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!
This is a sponsored post. All opinions and ideas (unless otherwise cited), however, are my own.
It seems like we are in a renaissance period for audio. Despite the dominance of videos and pictures (hello, TikTok, SnapChat and Instagram…), people are increasingly turning to audio for communication, learning, sharing and entertainment.
Podcast listenership continues to grow (some stats here and here), audio tools like Voxer are becoming increasingly popular for PLNs, educators freaked out when the addition of audio in Google Slides was delayed last spring and, lastly, “podcasting in the classroom” sessions at education conferences are becoming increasingly prevalent.
So, how can you use it in your classroom? Before we get to that, let’s talk about how to create the audio files.
Audio Recording Options
There are lots of options out there, all of which have pros and cons. I’ve discussed some on my podcast (here and here) and other educators have shared about options on their blogs (Eric Curts, John Sowash). As long as you identify your goal and think through the pros and cons, you’ll probably have multiple options to choose from.
One thing that I like to consider when selecting a tech tool for a new endeavor is: Do we already use a tool that can also do this effectively? Not only does that reduce the learning curve, but it means that we’re potentially connecting our students’ login and information with 1 less app or website.
If you like that line of thinking, Screencastify may be the option for you when it comes to audio in the classroom! Did you realize that you could export Screencastify recordings as mp3 audio files? Check it out!
If you’re already using the tool in your classroom for screencasts and other video projects, it might be a great option for you. This is available in the FREE version of the app. Your files are limited to 5 minutes in length, but you can record as many videos (or, in this case, audio files) as you’d like. The paid version provides unlimited video (or audio file) lengths.
In the 8th episode of Season 2, I talk with Jornea Armant of Flipgrid about video creation tools and connecting students with the entire learning community. We discuss Flipgrid, WeVideo, Seesaw, Adobe Spark, screencasting tools and more. Also, in my Soapbox Moment, what we do when a tech tool goes away.
I think that educators’ definitions for the term student voice are inconsistent – some seem to believe that it simply means – hearing each student’s answer or thinking
– while others believe that it means empowering the students to have a voice in some (or all!) aspects of their education.
Mike made it clear in his response that he subscribes to the 2nd “definition” of student voice. His response fits with the description that Edutopia uses: student voice involves letting “students’ input and expertise … help shape their classroom, their school, and ultimately their own learning and growth.”
I definitely believe that that is the type of student voice that we want to strive for. In a recent #EduDuctTape chat, educators shared their favorite tool for empowering student voice. It’s important to note that simply using the tool doesn’t provide opportunity for or empowerment of student voice. It’s all about how you use it.
After the episode aired, Dan Gallagher shared on that same grid some words of caution: Blabberize’s Terms of Service indicate that it’s not appropriate for all ages. So, in Episode 6, I shared this and then, on the spot, found a hack for a solution:
I’ve posted about #StopMotionSlides a number of times (here are my tips for making them) and they make a pretty good solution for this. Put a picture into a slide, use some careful cropping and then leverage a stop motion technique. Not only can you make the mouth move up and down, but you can then publish the animation (#13 in these tips) and then record them with Screencastify (or your screencasting tool of choice) with a voiceover (#14 in these tips)!
Voila! Not as easy as Chatterpix, but at least it eliminates the need of adding another tool and another set of terms of service to what you use with your students: you likely already use Google Slides & Screencastify!
Plus, unlike ChatterPix or Blabberize, you can have multiple characters, your characters can move, the scene change… You–and your students–can get super creative!
Here’s an animated GIF of the process, followed by a step-by-step breakdown.
I made an update to my Comparing GIF Creation Options blog post to include some options that I’ve discovered over the last 9 months as well as a conclusion where I make recommendations based on your needs and situation. Check it out at the link below!
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.”
**Originally posted in December 2017, edited in August 2018 and then editing again in October 2019 to reflect new options that have become available or that I have discovered. Also in October 2019, I added the new table format below.**
In February of 2017, I found my niche in the online #edtech world – and a new passion – creating #eduGIFs. In the time since then, I’ve been asked dozens, if not hundreds, of times how I create them. Here I’ll dive into 1) a little background on what I do & why I use the tool I use, 2) other options to consider and 3) my advice on what to use (feel free to skip to there). Continue reading Comparing GIF Creation Options
I’ve done a number of posts about Screencastify, but recently I was reading a blog post that presented an idea that I had not previously thought of. In it, the author talks about using a screencasting tool to give both visual and auditory feedback on a student’s work. It seems to me that this would be so much more useful for a student than just comments on the doc. Plus they’d be more likely to view it.
Add in the ease of use with Screencastify – quickly sharing in Google Drive – and you’ve got a win-win. Below is a GIF I made to share the process. In the GIF, I am giving (fake) feedback on a Google Doc, but it could be anything. I could even show how it falls on a rubric within the video!
You could even have students give each other feedback this way!
One last note – if you start doing this regularly, you could create one folder in your Drive for each of your students and then drag the videos into those folders for the students to view.