Celebrating a Screencasting Pioneer

People have been sharing their computer screen content since the late 1960’s thanks to Doug Engelbart, the first person to ever share a screencast.  If you watch his 1968 demo of what he called “shared-screen collaboration,” which involved two people at different sites communicating over a network with an audio and video interface, it’s not hard to see that we’re spoiled with our modern technology and screencasting software.  While it takes us minutes to record one screencast, Engelbart spent hours on his demonstration and needed the help of 7 people, 3 cameras, 4 TV screens, and one huge computer. Can you imagine? All of that technology and manpower just to create one screencast!

Engelbart's "Mother of All Demos" (1968) required the orchestration of men, cameras, microphones, and machines. Modern screencasting is much simpler today.

An innovative thinker and inventor, Engelbart was not only the first to screencast, but he also invented the mouse, hypertext, object addressing, and dynamic file linking. Sadly, Engelbart passed away last week on July 2, 2013 at the age of 88, but his legacy has been felt by all of us in some capacity. Engelbart’s idea to share his screen set in motion the creation of software packages capable of producing screencasts much easier and faster than his initial demonstration.

Thanks to Engelbart, the history of screencasting spans 40-years. Take a look at our short History of Screencasting video below to get the full story…

We’ve all been able to live in a world that Engelbart only dreamed about in 1968.  So the next time you make a screencast, or use your mouse, think about how far technology has come, and be thankful for Doug Engelbart and his ability to think outside the box. We sure are!

Posted in Inside TechSmith
Nikki Wickham

Nikki Wickham is an Online Community Specialist at TechSmith.
You can follow her at @nikkiwickham

  • She is a self-proclaimed Word Nerd.
  • Her hobbies include writing short stories, playing tennis, and learning guitar.
  • She LOVES living in Michigan, and encourages you to take a vacation near one of the Great Lakes!