If you are a teacher, then you are a person who has to repeat yourself many times. If you have to repeat yourself many times, then you will get frustrated. If you don’t like being frustrated, get Screencastify! It is a Chrome extension that allows you to record your entire desktop or just one tab. You can also use your webcam to record a video of yourself. In honor of my 50th recording this week, Screencastify’s recent cosmetic update, and my NEOTIE speech last Saturday, I wanted to provide a walkthrough on how to use it with your students or colleagues.
I estimate that using Screencastify has saved me at least an hour a week. This frees up time to help students who are struggling with the content rather than spending many minutes reminding those who can’t quite remember what to do next. Creating multi-step assignments with multiple video instructions allows every kid to work at their own pace. Critically, it allows my daily supply of patience to dwindle at a much reduced rate. It’s a win-win!
First, you will need to open Google Chrome and get the extension. Sign in with your Google Account and allow it to access whatever it’s asking for. You should get a little filmstrip icon next to your address bar. It’ll look like this:
When you click on the icon, you have 3 choices.
- Record a Tab. This allows you to choose one tab and record all that you do in that tab. It also has extra tools to show or hide your mouse, draw, erase, or clear your drawings. The drawback of this option is that if there are popup windows or other tabs that you need to show, you must manually switch the view so your recording jumps over to the new tab or window.
- Record your Desktop. This is my go-to choice. If you choose this one, you don’t have to remember to switch the focus from tab to tab. It will record whatever you are looking at. The drawback on this option is that you can’t use the drawing tools. In both Tab and Desktop you can choose to have a small square video of yourself. If you want that, make sure the checkbox is clicked next to Embed webcam. Then click to choose which corner you want to show up in.
- Record with your Cam. This just makes a video using your webcam. I never pick this one, because I think it best to have the visual of the written instructions or the webpage showing, plus the audio of my voice. And often, I embed the small corner cam view (with tab or desktop recording) so my students can feel a personal connection. But, maybe you have a good use for just using the Cam! Consider your options and choose what works for each case.
Normally, I prepare before I record by opening any webpages or creating documents I need to show my students. Then I click the Screencastify icon and choose Desktop, decide if I want a to embed my webcam view or not, and hit the orange Start Recording button at the bottom.
Then I choose if I want to show my ENTIRE desktop (including my taskbar) or just my current window. My students don’t usually need to see my taskbar, so I choose the option on the right, and click Share.
Here are some clues to look for to make sure it’s working properly.
Next, record your instructions. It’s important to articulate words and speak a bit slower than normal. Create a quiet environment to ensure good audio. Turn off fans or AC if possible. Circle your mouse around things before you click. Make sure you don’t click through things too quickly or without saying what to click on. Underline words with your mouse as you say them to emphasize them.
A new tab will open so that you can review your recording. If it turned out to your liking, make sure you rename it. You can then choose to download or share. The crop video option is a paid option. Trash poor recordings.
You can choose to Share on your Google Drive, or YouTube. Here are what those screens look like, and their privacy options.
I always upload to YouTube, but I choose the privacy based on the content. A lot of times, I will just leave it on Public so parents and students can both find my videos easily. Also, some of my videos are helpful to anyone trying to learn about technology.
My penultimate step is to copy the link to my video from the side panel.
Clicking that chain link icon copies the URL, and then, finally, I put the hyperlink wherever it belongs. Oftentimes, that is in a Google document that includes the instructions for the assignment.
The process of creating a video and posting the link into my directions takes just minutes and saves hours. It only takes longer when I have to re-shoot my videos because of stumbling over my words or someone walking into my office to talk to me while I’m recording. Even with mistakes and interruptions, I can get video instructions done in 10 minutes or less, every time. With a little practice, you’ll be able to as well.
Please let me know if you have any questions about Screencastify! I will create a personal video to answer you. 🙂