There are several Chrome apps and extensions that will do the job, but from anecdotes, reviews and personal experience, I recommend the Screencastify extension. The Lite version is free, yet fairly generous: your videos can be up to 10 minutes long, and you can record up to 50 videos a month. While you can do traditional screencasting with the app, you can also choose the "Cam" option to only record via the Chromebook's camera.
|I recommend checkmarking the "Show Preview Window" option to make recording easier.|
Best of all, any videos made will automatically be saved to your Google Drive. The first time you record, a "Screencastify" folder is created in your Drive, making it always easy to find clips later.
The directions for installing and running the extension are pretty straightforward. Therefore, instead of instructions, I want to share some tips for using and installing Screencastify:
- When installing Screencastify and using it for the first time, be aware of all the various permissions it requires: to access your Drive, to access your webcam, etc. Make sure to okay all of these so it will work properly.
- Screencasting can be a performance hog, especially on a Chromebook. I recommend closing out as many tabs as possible while recording.
- It will take a few minutes to render the video so it can be played from Google Drive. If it's the maximum length of ten minutes, that might mean 15 minutes or more to finish rendering. If in-class time is limited when using Screencastify, plan accordingly. Once finished, the file can be renamed and shared just like any other Google file.
- Screencastify, like many screencasting tools, is simple for "one take jake" recordings. Don't expect fancy editing tools or ways to cut clips together. (You may want to consider WeVideo as a cloud based editing option.) However...
- Finished videos on your Drive can now be easily inserted into Google Slides. (In the past, you could only insert YouTube clips.) Once inserted, you can right click the video for some limited ability to trim the video; you can tell it when to start or stop. This might be helpful if doing a presentation and you only need to share part of the video.
- Last but not least, Screencastify will ask the person installing the extension what their role is; make sure they say "student"! Next, it will ask if they are 13 and older, or under 13. I wanted to clarify what the implications of that choice meant, so I emailed Screencastify's support and got this response:
My advice? It may be best for students to say "under 13" to better protect their data, but regardless, students should honestly answer the question; under 13 can still use the extension.
"Under 13 students have the ability to use Screencastify. We have numerous classrooms of all ages using Screencastify. However, students choosing under 13 does a couple things:1. It removes them from receiving any unsolicited emails from Screencastify. The students can still reach us for help though.2. It removes them from any Google Analytic tracking."
I hope your students use Screencastify to bring their presentations and exhibitions to the next level, as well as provide teachers with another way to assess learning.
Update 3/30/17: In my original entry, I neglected to highlight two other important functions. When Screencastify is in its Tab (screencasting) mode, you can:
- record streaming video while cleanly capturing computer audio
- annotate in real time while recording using some simple but effective drawing tools.
|The drawing tools are on the lower left. You can change color and size, as well as erase. If you used it with the microphone idea above, you could not only narrate but literally illustrate your point!|