Software Tools I like for Multimedia Productions

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I’m currently working on building an online course to teach instructors how to create effective multimedia to improve learning. One of the resources I created was a list of software tools that they might like using. I thought I’d share this with my readers as well. Let me know if you have any favorites that should be added to the list!

Tools are constantly changing. But one thing is almost for certain–they keep getting easier to use!

Just about all tools have a free trial download. Test out tools you think you might like to use. Post questions or comments about a particular tool to our Production Tools Discussion Forum.

Following is a list of tools that I have found to be very helpful to create effective and doable multimedia productions:

Image Editing Tools

You will most likely need to edit some images, especially ones you find online. Remember to search for re-usable images using Google Image Search or other search engines/tools.

IMPORTANT: You should know how to determine the image file size. On an Apple, simply click the image file and select Apple Control + I. Right click on Windows and select Properties. For most web uses, jpg and gif images work best. File size should be no more than 200 KB per image. Try to get the size as small as possible without quality loss.

Preview (Included in Mac operating system) This is by far the easiest tool to resize images, if that is all you need to do. I use it constantly.

iPhoto (Included in Mac operating system) Excellent tool to edit and manipulate photos.

Microsoft Paint: I’m not sure if this program is still available in the new version of Windows, so if anyone can let me know–thanks! However, I know in the past it was a decent photo/image editor.

GimpShop: Free, multi-platform, open-source image editing program. I have not used this version, but it is supposed to be very similar to PhotoShop, if you are accustomed to that interfact.

Adobe Fireworks This is a better image editor for web design than PhotoShop.

PowerPoint (available for Windows & Mac): Yes, Microsoft PowerPoint can be used as a very simple image creator. Slides can be saved as images, so don’t forget about using this for screencast entry screens or other applications.

Screencasting Tools

Camtasia (Windows & Mac)

JingProject (Windows & Mac) Limited to 5 minutes.

Snag-It (Windows & Mac)

Captivate (Windows) (Also includes simulation options and embedded quizzes)

Screencast-o-matic: (Windows & Mac)

Screenr (browser-based)

QuickTime (included in Mac operating system/available for purchase for Windows)

Google Hangouts (Browser-based) Yes, you can actually use Google Hangouts (make sure you do a Hangout on Air) and then share your screen. Just hangout by yourself, share your screen and talk and then your video will be published to your YouTube account. From there, you can edit the video in the YouTube editor.

Video Recording/Editing Tools

Mobile Devices: iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android mobile OS: Mobile devices include recording apps to create, record, and publish multimedia. Get to know your mobile device and try out the various ways you can produce multimedia. I suggest getting a tripod and tripod adaptor to keep your device steady while recording.

YouTube: Yes, you can record a video from your webcam directly in YouTube and even edit it. So, this provides a super-quick and easy way to get videos recorded and online. How to do this:

Windows Movie Maker (included in Windows operating system). You can upload a WMV file to YouTube, but please do not upload a WMV file to Moodle for viewing, as these files are only viewable (without additional software) on Windows operating systems. Try to only offer formats that are viewable on multiple platforms, such as mp4.

iMovie (included in Mac operating system) (Also available as an app for iOS, with great editing tools/features)

Photo Booth (included in Mac operating system)

QuickTime (included in Mac operating system/available for purchase for Windows)

>>Prompting Software

This enables you to more seamlessly follow a script. My colleague has used Promptster, recording on his iPad with incredible results.

Prompster Pro App

Presentation Tools

Authorstream (web-based) I really like this tool because you can upload a narrated PowerPoint, and the tool includes the audio without doing any extra work. You sometimes have issues with PowerPoint for Mac, but I have had very good luck with this tool. It is free and allows anyone to view a narrated PowerPoint through a web browser. Again, you should almost NEVER upload a PowerPoint for viewing online. The files are too large and it requires the user to have this software on his/her computer in order to view it. Remember to always strive to create multimedia that can be viewed on ANY operating system. That means do not upload Windows-only media files!

Prezi A different type of presentation tool that uses a zooming canvas format. You can now record narration in Prezi (you will need to create separate files and upload to each slide/path). Free tool that takes some time to learn.

VoiceThread VoiceThread is great, but the free accounts only allow you to create up to five VoiceThreads–not very convenient. They offer licenses and also LTI integration with Moodle, so it’s a tool that maybe should be considered for CCIM courses.

Animoto: This tool creates quick and professional-looking presentations from images. You can add music or narration. To produce longer videos, you need to purchase a license.

Adobe Presenter (Windows) As with most Adobe products, the price is steep, but the quality is excellent. This tool allows you to create online presentations with many additional features, such as attaching files and embedding quizzes. If you also have an Adobe Connect account, then you can track the statistics on your presentations and quiz feedback.

SlideShare (web-based) This is another excellent browser-based slideshow tool that is free and visible on any computer. However, if you have audio narration (which I highly recommend for almost ANY type of slideshow presentation) you need to upload the audio files separately and then sync them manually.

authorPOINT (Windows only) It’s been a while since I’ve visited this site, but it appears they still offer a decent PowerPoint to flash converter. However, this is not a free tool.

iSpring PowerPoint to HTML5 converter (Windows only) This looks like an excellent tool, but is a bit pricey.


Timeline JS This is a timeline tool that works with Google Sheets and looks very promising. I have not used it, but timelines can be very useful, especially for the creator. Although you may not think a timeline would be useful, you might think of something, such as real estate trends, for instance.


Concept Maps Collaborative online concept mapping tool. Perhaps students could collaborate in creating concept map for an assignment.

CMAP Tools Downloadable concept mapping tool. Can export as PDF or image and insert on course site to explain concepts or connections.

Comic/Animation Tools




Collage Tools




Curation Tools






Audio Recording/Editing Tools

Voice Memo (iPhone/iPod) Excellent quality audio recorder (can also trim recordings) that can be shared via messaging or email. File format is m4a.

Voice Recorders on Android devices: Again, excellent quality recordings which offer more options for uploading to cloud storage, such as Dropbox.

Audacity Free, multiplatform, open-source audio recording/editing program. Excellent and easy to use. Make sure you also install the LAME encoder to encode audio files to mp3.

GarageBand (Included in Mac operating system) Chris and I have used this tool for years in our Cool Teacher Podcast.

QuickTime (included in Mac operating system/available for purchase for Windows)

Static Tutorial Creation Tools

Remember, not all tutorials need to be narrated videos. You might want to create a very quick static tutorial with text and images. The one program I really love is Clarify-It, as it enables quick creation of tutorials, publishing them online and also offering HTML code and PDF creation.


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