Review by Alicia Carter, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2014

Movenote for Education

Easy-to-use screencasting tool adds video and voice to slides

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Teachers say (5 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
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Grades
5-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Intuitive interface and compatibility with lots of file formats and interfaces makes for an especially flexible user experience.

Cons: Better PowerPoint integration and some features specific to educators would make it even better.

Bottom Line: A great get-up-and-go tool to flip instruction or present content, but look elsewhere for more robust teacher-focused teachers.

In addition to flipping classrooms, or letting students demonstrate learning and share their expertise with others, Movenote has some potentially other creative applications. It lends itself well to professional development, teacher-parent communication, and just general training -- in particular tech-rich classrooms where students might need a lot of extra help. Teachers can create Movenote presentations as student-friendly tutorials of tools a class will be using especially those with a lack of built-in support, or being used in new and creative ways to support learning.

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Movenote is a website (and Chrome app) that allows users to create split-screen videos with one screen showing a document or presentation and the other showing the presenter. One of the powerful things about the site is that it interfaces with your existing documents (such as files on your computer or within Google Drive), allowing users to quickly create presentations that include  files and video narration side by side. In practice though, PDF, JPG, and PNG files tend to be most reliable, and PowerPoint presentations can be finicky. This makes more dynamic, animated slideshows trickier to pull off since content is static. If you want to animate a slide, you'll need to create a separate slide for each change in PowerPoint, export to PDF, and then flip through the PDF in Movenote. Integration with your your existing microphone and video camera in your computer is seamless, and you can even turn off your camera. In addition to the web-based program, apps are available for mobile devices. 

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Movenote has many potential applications for learning. Perhaps the most useful is as a tool for helping educators flip the classroom. Using existing lesson presentations, notes, and more, teachers can record lessons, lectures, presentations, and explanations using Movenote to add their own voices explaining their materials. The videos are easily exported and can be shared via email with students or posted to more public forums. In addition to teacher use, students could use Movenote to create presentations including media materials and their own voices and video to explain. This could be used for end-of-unit presentations, test review, projects, and more. Students could take care to perfect their presentations before sharing them with others (as opposed to a one-shot oral presentation). Language learners can also use the tool to listen to themselves present in a new language before making the product public. It's one of the easiest tools out there for screencasting, and could be extraordinary with more refinement of the supports, improving the slideshow integration, and a few bells-and-whistles for more dynamic screencasts.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Teachers and students alike will enjoy creating presentations with fun, easy-to-use features.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

This is a powerful tool for delivering material beyond the classroom, and a few extra features for adding detail and depth would make it even more useful.

 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

More organized and accessible support tools would be a big help: Video tutorials are helpful, but they can be tough to locate since they're on Tumblr and YouTube. The "Help" tab on the web version is sufficient but a bit limited.


Common Sense Reviewer
Alicia Carter Homeschool instructor

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Andy L. , Other
Other
Christa McAuliffe Elementary School
Hastings, MN
4
Movenote Gone Paid - Thankfully the App Remains Useable as Free

Movenote lacks some of the support and polish I expect from a powerful showcasing app. To see a finished Movenote was all I needed to look past those issues because the powerfulness of the app is what sets it apart. I appreciate the Google Drive integration and Google Login features. This makes it easy for use to access and create in the world of Google Apps for Education. Recently, however, Movenote went paid. Perhaps with an influx of money they will upgrade the user experience and interface. Thankfully, at the time of this writing, the app remains free with full functionality. This is a powerful teaching tool and an incredible archive of student work and growth over time.

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