Have you used Screencastify in your classroom? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. I know we don’t all love to hear our voices in a video, but I promise you, it is totally worth it!
What is Screencastify?
Screencastify is a screen recording extension for Chrome. It allows you to make short recordings of your screen (and/or yourself, if you’d like) and then it saves the videos to either Google Drive or YouTube. It’s SUPER easy to use and, best of all, it’s FREE!
Here are four ways I’ve used Screencastify to improve my teaching.
You know when you’ve explained something a million times, but that one kid still doesn’t know what to do? Enter Screencastify videos. Whether you use Classroom or Canvas or some other LMS, it’s easy to upload a Screencastify video to any platform. I especially love to make videos when I’m teaching writing. I have videos that explain my brainstorming process, how to write a thesis, how to write claim sentences…you get the idea. These videos make it easy for me to “reteach” and they’re accessible to kids who were absent.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m absent, I stress a bit about leaving directions for my kids. I hate the excuse of “we weren’t sure what to do”. Once again, Screencastify to the rescue! Often times I’ll make a video to explain more difficult or confusing assignments, and they’ve saved me from the dreaded “the sub didn’t explain how to do it” when I return to school.
Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to make a stronger connection with parents. It’s not always easy, but I’ve found that when I reach out to parents early and stay in touch throughout the year, they respond really well. This year I’ve started incorporating videos into some of my emails. I know that not all parents will watch them, but if one or two find them helpful, then I count that as a win. This year I’ve used them to introduce parents to my Canvas page (I haven’t heard a parent say they couldn’t find anything this year!) and our essay hyperdoc. I walked them through both of these things so they could see what had been provided to students, how to navigate them. The children now have NO EXCUSES because their parents know the truth.
This is the best use I have found for Screencastify. I believe in giving a lot of feedback on student papers, but, as I’m sure you know, this takes a lot of time. Also, half the time the kids don’t even read the feedback given to them. A couple years ago I started using Screencastify to give feedback, and it has been life-changing. I open the essay (either in Classroom, Canvas or just in Drive) and I quickly read the essay to get a general idea of what I want to share with the student. Then I start a Screencastify recording and make my way through the essay providing feedback. I like this program because I can mark on the essay as I go so the kids can see exactly what I am referring to. I also love it because I can give SO much more feedback than I can in writing. As I stated already, it takes forever to write feedback so I end up using short hand that the kids don’t understand, but if I explain it orally I can give more detail, explain what I’m talking about, and give examples.
I highly recommend using Screencastify in your classroom! Add it to your list for the new semester to see how it can make your instruction even better!
Let me know if I can help! 🙂