Loom: Bring Learning Alive With Screencasting In The Classroom

There are many tools and applications for screencasting in the classroom. Loom is an excellent free choice! Find out how to use Loom in your classroom.| Kathleen Morris

Last updated May 30, 2020

We all know how popular video is. There’s something about being able to see and hear content at your own pace, whenever and wherever you like, that is so powerful.

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. It’s perfect for online learning!

This post explains what screencasting is all about and how to use a tool called Loom. As of March, 2020 Loom Pro is now totally free for teachers and students. Forever!

What 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.

While there are many paid options for screencasting software, most teachers rely on free software.

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.

My favourite free tool for screencasting is Loom. This post goes through what Loom is all about and how teachers and students can use this free screencasting tool in the classroom.

Disclosure: I have no affiliations with Loom. I just like sharing tools that are easy, free, and versatile for teachers and students. 

What Is Loom?

Loom is free screencasting software available via Chrome extension or a desktop app.

  • You can use Loom on Mac, Windows, Chromebooks, and iOS devices (iPad/iPhone)
  • Loom allows you to record your camera and screen with audio
  • You can then download your video, embed it on your blog, or share it via a URL

Here’s a quick example I made for the Student Blogging Challenge. I needed to show participating students and teachers how to find the URL of a post. Despite offering written instructions, some participants were still having trouble getting their URL. A quick video helped!

Features And Benefits Of Loom

Loom is free screencasting software with many benefits:

  • The Pro version is free for teachers and students
  • It’s easy to use and intuitive. Almost no learning curve!
  • There are no watermarks
  • You can record in HD
  • You can password protect videos or make them available only for certain email addresses
  • There are no age restrictions (I contacted Loom to clarify this)
  • You can use Loom on your computer and there is also an app for iOS
  • There are no restrictions on how long you record for or how many videos you make/store
  • There are three options to record: just your face, just your screen, or both
  • There are multiple sharing/saving options — you can give someone the URL of your video to view instantly or you can download your video (MP4) and add it to YouTube, Google Drive etc
  • You can embed videos on your blog or website
  • You can trim your clip, so you don’t have to start over if you make a mistake
  • Others can comment on your video or respond with emojis

How Does Loom Work?

Originally, Loom could only be used via a Chrome extension. There is now a desktop app available as well as an iOS app. Let’s take a look at the options:

Loom Chrome Extension

Visit the Loom Chrome store here and select “Add to Chrome”.

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.

How to record -- click on Loom extension button and select the recording option you'd like

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 Desktop App

The Loom desktop app is free screencasting software that you download to your computer so you can record any part of your device.

Like the Chrome app, you have three choices for recording: screen and cam, screen only, or cam only.

To download the desktop app, simply click on this link and follow the prompts.

Loom iOS App

The Loom mobile app allows you to:

  • Record your camera or screen
  • Send videos directly via SMS, iMessage, Slack, email (or copy and paste the link)
  • Watch videos within the app
  • Add comments and emoji reactions

Learn more about the app here. Apparently, an Android app is in development!

How Teachers And Students Can Get Loom Pro

As of March 12, 2020, Loom Pro is free to all verified teachers and students at K-12 schools, universities or educational institutions who are using Loom for classroom work.

You need to sign up to Loom with your school email account. You will register for a free 30 day trial of Loom Pro while the team verifies your account and upgrades you to the teacher/student version of Loom Pro.

Find out more about how to get Loom Pro for free in this in this help document.

Loom Video Tutorial

Steve Dotto has produced a great video tutorial that walks you through setting up and using Loom. Take a look!

Using Screencasts In The Classroom

Both teachers and students can benefit from using screencasts.

Here are 8 ideas for how teachers or students can use screencasting in the classroom with free screencasting software like Loom.

8 ways to use screencasting in the classroom for teachers and students with free screencasting software | Kathleen Morris

If you have other ideas, please leave a comment and let me know!

8 ways to use screencasting in the classroom for teachers and students | Kathleen Morris

More Screencasting Ideas

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.

Other Screencasting Tools

I made a quick chart comparing other popular screencasting tools for a post on The Edublogger about online learning. This only compares the free plans; paid plans have more features.

Chart comparing four different screencasting tools for teachers and students

Conclusion

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.

What are the downsides to Loom? Well, unless you really want to use it on an Android device or in a browser that’s not Chrome (e.g. Firefox or Safari), I don’t think there are any downsides!

Loom is 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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17 Comment

  1. Amber chaifulio says: Reply

    Can you use a touchscreen at the same time while recording the screen? Like annotating a slide with an iPad? Trying to find a way to have my students create reassessment videos that shows them answering a question (drawing a flow chart maybe) while explaining their process verbally. Have my eye on Explain Everything but cha-ching! Do you have any other suggestions?

