Record your screen anywhere, with Chrome Extension ScreenPal

There’s a new free tool for video comments and video emails…

Screencast-o-matic recently announced a new Chrome Extension called ScreenPal, and it may just be a perfect addition to your edtech toolbox!

It is FREE, it lets you record your screen or webcam (or both) for up to 5 minutes, and it lets you do it from just about anywhere on the web.

You might be thinking, Jake, that sounds kinda like regular Screencast-o-matic or, for that matter, Screencastify or Loom. What’s different, though, is that it’s built to work in comment boxes and text boxes. 

ScreenPal Chrome Extension allows cropping of recordings and inserting screen recordings into comment and text boxes as an Edtech tool.In those boxes, you’ll see a tiny ScreenPal button—Grammarly users will be reminded of the Grammarly button. Anyhow, you click the button, select screen, webcam, or both, and then press record. You then preview the video to trim or crop it, and finally, insert that recording into the text box or comment box you were in.

I can’t believe that you can actually crop the video in this simple little tool!

Want to give a student feedback? Click the extension and pop it right into the comment box in Google Docs, Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams, or whatever LMS you use. Now, it won’t work IN your Google Doc or Google Slides, for example, but it’ll work in the comments within those platforms. It also works in tweets within your email window so that you can explain with video (when you don’t feel like typing). You can access all of your recordings, too, which means you can reuse them later if needed! 

The only issue I see (so far) is that if you have both Mote and ScreenPal running, the buttons are on top of each other in some platforms—I’m going to send them that feedback.

Otherwise, this looks like a great tool.

And, elephant in the room, this tool is really similar to Mote – the major difference, of course, is audio vs. video. But, as I always say, there’s not one right tool for every person, or every situation. This one is definitely worth checking out.

BTW, if you have Screencast-o-matic Premium you’ll also be able to edit those ScreenPal videos later within the Screencast-o-matic site. I should note – since the videos are stored on their server, you’ll want to look into how that fits with your privacy and data regulations in your school.

[Image Source: https://screencast-o-matic.com/screenpal]

Continue reading Record your screen anywhere, with Chrome Extension ScreenPal

New changes to the Gimkit Pro Plan

Gimkit is letting us play games with more students for free . . . 

In a recent post on the Gimkit blog, Josh Feinsilber, creator of Gimkit, announced changes to the Gimkit Pro plan.

I’m really excited about this, because the previous iteration of their Pro plan limited free users to only 5 players per game. It let you play any game, but only with 5 students. 

Gimkit DashboardNow they’ve announced in the “new free plan you’ll get unlimited access to our currently featured modes.” Those featured modes will change throughout the year, but other “modes are available to you, but with a 5 player limit.”

 

Gimkit Pro users then have unlimited access to every mode. There are a lot of fan favorites out there – like Trust No One, Floor is Lava, and Draw That – that you’ll be guaranteed access to

According to the blog post, Gimkit Pro users will also be able to upload images, record audio, & create assignments.

(Gimkit Pro costs $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year)

Continue reading New changes to the Gimkit Pro Plan

A new Social-Emotional Learning Tool: Microsoft Reflect

Microsoft is giving us an amazing new learning tool . . . 

with their recent launch of Reflect in Microsoft Teams for Education.

Reflect prompts students to check in about how they’re feeling, and even uses emojis and little monsters to connect facial expressions and body language to emotional vocab. This might help students with limited reading respond, but may also help students who are working on understanding social cues like facial expressions and body language. 

Reflect is a FREE tool!

The tool also lets students see their responses over time to look for patterns. Of course, another key step is teachers following up on concerning responses.

In March, they added the ability to build these self-assessments into OneNote. Reflect has increased functionality in One Note. As the blog post says, it lets students self-assess their “Progress and satisfaction in learning, motivation to learn, confidence, and effort.

Continue reading A new Social-Emotional Learning Tool: Microsoft Reflect

Scheduling for Multiple Classes in Google Classroom

Google has rolled out a long-awaited Google Classroom feature . . . 

On St. Patrick’s Day (better known as my birthday), Google for Education announced on the Google Workspace Updates page that, after a long wait, the ability to schedule stream posts, assignments, and materials for multiple classes in Google Classroom was available

It’s even better than I could have imagined because it also lets you select different due dates and different topics for your assignments!

I also really like the “Copy settings to all” option which lets you set it up for the first class, then copy those settings to all of the classes, then make changes. 

Let’s go over an example:

Say I want the assignment to launch simultaneously for all classes, but have different due times based on when I have that class period. Or maybe I just want to put them all in the same topic within the classes first, copy that, then modify the post times. I also like that I can select “post now” for some classes, but schedule for others.

Tutorial example in Google Classroom of scheduling posts for multiple classes.

I’m really happy with how this came out! Assignment and post scheduling is available in Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, Education Standard, the Teaching and Learning Upgrade, and Education Plus customers (it can also be seen in my gmail account.)

Continue reading Scheduling for Multiple Classes in Google Classroom

EdTech Tool Comparison: Screencastify VS Loom

Screencastify or Loom? Trying to decide which of the two big dogs in classroom screencasting to use? Well, I’ve got your back. And not only do I have your back, but I have it in 4 formats: text, infographic, video, and podcast. Choose your flavor and get your learn on!

If you decide to use one of them, check out my Screencastify and Loom tutorials!

🍦 Flavor 1: Infographic

To access this Infographic in a screen-reader friendly version, please click the link to the Google Slides project in the description.
To access an up-to-date version of this infographic or to use it with a screen reader, please access it at as a Google Slides presentation at this link.

