Posted in Cool Tools, Screencastify

Screencastify Magician

I love Screencastify. It is one of my most favorite edtech tools ever. I started using it a few years ago before it had a built in editor and just got accustomed to either living with mistakes or redoing my video a gabillion times until it was perfect. Never did I dream of one day not only being able to make simple edits to my video, but also of being able to combine multiple video clips, zoom in to highlight important concepts or add text. Now that I have access to the awesomeness of the Screencastify editor, my videos have gone from awesome to magical and I truly feel like a Screencastify Magician!

With the Screencastify editor you can:

  • trim a video
  • cut out parts of a video to be deleted or rearranged. 
  • add multiple video clips from any source to your video.
  • add text to video clips
  • crop part of what can be seen on the video screen
  • zoom in to a video clip to highlight specific parts of your screen

In addition to features available in the editor, there are some special features that you have access to from the video page that pops up after you finish recording. On this page you can:

  • create an animated gif
  • download just the audio from your video
  • generate a QR code for your video
  • share your video directly to Google Classroom or upload it to Youtube

Check out this guide I created to see all of the awesomeness Screencastify has brought to your fingertips.

Screencastify Editor
You are going to need to open your video with the editor. There are four ways to access the editor. Click on each option to learn more. 
Visit Screencastify Edit directly
Click “Open in Editor” on a recording’s Video Page
Click “Open with Screencastify Video Editor” from Google Drive
Click “Launch in Editor” from the Screencastify Dashboard 
Undo or Redo an Action
Before we get very far into the editor, probably the most important thing you need to know is how to undo or redo an action. If you accidentally deleted something or moved a clip to the wrong place, you are going to want to know how to fix it! Click here to see how. 
Cut and Rearrange Clips
You can use this editing feature if you need to trim off the beginning of a video, get rid of dead space at the end of the video, or cut out a chunk from the middle of the video. Once the clip has been cut, you can delete it or drag it to a new section in the video timeline. Click here to see how. 
Add/ Remove Video Clips
The Screencastify editor allows you to remove unwanted video clips, but it also allows you to add additional videos from any source, as long as they are in your Google Drive or on your computer. Once the clips are added, you can edit them and then place them anywhere on the timeline that you need. Click here to see how. 
Add Text to a Clip
Sometimes you want to add a title, clarify a point, or give some additional information. Use the text feature to add short sentences or content to your video. A really nice addition to this feature is the ability to elongate the clip where the text is to give your viewers time to read your text content. Click here to see how. 
Crop a Clip
Do you have too much dead space around an important image in your video? Is the background behind you or your topic distracting? You can use the crop feature to get rid of dead space and bring important material into focus for your audience. Click here to see how. 
Zoom Into a Clip
You can add a zoom effect to your video. This zoom effect is great when you are trying to give more detail or really focus in on a part of your screen. You can also use this zoom effect if you are trying to show part of your screen while also protecting sensitive information that is elsewhere on your screen. Click here to see how. 
Save an Edited Video
Once you have opened a video in the editor, you must save a new copy of it. You can either save the edited video directly to your Google Drive or you can download it as an MP4. Click here to see how.  
Export Audio (MP3) Only
If you need an audio clip for a project, as part of an adaptation to an assignment, or to place into a Google Slide, then you will want to use the Export Audio feature in Screencastify. Click here to see how.
Create and Export an Animated GIF
If you ever need to create a short, visual how-to that doesn’t really need to be a video, consider using Screencastify to create an animated GIF. A GIF is a moving image. It can be funny or it can be educational. You can record a short sequence using Screencastify and then download that sequence as a repeating moving image (GIF). Click here to see how. Click here to see suggestions for when you might want to use a GIF. FYI: Unlike the audio file, if you download an animated GIF, it does not automatically upload to your Drive. You will need to manually do this once you have downloaded the GIF.
Create a QR Code For Your Video
If you are creating an activity that will happen outside of a computer but you want to include a video component, consider creating and printing out a QR code for your video. You can then take your QR code and post it somewhere like a poster, a wall, your whiteboard, or on a piece of paper. Parents and students can then use the camera on their phone to scan the QR code to view your video. Click here to see how. Remember, if you are going to do this, make sure the share settings on your video are set to unlisted on the video screen of Screencastify or as “anyone with the link can view” in your Google Drive. 

I think the editor features of Screencastify makes this a useful tool for any teacher or student. If you would like to grab a Google Doc copy of this guide to share with students (or other teachers, click here.

Posted in Google Classroom, how to, Screencastify, Teacher Workflow

Screencastify and Google Classroom – Remote Learning Edition

I have been getting a lot of questions from teachers about issues they are having with Google Classroom and Screencastify while trying to teach remotely.

The first, and probably most pressing issue teachers seem to be having is that when they create their Screencastify videos, their words don’t match their mouths. Nobody has time to look like they are a star in a poorly dubbed film! The fix for this is hard, arduous, and absolutely necessary. Are you ready for it?

RESTART YOUR DEVICE!!!!

Seriously, when is the last time you actually did something other than close the lid on your Chromebook or laptop? If you can’t even remember when, then you must shut down and restart right now (or after you finish reading this). Your device is managing a billion processes that you started and just left running. Doing a hard shut down and restart will help immensely.

