In this blog, I want to introduce a couple of apps that could be very useful additions to any lecturers’ teaching toolbox.
The first is Screencastify. Screencastify is a lightweight screen recorder that can be used to capture your desktop and webcam allowing you to create videos that can be uploaded directly to YouTube and, at the same time, saved to your Google Drive. Being a Chrome extension means that there is no heavy weight software to download and it can also be used offline. There is a free version that limits the number of videos you can make to 50 per month with a maximum length of 10 minutes per video. However, you can upgrade to a paid for version, approximately £20 (it comes priced in dollars), which has no such limits.
Anyway, enough reading, here is a short demo of Screencastify in action
It does lack the functionality of a product like Camtasia, but if all you need is a quick easy screen recording it is well worth a go. You can also keep the videos on YouTube private by setting them to unlisted so they cannot be found in searches or as recommendations, students would just need the URL which can be made available via your Moodle pages.
Once you’ve made your video using Screencastify, you can have it as a stand alone resource available via YouTube or you could use it to produce an enhanced learning object by combining it with Adobe Spark.
I can see this having a variety of uses from giving video/audio feedback to forming part of a set of flipped learning sessions.
An alternative to Screencastify is Screencast-O-Matic. As with Screencastify, this app also comes in free and licensed versions. The free version of Screencast-O-Mantic will record videos of 15 minutes which can then be saved as MP4 files, this version also comes with some limited editing functionality but does require a software download and does not work quite as seamlessly with YouTube or Google Drive.
The third app, useful as a revision aid, is Brainscape . Brainscape is an online flashcard system, you can either create your own flashcards or use a pre-made set. Unlike other ready made flashcard systems I’ve seen, Brainscape does have resources suitable for HE and not just in traditional academic disciplines. This system is free (though you can pay to release a larger number of cards) and can be accessed through your Google account.
As students work through the set of cards, they can rate how confident they are in their knowledge and understanding. Staff can create classes to which they can invite students, thus allowing you to view how many cards the students used and how they themselves rate their learning.
Brainscape says that its system is grounded in proven techniques that help improve learning and understanding. Not having used this particular platform myself with learners I can’t comment on the veracity of the claims made but as flashcards are a popular learning technique this online system is worth looking at, especially given the range of topics it covers.