Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2017
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TouchCast

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Cool tool takes videos to next level, but some privacy concerns

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
N/A
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
8-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (13 Reviews)

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5 images

Pros: Professional video templates incorporate elements from multiple sources, and creative features enhance the video's content.

Cons: Some video components may contain inappropriate content.

Bottom Line: TouchCast is a creative tool for students to use to present information, but teachers should monitor use.

Teachers in nearly every subject area can have students create a video with TouchCast Studio to complement or, in some cases, replace a research paper or other project. For example, students in social studies may use the breaking news template or the Lincoln Memorial template to create a newscast about a current event or an important event in history. In language arts, students may create videos to summarize what's going on in a book, modernize scenes, or give book reviews. Science and math teachers may have students use the how-to template to describe important skills and concepts, or use some of the news headlines to present real-world examples of what they're learning in class. Teachers can also use TouchCast to create flipped lessons, allowing students to engage with dynamic, teacher-prepared instructional videos (with or without assessment) at home and come to school ready to discuss and work on projects.  

 

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Sample videos and tutorials help you see what formats and features are available with TouchCast Studio, a video recording app. If you want to get started right away, you can simply choose a template and press record. However, virtually any video recording and editing app can create that kind of video. Instead of recording right away, take some time to explore the features. For example, maybe you want to add a Google newsreel or a Twitter feed related to the theme of your video. Perhaps you want to pre-write a script and use the teleprompter to guide you as you read it on the screen. If you're going for a specific feel, you might want to play around with the video filters or add in a few funky sound effects. Then, when you're ready, you can record and edit your video. Once finished, save the video privately or opt to make it public and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

The app requires users to be at least 13 years old, and teens under 18 need a parent's permission to use the app. Other TouchCast users can view and leave comments on videos not marked as "local," so there are some privacy concerns. There's also the potential for students to encounter iffy content using the app, but community guidelines discourage sexually explicit content, violence, and hate speech, and TouchCast staff monitor and remove inappropriate content.

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When it comes to sharing what they've learned, students need to think beyond the traditional essay, research paper, poster, or slideshow presentation. TouchCast helps students take their projects further. Not only can they create their own videos, they can use a green screen effect to change the background of the video and also extend their videos by adding current events, social networking feeds, and other apps to add context and comprehensiveness.

TouchCast lets students stretch their creative muscles with virtual sets for templates like Lincoln Memorial, News Studio and Talkshow, as well as newer features including different fonts for the teleprompter, a crop tool to customize the green screen in newsrooms, and drawing/editing tools for the whiteboard. Students will also learn to think critically about their videos; instead of adding in as many special effects as they can, they'll learn to choose the effects wisely and only add apps and content that enhance their presentations.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

So many cool features, such as teleprompting, sound effects, customized feeds, and a whiteboard, turn these videos into professional productions.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The amount of creative control the app gives teens is empowering. Special themes encourage teens to incorporate current events, and social sharing is a large part of the experience.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Sample videos, video tutorials, and on-screen instructions guide users as they create their videos. Educator-specific video tutorials explain how TouchCast can be used in classrooms.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 13 reviews) (13 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
TJ I. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Gov. Thomas Johnson High School
Frederick, MD
Daily News at the Touch of your Pad

I really enjoy using this product. I would like to be able to custom the news descend add closed captions right on the app. I would also prefer that the main studio work from the laptop and use the iPads as our main cameras and prompter. I was also able to purchase the PadCaster, the hardware that touchcast recommends and I must say it is very solid and the lens and microphone are worth the price.

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