Take a Tour With Screencastify
Type of Technology: Website
SAMR Model Rating: Modification
Grade Level: Any Grade Level
Subject area: Any Subject
Ever wanted to take your students on a virtual tour to anywhere in the world? Screencastify is a wonderfull free downloadable video screen capture software for use on Google Chrome. This user-friendly program makes creation of video tutorials and voice recorded presentations easy for technical novices to advanced teachers and students. No external software, such as Java or Flash, is needed to use Screencastify. Once permitted, all recordings can be store on Google Drive.
Alan November introduced Screencastify along with Google Maps, so I thought, why not try it in my AVID classroom using maps of college campuses. Google Maps is user-friendly and students were amazed the “Google man” was movable. They had quite the time dragging the “Google man” all across the map. Working in groups students needed to research a college from out of state or country with direction from a teacher provided list. Students spent time researching their college and taking Cornell Notes. Often times college research projects require students to show a picture of the college campus and that is it. I wanted to move the class away from the days of showing boring pictures of the campus to actually bringing the class to the steps of the college buildings. In AVID we go on a few college campus tours, but the campuses are located in California and students never have the chance to tour campuses out of the state or even out of the country. Students were required to create a virtual presentation of the college they chose. Using Google Maps and Screencastify, students receive an up close and personal tour of the campus. Students were surprised to see the lush landscape and the amazing architecture of college campuses from different states and countries. For example, the pair of students who researched The University of British Columbia showed the amazing view of the British Bay through the windows of a classroom. Other pairs were able to show students inside a college classroom with stadium seating. My AVID students enjoyed moving beyond pictures and taking a student recorded tour, provided by their peers, that put them inside the world of different college campuses.
- Open Google Chrome and search Screencastify
- Click Download
- Click save to Google Drive
- When prompted grant permissions by logging into Google Drive account
- When the download is successful, a film reel icon will show up on right side above the bookmarks bar and you can now begin recording!
- If students are using school computers, they must restart them in order to log them off of Google Search.
- Students grant permission for videos to be saved to their Google Drive account
- They can have their video be public or private
- At least two class periods needed for instruction, run through, practice, and completion of final video
- Unfortunately the free version of Screencastify does not allow cropping and editing of the video, so students really need to practice before completing their final video.
- The free version of Screencastify allows recording of videos up to 10 minutes in length. The free version allows for more lengthy recordings.
All in all the app was extremely user friendly. The students truly enjoyed recording their voices and listening to their videos. It was very helpful that their projects were uploaded to Google Drive. Students were able to share their projects via Google Drive with not only each other, but me as well. I was able to listen to their projects and explain what changes they need make when we go back into the library.
The hassle of using this app is that it requires students to sign into Google and leaves them signed in on the computer. The librarian had to have each student restart the computer they were using in order to clear their name from the search browser. I would use this app again, but I would reserve more time in the library for student practice. Since there is no editing function on the free app, it took some time for students to perfect their video and it was time we did not have. Also, students needed to record in a separate quiet space, which was unavailable in the library at the time. Despite many efforts, students were still able to hear background noise which was distracting. The microphone on the library computers was also difficult to work with. In this student sample, my student’s voice is barely audible through the background noise. I have reserved time in the library for students to go back and perfect their video, now that they are familiar with Screencastify. The good thing was students were extremely engaged in the project and quickly got over the awkwardness of recording and listening to their voice. This website also allows students to present their screencasts to the class without the anxiety normally felt when standing in front of their peers. This app is great to work with, yet requires time for multiple drafts.