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Amber,

      Good question! I reached out to Loom for clarification.

      They said, at the moment you can’t use Loom on an iPad, only on a computer with Chrome installed. And, unfortunately, even on the desktop annotating a slide is not possible at the moment. They did note that both are regularly requested features so might be added in the future.

      They invited you to look at their public roadmap: https://trello.com/b/hQEJSVSQ/loom-roadmap

      Here you can participate in the discussion, leave suggestions and vote on the ones you feel passionate about.

      As for alternatives, maybe some of these would be worth looking at for your iPad program? https://www.teachthought.com/learning/5-less-known-apps-for-the-flipped-classroom/

      Thanks for the questions! 🙂

  2. Nicole says: Reply

    Dear Kathleen,
    awesome tool!! I wonder if you know what producing a video via LOOM means with regards to copyright? Are they (LOOM/Google) allowed to use your video for promotion or any other purposes?
    Best regards, Nicole

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Nicole,
      I double checked with the team at Loom to be sure and they said this is definitely not the case. They wouldn’t use anything without explicit permission. They referred me to their privacy policy here http://www.loom.com/privacy
      Hope that helps!
      Kathleen

  3. Eli P. says: Reply

    Thank you, Ms. Morris for an extremely informative article. I’d like to start using Loom this week for our sudden remote learning plans. You mentioned that videos can be “cropped” at either end. Can I edit out an error in the middle of the video if I recorded using Loom?
    Thanks,
    -Eli P.

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Eli,

      Good news! You can trim from anywhere in your video. Very handy!

      Good luck with screencasting 🙂

  4. Matthew says: Reply

    Trim your clip link appears to be broken, here is the updated link 🙂

    https://support.loom.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002217478-Trim-your-Loom-video-

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Thank you so much, Matthew! I’ll update that now!

  5. Samuel Roberts says: Reply

    Hi Cathleen,
    Thanks for this great blog with critical analysis of various Screen casting platforms. I have been a user of ‘Loom’ and so pleased to hear from them (and you) that they have made the ‘Pro’ version free for the teachers.
    I just wanted to check out Matt Miller article that you have referred in the blog – create your own ‘Netflix’ of resources. However, the link is broken. Could you please provide the correct link?
    Cheers, Sam Roberts.

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for reaching out! Good news. The link will be back soon.

      I saw Matt Miller tweeted this today,

      “If you’ve tried to access http://DitchThatTextbook.com recently, you probably got the “Forbidden” error.

      Guess what? I’m getting it too!

      Making major back-end upgrades to handle all the visits you all are making to the site!

      Hoping to have everything up and running soon.”

      Have fun using Loom. I’m sure your students will appreciate your videos!
      Kathleen

  6. Samuel Roberts says: Reply

    Hi Kathleen,
    Sorry I mis-spelt you name in my previous question. Thanks for your prompt response about the broken link. Hope to access it soon when it is available again.
    I would love to access the two eBooks you have mentioned in this blog. Will I get a downloadable link soon? (I have subscribed to your newsletters).

    I read your other blog ‘Resources for Teaching Online’ – awesome work!
    Cheers, Sam.

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Sam,
      Sorry you didn’t get the links. Maybe it went to spam? Nevertheless, I will email you right now!
      Thanks!
      Kathleen

  7. Lisa Therrien-Annis says: Reply

    Can I download a digital book and narrate over it?

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Lisa, you can do that with the Look desktop app. Just be mindful of copyright if you aren’t the owner of the book. 🙂

      Good luck!

  8. Maria says: Reply

    Kathleen,

    What is the difference with the desk download and the extension. How do I know which one to download? Once the account is created can I use it on both my desktop and chrome book?

    Thanks!

    1. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi Maria,
      I just wanted to let you know, I reached out to Loom the other day to clarify but I haven’t heard back yet. I’ll let you know when I hear! I believe the desktop app has more features but I can’t find it on their help site and I can’t recall exactly what they are now!
      I’ll let you know 🙂

    2. Kathleen Morris says: Reply

      Hi again, Maria. There was quite a delay in Loom getting back to me! They must be inundated with questions lately. This is what they said about the differences.

      The Chrome extension and the computer app are two different Loom platforms. With the Chrome extension, you can install Loom in your browser, which means you can use Loom with a Chromebook.

      With the Loom app, you can install Loom in your Windows or Mac computer (no Chromebook or Linux). The application (because it’s native and more powerful) has more features like full HD recording, the drawing tool and custom size recording.

      Hope this helps!

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