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!
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!
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 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.”
Years ago, as a middle school math teacher, I had a dilemma. My 51 minute math classes had been shortened to 43 minutes. As any teacher knows, this is a big deal. After wrestling with a lot of ideas for how to handle here’s what I landed on:
Each day, during my planning period, I pressed record in a screencasting program called Jing, stepped up to the SmartBoard and went over the day’s homework as if my class was there. (I’m sure I looked like I had lost my marbles to any passerby) I did it quickly, forcing myself to keep it under 5 minutes. Any longer would mean 2 things: my assignment was too long and I was using to much class time to explain content that my students had already done.
The next day, I would play that video while taking attendance, checking to see who did their homework and meeting with any students who had been absent. This allowed me to combine two sets of things that I had previously done–going over the homework and doing the beginning of class teacher stuff–at once. It made up for those 8 lost minutes, and then some. Visit https://huntingtonhelps.com/center/cherry-hill to learn more modern techniques of making the most of your class.
Nowadays, my philosophies about homework and classrooms where all students are doing the same thing at the same time has changed, so I wouldn’t repeat this format. However, I think these recordings would still be valuable in a blended learning setting. When students finish certain assignments, they could view the videos to self-assess and learn more. Learning Management Systems and websites really open up the possibilities on this.