This week we are asked to provide an overview of a selected tool. I was planning to pick a tool that can do mind mapping like Coggle, but I decided to review Screencastify instead because Kalyn and I are planning to create instructional videos for our project that would allow instructors to access the videos whenever, wherever, and as much as they need to.
In addition to the many other benefits as stated by Tony Bates in chapter 7 of his book, “Video is a much richer medium than either text or audio, as in addition to its ability to offer text and sound, it can also offer dynamic or moving pictures. Thus while it can offer all the affordances of audio, and some of text, it also has unique pedagogical characteristics of its own. Once again, there has been considerable research on the use of video in education, and again I will be drawing on research from the Open University (Bates, 1985; 2005; Koumi, 2006) as well as from Mayer (2009).”
Like Amy, I was first introduced to Screencastify by Alec in my previous class ECI 833. He recommended it among many other recommended add-ons or extensions for Chrome. I immediately downloaded and added it to my Chrome; however, I didn’t get a chance to try it ever since.
For this blog, I started with some research to understand what Screencastify is and how it works. As per Google Screencastify is, “a lightweight Chrome extension that lives in your browser. There’s no need to download any cumbersome, complicated software. Professional quality videos. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Record smooth, HD screen and webcam videos.”
I agree that Screencastify is super easy to install. All I had to do is download the extension and sign in with my Gmail account. I opened it up, and it prompts me to set up my microphone and webcam, which was quick and very straightforward. I started recording to test it, and my first impression was that it is very easy and convenient to use. The annotation toolbar was also useful, and I especially liked the Focus mouse feature which could be very helpful for showing Instructors a step by step guide on how to use certain features in URcourses. It is also easy to integrate with YouTube and Google drive.
A big disadvantage for me, however, was that the recording only saves to a specific file type in Google Drive. This will be a problem if I want to upload this file to Kaltura in URcourse. I found that if I open the file from my google drive, it gives me an option to open it with an online video converter which allowed me to convert the video to mp4 easily.
Now the real test is that I wanted to see if I would be able to edit the video after recording or not. Unfortunately, under the free version, I have no access to any editing tools, and I only have a recording time limit of 10 minutes. Another thing I discovered after I finished recording under the free version is that I ca n’t delete the watermark. However, if I chose to upgrade to the premium package, I would be able to solve the editing, watermark, and time limit problems. The premium account costs $24 per year which is pretty cheap. However, I am not certain if I should pay the money only to get the editing feature that I miss in Zoom; the current video recording tool that I use.
I can see Screencastify as an excellent formative assessment tool, besides creating instructional videos or tutorials. For example, students can demonstrate the process and steps they use to solve a math problem, then send it to the teachers.
From the students’ side of things, screencasting gives them the ability to pause or review content, which helps them to move at their own pace. Instructors can also use it in their online courses for the purpose of peer review; where students would be able to review each other’s journals or writings.
Many articles speak about the benefits of screencasting feedback on student works. Screencasting is a useful tool for describing a step-by-step process or virtual commenting on students’ work. It helps humanize the learning experience for students and increase their learning engagement.