The other way to fix this issue is to close the gabillion tabs you have open before you start recording. If your device is trying to manage a gabillion things at one time, your video is not going to get priority attention.

The second issue people are having is that they will create Google Classroom assignments with the “make a copy for each student” option, but the attachments don’t appear for all students. This is a known glitch in Classroom. Alice Keeler wrote a blog post about it. She says that eventually, the attachment will appear for the students. I have also heard that if you send the student a private message on that particular assignment, it will force the attachment to appear. What seems to work best is if students follow these steps:

1) Click the classwork tab at the top
2) Click on the assignment title to expand the assignment
3) Click on “View Assignment”
4) Locate “Your Work” in the top right corner and click on the file with your name on it.

Just remember, you are awesome and amazing and you are doing your best for your students as you try to learn this whole new way of teaching! Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ve got this!

 

Posted in Google Slides, how to, Screencastify

Use Screencastify to Create Audio Clips

With the rollout of add audio to Slides finally on the move again, it is time to start thinking about how you are going to create the audio clips you need to make your Slides sparkle. Well, maybe not sparkle, but definitely be a resource for teaching and learning!

If you are a premium Screencastify customer, you might have missed their quiet roll-out of the export audio feature. With this feature, you can pull just the audio from any of your Screencastify videos.  The audio will export as an MP3 file, which is exactly what you need to take that audio clip on the road! You can use the audio file just about everywhere, but especially as an audio file on your Google slide! 

To make the most awesome teaching and learning Slides ever, all you have to do is record your video, export the audio, and add it to Slides with the Insert > audio feature. Imagine the possibilities!

  • Oral directions
  • Read aloud text
  • Phonetic practice
  • Language acquisition activities
  • Hint/cheat codes
  • Explainer notes
  • Student read alouds

Goodness, there are so many amazing things that you can do with audio in Slides as long as you know how to create that ever important audio file.

Creating that MP3 file is very easy. Just open Screencastify as you normally would and record your video. It doesn’t matter if you record using the webcam, desktop or tab view because all that matters is the sound of your voice. Once you have finished your recording and the preview/share screen for your video pops up, simply click the downward pointing arrow and select Export audio.

Export Audio

Since Screencastify automatically saves the audio clip to your Google Drive, you can now insert that clip right into Slides once the Insert > audio has hit your domain!

Happy recording!

Posted in Cool Tools, Google Classroom, Screencastify

Screencastify and Reading Fluency

When students are practicing their oral fluency, a key component of that practice is for students to hear themselves reading aloud. Try using Screencastify and Google Classroom to create opportunities for students to record themselves reading, allowing them to hear their own oral fluency.

The idea behind this is that you give students a passage to practice their fluency. The students then use Screencastify to record themselves reading the passage. After finishing the recording, they listen to it and decide if their oral reading was fluid and with expression. If it isn’t, they can practice some more and create another recording. Once they are happy with their recording, they turn it in to the teacher via Google Classroom. Turning in a video created in Screencastify is super easy since the video lives right in the student’s Google Drive. The teacher now has a sample of the student’s reading fluency, and if he or she continues with this assignment over time, they will create a record of student growth and progress.

Creating this activity is relatively easy:

  1. Find or create short reading passages in a digital format. Good places to find already created passages are Newsela, ReadTheoryEpic!, your local library, and if you live in Ohio, Infohio. I really like the idea of creating your own using content you are reading in class or short poems from some of our favorite children’s authors.
  2. Create an assignment in Google Classroom. Remember, you can individually assign to students or assign to small groups of students. There is no reason that all students should be practicing their fluency on the same piece. Differentiation is key! assignment dialog box in Google Classroom with directions to the assignment.
  3. Students then access the fluency assignment in Google Classroom, open the attached piece and practice reading it. When they feel ready, they will open Screencastify from their Chrome browsers and record themselves reading aloud.Screencastify for Fluency
  4. Once students have finished their recording, they can rename the video. They will need to change the privacy settings on the recording so that you can view it once they have turned it in via Google Classroom. Screencastify Screen
  5. To change the privacy settings for the video, all students need to do is click on the share icon, make sure “Google Drive” is selected and click “Get Link.” This will change the video permissions to “anyone with the link can view.” Share Screencastify
  6. The final step is for the student to turn the video in via Google Classroom. To do this, they simply open the assignment, click on the “Add  or Create” button on the top right and use the Drive icon to pull the video directly from their Google Drive. Turn in Screencastify Video
  7. Now that the student has turned their video in to you, you can watch the student videos directly from the assignment view in Classroom. Teacher Screencast FeedbackDon’t forget that these turned in assignments also live in the “Classroom” folder in your Drive. You can access them at any time and use them to share with other teachers, administrators or parents. What an excellent way to progress monitor!
  8. If you do not have content in a digital format, don’t worry! You can still do this activity. Students can read directly from a book at school they will just need to record using the webcam camera from Screencastify instead of the desktop or browser camera.

Screencastify is a wonderful extension for both teachers and students. There are so many awesome things you can use Screencastify for. If you don’t already have it on your Chrome browser, sign up for an account download it today!