🍦 Flavor 2: Podcast

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/15243647/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/ffab40/” width=”100%” height=”90″ scrolling=”no” class=”podcast-class” frameborder=”0″ placement=”top” use_download_link=”” download_link_text=”” primary_content_url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/eduducttape/EdTech_Tool_Comparison-_Screencastify_VS_Loom.mp3″ theme=”custom” custom_color=”ffab40″ libsyn_item_id=”15243647″ /]

🍦 Flavor 3: Video

🍦 Flavor 4: Text!

Continue reading EdTech Tool Comparison: Screencastify VS Loom

Using Screencastify Free in the Classroom!

One of the most important tools in remote learning, face-to-face blended learning, or a hybrid setting is a tool for recording videos in order to deliver content to students. While there are a handful of great options, Screencastify is one of the most commonly used, especially in gSuite for Education schools.

Check out the video below to learn about using the free version of Screencastify in your classroom!

Trying to decide whether to use Screencastify or Loom? Check out this post.

Using Loom Pro (Free for Educators!) in the Classroom!

For years I recommended Screencastify as the best, if not only, screencasting tool for the classroom. Well, times have changed. It’s still one of the best, but it’s certainly not the only.

When more educators than ever before turned to screencasting to deliver content to their students in the Spring of 2020, many flocked to Screencastify… but many also flocked to Loom.

And now that Loom has given educators and students free-forever access to the Loom Pro plan–unlimited videos with unlimited length and more!–it’s not a surprise that many of them are trying out Loom.

Check out the video below to learn about using the free pro version of Loom within the Chrome browser (or on Chromebooks)!

Trying to decide whether to use Screencastify or Loom? Check out this post.

 

 

 

 

Make #EduGIFs in WeVideo!

For years, people have asked me how they can make #EduGIFs like mine. When I respond and say “I make them in Camtasia,” there’s normally a 2-3 minute delay while they look up the cost of Camtasia. Then, there’s another question:

“Any less expensive options?”

Camtasia is a fantastic piece of software and is 100% worth the cost if you plan to use it a lot. For video creators, I highly recommend it. But I understand why people are looking for a less expensive choice. Unfortunately, I’ve never had a great answer for them. While I have this post that goes over alternative options, none of the free or low-cost options allow much editing. In that very same post, I go over some of the things that I value in Camtasia, and as you can see, the other tools have few (if any) of those features.

Check out my “Awesome Classroom Uses of #EduGIFs Created with Screencastify” post to see 19 ways that you can use GIFs.

Enter WeVideo!

Well, now I’ve got a new tool to suggest. If you have a WeVideo for Education account (they’re currently free until 6-30-2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic school closures), you can now make GIFs within WeVideo!!

Check it out in the #EduGIF below and then, under the GIF, I’ll share some of my thoughts on this new option.

This animated GIF shows the process of creating a screencast GIF, what I call an EduGIF, in WeVideo.
Pausable version of this #EduGIF available here.
Note: This GIF was created in Camtasia as its still a better tool if you have access to it.

Things that I’m excited about:

Continue reading Make #EduGIFs in WeVideo!

UPDATE: Google Meets Remote Learning Improvements

Teachers have been scrambling over the last week or so to figure out how to connect with and instruct their students during extended school closures. One of the first questions that many seeked to answer was “How can I do a synchronous video chat or lesson with my students?”

People rushed to test out Google Meet (formerly Google Hangouts), but red flags appeared quickly:

  1. Students were able to mute classmates in the meeting.
  2. Students were able to kick classmates out of the meeting.
  3. Students were able to access the meetings later, without the teacher’s “supervision” to continue chatting (Jake’s note: I’m not sure this is a bad thing.  They do this in our hallways and playgrounds, right?)

Well, Google for Education has reacted swiftly and effectively.  Last night, they released an update to Google Meet for gSuiteEdu users.  This update remedies the 3 issues listed above.

In my tests so far today, #1 and #2 above are already fixedIssue #3, however, still persisted in my test and it looks like it’s because that part of the rollout won’t be quite as swift (the post lists that it may take as long as 2 weeks to roll out to everyone).

Don’t come down to hard on ol’ Google here

I have already seen some “too little, too late” comments on Twitter about this. I do NOT agree with that.

First off, if you switched to Zoom because of this issue with Google Meet, there’s no reason to switch back to Meet.  You’ve got a solution that is working for you.  Just stick with it.  Don’t ask your students to learn a new platform.

Now, if you want to say “You were too late on this, Google!” slow. your. roll. Like every other tech tool that we’re using, Google Meet was not built for synchronous remote video lessons. They could’ve easily said “too bad, That’s not the intended use of Google Meet,” but instead they said “We’ll fix that for you.”

And not only that, but they went from becoming aware of the problem to fixing the problem within 1 week.  1 week!  That’s tremendous.

Not only is that the kind of proactive, growth mindset, seeing a problem and fixing it mentality that we want our tech companies to have, it’s the kind of mentality that we want our teachers and students to have!

Think about that: they tried something out (essentially, a beta, as they call it in the tech world or a pre-assessment as we may call it in education), observed a flaw, listened to feedback and put improvements in place.  In the classroom, we call that formative assessment.  In the landscape of remote learning?  We call that awesome.

HyperPadlets & Padlet Timelines

On 1/29/20, in the #EduDuctTape Twitter Chat, 6th grade teacher Matt Meyer shared an idea that kind of blew my mind.

This is something that I like to refer to as the adjacent possible – by exposing myself to something new (adjacent) it opened up 3 new ideas (possible) for me.  Let’s explore them below.

Continue reading HyperPadlets & Padlet Timelines