Screencastify is my favorite “lightweight” screen recording tool. I prefer it because 1) it works on Chromebooks, 2) it syncs to Drive and 3) it has all 3 important options (webcam, screen and webcam + screen). Recently, I discovered 3 features that I hadn’t realized were there – and I’m guessing you hadn’t either. So, here we go!
1. Move, Resize & toggle the webcam
I believe that including webcam video in a screencast is best practice. However, it doesn’t need to be there for the entire video and sometimes it gets in the way. So, in Screencastify’s Tab Recording mode, it’s super convenient that you can toggle the webcam off, resize it and move it – mid-recording! You can also flip the camera, which is nice if you need to hold up something with text on it or, you know, if you have a non-symmetrical hairstyle. 🤪 Note that (currently) you cannot customize your webcam in Desktop Recording Mode.
2. Cursor effects
If you’re recording a tutorial on your computer, cursor effects–like click animations or highlighting the cursor–are essential. They’re available in both Desktop and Tab Recording Mode.
3. Switch tabs
Tab Recording Mode is nice for a number of reasons: it lets you reference things “off camera,” lets you customize the webcam window (see above), creates smaller file sizes and lets your computer run more smoothly. But, what if you realize that you need to record a different tab mid-video? Just click on the extension and select “Record This Tab.”
Note: I learned of many of these features on Screencastify’s blog.
I’m a big fan of the Paint Roller (Paint Format) tool in the gSuite platform. I’ve posted before about using it in Google Docs, as well as in Google Slides. I probably use it most often, though, in Google Sheets. I love a nice, organized Google Sheet and this tool helps a lot with that. My favorite part about it is that it even applies to number formatting (i.e., decimal places, date format, currency, etc.). Check it out in the animated GIF below!
I’m not a big fan of homework, but I am a big fan of making sure that communication between teachers, co-teachers, students and parents is as convenient and efficient as possible without detracting from the learning experience. For many educators, their learning management system (LMS) or online gradebook already offer a platform for this. However, for those that may need an alternative solution – or just a differentiated form of communication – this idea for communicating homework (and/or details about what was done during class) is a good one! I heard it on Episode 39 of the Google Teacher Tribe Podcast, shared by Karen McKenna.
In Karen’s idea, teachers can use a Google Slides presentation and add a slide for each day of class. On that slide, they can include any important details from class that day, including the day’s homework. Putting the newest slide at the beginning of the slideshow would make it easiest – saving the viewers from needing to scroll to the end of the slideshow to get the most recent details.
I love this idea for its simplicity and flexibility. Need to email a parent what their kiddo missed when out sick? Send a link to the slides. Have a Google Site for your class? Embed the slides. Work with intervention specialists, tutors and gifted educators who need to know what you did in your class? Have them bookmark the slides. Check out this animation to see how you can set it up:
One of the more underutilized tools within Google Docs, Slides, Drawings & Sheets is the Paint Roller (Paint Format) Tool. It’s purpose is simple – when you want some text or an object to be formatted just like another set of text or an object, the Paint Roller is the tool that you need. Click once on the already-formatted object/text, then on the Paint Roller and then on the to-be-formatted object/text.
I’ve posted before about how it works in Google Docs, but I wanted to share an animated GIF about how it works in Google Slides! Notice that it works on text boxes, as well as on shapes, lines and images! With text boxes, you can even apply it to certain words in the box rather than the entire box.
Most people wouldn’t see a need for videos in Google Drawings, but a teacher – especially one that uses HyperDocs – could probably think of thousands of reasons it’d be useful. That’s why I was excited when I heard Joli Boucher share about it during a recent episode of the Google Teacher Tribe podcast (You can hear it here as well, all cued up to her part). It’s a super slick, simple hack and when doing HyperDrawings it’s super useful too. I just had to capture this in a GIF . . . so, here it is:
Joli also shares about this in her post here and her video here. For proof that it works, here’s a link to the Drawing that I show in the GIF.