We all know how popular video is. There is something about being able to see and hear content at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like, that is so powerful. And we aren’t restricted to simply being video consumers either. Creating your own videos just gets easier and easier.
One area of video creation that has huge potential both in and out of the classroom is screencasting.
Screencasting is where you narrate a video recording of your computer screen. Sometimes it’s just audio and sometimes you can see your face in the video as well.
There are many paid premium options for screencasting software and an increasing number of free tools too.
I’ve tried a few different free tools for screencasting. Some have limitations like watermarks on the video, length restrictions, or restrictions on how you can save or share your work.
Recently I discovered a free tool called Loom and I have to share it!
Disclosure: I have no connections to Loom. I just like sharing tools that are easy, free, and versatile for teachers and students.
What Is Loom?
Loom is a free screencasting tool available via Chrome extension. You can use on Mac, Windows, and Chromebooks. Loom allows you to record your camera and screen with audio directly from your Chrome browser. You can then download your video, embed it on your blog, or share it via social media or email etc.
Here is a quick example I made for the course I’m running. There are a few teachers who are brand new to blogging so I wanted to explain how to leave a comment. I thought a video would be more effective than text.
(You’ll see I started talking before it started recording. And another thing I’ll do next time is elevate my laptop. Beginner mistakes!)
What I Like About Loom
- It’s free
- It’s easy to use and intuitive. Almost no learning curve!
- There are no watermarks
- There are no restrictions on how long you record for, how many videos you make, or how long you can keep the videos for
- There are three options to record: just your face, just your screen, or both
- There are multiple sharing/saving options
- There is a new feature to trim your clip, so you don’t have to start over if you make a mistake
- Others can comment on your video, and there is a new feature to respond with emojis
- You can also record and share screencasts directly from your Gmail inbox. Handy!
How Does Loom Work?
If you go to the Loom homepage, you’ll see a big button for you to install the Chrome extension.
Once installed, you’ll see a small button on the top right hand corner of your Chrome browser. From here, you simply choose whether you want to record your screen and camera, your screen only, or your camera only.
When you’re done recording, your video will save to your library so you can access them at any time. Here you’ll find you can delete your videos, download them, embed them, or share in various ways. You can even organise videos into folders.
Loom is a tool that both teachers and students can use. I contacted Loom to ask about age restrictions for use and they said there are none!
Here are just a few ideas on how you could use a tool like Loom in your classroom.
If you have other ideas, please leave a comment and let me know!
- Flipped classroom: Teachers can record lessons that students can watch at home, freeing up class time for richer discussions and collaborative activities.
- Parent communication: Give families a guided tour of what you’re working on at school, or share classroom news.
- Demonstrating learning: Students can create tutorials or presentations on any topic they’re studying to share their learning. This could be anything from a simple one-off activity, to a major assessment.
- Plans for relief teachers: It can be time consuming to write out all the instructions for a relief teacher. A screencast could make this easier and more effective!
- Student feedback: Handwriting notes on student work can be labourious, and are students actually reading your comments? Occasionally creating students a quick video might be an easier and more effective solution for personalised feedback.
- Save on meeting time: Teachers can end up having a lot of meetings. Maybe there is some information that can be presented in a video, freeing up meeting time for more important things.
- Extension lessons: It can be difficult to meet the needs of the diverse range of learners in the classroom. A screencast could reinforce basic concepts for those who need it, while extending other students who are working beyond class levels.
- Digital storytelling: Students could create content in something like Google Slides (or any other online tool) and then narrate their story.
Check out this great post by Matt Miller for more practical ideas. I love the way Matt likens a screencast collection to a Netflix catalogue,
Netflix is like a library of videos at your fingertips. When students have created screencast videos and they look back through their work, it’s like Netflix for learning!
With Loom, your video library can be like a Netflix for learning. Or, embed your catalogue of screencasts on a page of your blog. Lots of options.
I also love this post by AJ Juliani where he talks about screencasts being a necessary (and ideal) alternative to maths homework in some cases.
Many teachers probably see the benefits of using videos or screencasts in their classrooms, but have been put off by the learning curve or the workload involved. Both of these obstacles are not an issue with Loom. It’s the sort of tool you can use on-the-go and once you’ve finished recording, there’s nothing more to think about!
Any questions, comments, or ideas on Loom in the classroom? Please share!
Do you have your own favourite tool for screencasting?
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