried to get rid of the reverberation in my comments by using an external microphone, but it was not compatible with my camera so the audio and video did not quite line up and could not be fixed by separating and adjusting the tracks in post-production. I am not real happy with the way I sound, but after over two hours of trying, I gave up and just chose the best clip.

If you want to get the full experience of the show, you will have to visit Universal Orlando yourself. It is a trip that I highly recommend. I am not an employee, nor do I have any personal or business connection to the park, but I can say that shows, such as the one you just watched, are best seen live. Besides, you can’t ride the rides from your computer.

Video Introduction Transcript:

            Hi! My name is Jeanne Stork. I teach in an adapted computer lab for students with significant disabilities.

This video demonstrates how angles and zoom can be used to avoid obstacles and to highlight action. I recorded the show at Universal Orlando from the center, left, and right, and I zoomed in on the action to highlight particular performances. I’ll be back after the show to discuss more of my process.

            Video Conclusion Transcript.

            Hi! Jeanne Stork, here again. I had to remain stationary, so I panned a bit horizontally and vertically, being careful not to disturb any other audience members. The shot taken from the audience’s right side is at a closer angle to the stage than from the left side, so I played with shooting angles that way. I selected the angles for this video that worked around obstacles, mmm such as performers standing in front of the camera waiting for their turns, and that highlighted action that I found to be particularly entertaining. The camera’s optical zoom let me capture a few of the stunts up close then return to a wider shot to record more of the action. I also added a post-production digital zoom to close the video. I wanted to focus in on the upper left corner of the screen and avoid the audience crowding the rest of the shot as people got up to leave. I used the camera’s optical zoom many times while taping, but it is nice that iMovie has this cool zooming function. Please, read my notes if you want some additional information. Thank you.